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Learn and Move On – It’s Time

When I first started blogging (not this blog, but the one before it), I had NO idea what I was doing or what I wanted to blog about. I was just writing about my life and whatever interested me at the time. It was more like a public diary than a blog.

After a while, I started seeing the success that others were having with their blogs and I thought ‘sure, I could do something like that!’

So I thought (briefly), what could I blog about and, while I narrowed my interests into 3 area ‘faith, home and business’, I’ve now come to realize this is still too broad.

Now it is time to hang up this blog and move on. I’ve learned all I can from this one, now I’m ready to move on again. It’s sad, but perhaps one day I’ll return here and do something new with it. But not right now. For now, I need to go and learn some more.

But don’t despair!!! You can come too! I’ve got plenty of room in my new place for you all.

KKParsfield

Over at KKParsfield is where I will be posting my writings. I enjoy writing stories and I really needed a dedicated platform to write them. I’m currently working on 3 book set. So follow me over there and you’ll get sneak peaks into this new little world.

Sunny Coast Life

My blog over at Sunny Coast Life is about the Sunshine Coast, Qld Australia. Each week I try to get out and about on the coast and share with you what it’s really like to live on the amazing Sunshine Coast.
Beaches one day, forest the next. Rain then Sunshine. Cafés and Restaurants. Hotel and Homes. Large and Small.
The Sunny Coast has it all.

 

Look forward to seeing you again!

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The Big Cookup Step 3 – Battle Plan!!

I’ll admit it. Here we go, I’ve raised my hand.

I tend to wing it.

*GASP* I know!! I know!! When it comes to doing a big cookup, I usually prepare well enough, but the actual cooking, I just wing it. I cook whichever meal first, and I chop up veggies here and there. I use several pots and pans, and then I have to wait while something finishes cooking, or I have to wash something that is dirty… Ok I’m just not very organised!

So, I jumped onto the Group page for Budgeting, Food, stockpiling And Savings Ideas Australia and asked…

If you do Big Cookups/bulk cooking, what’s your battle plan?
How do you organise all the foods you’re going to cook?
Do you plan to use a variety of cooking equipment at once? Or cook things separately? Do you buy everything on the day or do you get some stuff prepped a few days before?

I didn’t have to wait long to get responses (great thing about this group? If you have a question, someone out there usually has a few good answer within a few minutes or so. They are so great).

I was also inspired by the range of plans and preparing different people do. I guess the adage of ‘more than one way to skin a cat’ is true in cooking as well. (On a side note, WHO is skinning cats? Where did this ridiculous saying come from?!)

Some suggestions were:

  • If you have more than one slow cooker, have both going at the same time
  • Prep