‘She Shares WHAT?!’

I realise that I share a lot of personal information on this blog, and that it’s quite easy to track me down and find me in ‘real life’ (and not just the social media world). This is perhaps a massive boo-boo on my part. I should, after all, be more savvy about security and so on…but the purpose of this blog was not only to offload some ramblings in my head, but to make people aware of often unspoken medical conditions. It is still classed as a bit of a social taboo to discuss your sex life, issues surrounding your vagina or penis, and your sexual health in general; quite often people keep quiet and suffer for years and years without seeking help or talking to someone about it. I’ve been there, and it took me so long to get help that I’ve genuinely forgotten how many years: 7? 8? I don’t know. I grew up in a house where menstration was never discussed, sex was a no-no, physical affection was null and void, and my parents displayed a ‘holier than thou’ persona (completely hypocritically I should add). It was stifing and crippling, and it left me unable to verbalise my issues for many, many years. I credit my husband with teaching me how to open up. He had the patience and understanding to realise that I wasn’t a cold, stone-hearted cow – quite the opposite…but I was too afraid to show him my emotions/thoughts/feelings, because for years they had been viewed as weaknesses.
Stop crying, you fucking baby.
What the fuck is wrong with you?
Grow up.

When I first started sharing my posts about vaginismus, LS, and VVS, I did so with a medical disclaimer. I didn’t want to offend anyone or have them think I was ‘disgusting’. With hindsight, I don’t know why I did this; there’s nothing ‘disgusting’ with sharing information, procedures, symptoms and ways to get help. I didn’t ask for these conditions,  and so why should I be ashamed? My posts came in fits and starts. 2/3 a month and then nothing for months – I didn’t want to bombard people, or have them think I was playing the victim. I was so paranoid with being viewed as a drama queen that I kept my cancer secret – even from my husband – until I received the news that it was treatable. It was so paradoxical to my nature to be quiet that I was lost. Family and friends mean the world to me. I felt like a liar and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again.

Over the next few months I’ll be sharing a lot more information on these subjects (along with my IVF journey and usual ramblings). I do so because it helps. It helps me, and given the messages and emails I’ve received both publically and privately, I know that it has helped other people get the help and treatment they deserve. I’ve been asked today by someone: ‘but why do you want people to know?’ and that’s a good question. For all the reasons above. Infertility is painful and historically, it’s private and spoken about in hushed tones. There are support networks out there and the internet is a fabulous place for connecting with people who are going through the same trials as you. If I make one friend from these blog posts who feels they can talk to me about their problems – then that’s mission accomplished**.
If the treatment isn’t sucessful, then I’m not going to be blame my talking about it. I’m not superstitious and I’d rather have the support of friends and family if I’m grieving than to do so in private.

Sure I waffle, sure I add in what appears to be inconsequential crap and I make a joke of some of the procedures I’ve had done, who wouldn’t? Humour helps me heal and helps me deflect. I’ve been the butt of jokes, had nicknames and received a Secret Santa gift consisting of a needle and thread and called a ‘fanny repair kit’…and all you can do sometimes is go with the flow, because to sit back and take it all in can be overwhelming, cruel, and deeply upsetting.

I suffer with anxiety, and I even as I write this I’m strangely torn: to write this blog post highlights yet again me and my problems, and I know it would be so much simpler to just stay quiet and wade on with the stiff British upper lip. That isn’t me though. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I love to help and share.

** today I’ve been told in confidence of a friend going through IVF too, I have them in my thoughts and hope it all goes well.

Sharing and talking might not be your ‘cup of tea’, and you may disagree with it, but it works for me.




And…We’re Off!

thumbs upWow. Thank you so much everyone. I’m genuinely a little overwhelmed with the amount of goodwill and luck we’ve received since my post yesterday. Today was exceptionally emotional for me when I checked my Paypal and not only saw such a generous donation from a good friend (who needs throttling for his stubborness in refusing to accept it back), but the generosity of friends who I know don’t have much themselves and friends that I haven’t spoken to properly in months. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Seriously, 100x over and over.

We (people in general) take having a baby for granted, and we never really consider that there might be fertility problems along the way. It definitely came as a shock to us (especially given everything else we’ve had thrown at us) and it’s still overwhelming. I know that we can’t, and shouldn’t, pin all our hopes on one cycle. However, now’s the time to think positive and move forward. Me hanging around and procrastinating doesn’t help anyone.

Time to get this lardy bum moving and burn some fat!

This week, I’m reducing down the amount of refined sugar and caffeine in my diet – so no complex carbs and chocolate (sob) and my 50-cup-a-day habit will be whittled down to 3 or 4 and a balanced 1200 calories a day. I’ve re-started my Pregnacare vitamins (folic acid, baby!) and as the doctor suggested, increased my thyroxine 25%. Hopefully, I’ll look to get some Nescafe decaf tonight too…

Tomorrow/Friday I will order 2 weeks of Actidiet which should arrive in time for Monday. Honestly, I can’t wait to get back on it!

swimming-83676_640Oh, I’m toying with the idea of swimming again in the mornings. Last summer, every ‘work’ morning I swam before heading into the office. I’m not a good swimmer, more of a doggy paddler, but it was fun to do 20/30 lengths and feel refreshed. Problem is, Actidiet shakes are best with crushed ice and I don’t have a blender or freezer in the office, so that means making one up and drinking before swimming – probably not the best idea! I’ll have a think so and see what I can do to make it work.

…Maybe I can convince the bosses to buy aforementioned freezer and blender…hmm…



Remember: My food diary etc is on www.myfitnesspal.com and I can be found as SammyHKSmith


 I’ve added a widget to the side bar too!

Here’s What The Fertility Clinic Had To Say…

Living in Oxfordshire, we’re lucky enough to have the John Radcliffe teaching hospital on our doorstep. The John Radcliffe has an excellent worldwide reputation in practically all areas of medicine, and today I visited the Oxford Fertility Unit (OFU) with my husband.

If you didn’t already know, we’ve not had much luck conceiving (I’m the oldest of 9 children and I love kids. Everyone who knows me, knows that babies, toddlers, children and even teenagers make me feel all mushy and mumsy). Over the last three years I’ve had cancer, vaginismus, VVS and then been diagnosed with PCOS. Oh, and don’t forget to add this to my fibromyalgia and underactive thyroid. It’s not been good. It’s been draining and emotionally hard. To top it off my husband also has some problems and so after a long wait, we were finally referred to the OFU.


Today, I’ve been told that we qualify for ONE cycle of IVF on the NHS. Honestly, I can’t express how excited, nervous, shocked, anxious and worried I am. I’m so grateful to get this opportunity but I know that if it fails, then we have to find the money to privately fund subsequent cycles and at £3300 a cycle – it’s not cheap.

The OFU has the highest success rates in the country: approximately 50%. A flip of a coin…let that sink in. Our chance of a baby could fall on heads or tails. That’s quite scary.flippingCoin

The doctor was lovely. She’s pre-signed all our forms and has told us to submit them when we’re ready. There is no waiting list apparently, and the entire course takes between 6-8weeks. I will have epipen style injections to take every day, eggs removed, fertilised and then incubated before being popped in to see if my body will accept them.

With this in mind, I want to give this one shot the best possible chance of succeeding. I don’t want to regret rushing in if the treatment fails and be thinking, ‘if only I was thinner. If only I wasn’t so tired. If only I wasn’t so unhealthy’, and so I’ve decided that before I go any further, I need to lose weight. My BMI currently has me at 31. This makes me obese and I don’t want to be obese any more. I would like to lose between 20-28lb before I start treatment and fall within the normal/overweight category.

I discussed this with the doctor today, and she agrees that with my underactive thyroid losing weight traditionally is exceptionally hard. THIS IS NOT AN EXCUSE. IT IS A MEDICAL FACT. My metabolism runs a lot slower than the average person and so I eat less than an average person to compensate. She has suggested that we increase my thyroxine for starters and for me to go on a diet that works for me. She is as keen as we are to make sure that our ONE funded chance is a success.

The diet that works for me is Actidiet.

If you don’t know much about it, it’s very similar to Lighter Life/ Cambridge Diet, but instead of just shakes and liquid food, you eat real meals. It’s low carb and high protein and works on the basis of a ketogenic diet. Last summer I lost 20lb and I’ve only put 5lb of that back on**. I had to stop due to the cost which is around £40 a week (£160 a month). Now, at the moment I spend £100 a month to feed BOTH of us and I don’t think I can afford Actidiet on top of normal food.

how_you_can_helpHowever I am going to try and order enough for 2/3 weeks and help kickstart this weight loss, and that’s where the Paypal donate button comes in on the right hand side of my website. If you could spare £1,£2, whatever to help me get a foot on the weight loss ladder, I would be eternally grateful. I’m going to be sharing every painful step with you all, and documenting my weight loss and measurements as I go. You’ve all been so supportive so far that I feel I owe it to you all!

I know some of you will think it’s easy: eat less, exercise more, but when you have my health problems and metabolic issues, I promise you that it’s not that simple. There’s a lot more at work and to dismiss my protestations would just be ignorant. I WANT to be healthier and I WANT to weigh less. Please consider helping. If I wasn’t desperate, I wouldn’t ask.

Without Actidiet, it takes me a month to lose 1-2lb. That means that (being optimistic) it would take 10 months before I can lose this weight on my own, possibly longer. Our referral is valid for 6 months and if we don’t start the treatment in 6 months then we have to be re-referred and start the process all over again. Being 31, I don’t want to leave it too long.


Current Stats: 178lb

Goal Weight: 150lb

(I will add a widget to the page when I get a chance).

I’ll also be using MyFitnessPal (user ID: SammyHKSmith) to document exercise/calorie intake when not actidieting etc

Before writing this blog post, a thought popped into my head: if I can’t afford Actidiet, can I afford a baby? The answer of course will be yes. This year we’re financially catching up following the mess of last year (new boiler, new car, business acquisitions and then my husband moving jobs and being unemployed briefly). While no-one can predict the future, I’m pretty confident we’ll be more settled in a few months.

I’m not a proud person. I’m very much ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’. So, in advance, I do thank you all and I PROMISE to keep you updated!

**The weight loss last year was to help with conception. I have been trying hard, and will continue to push forward.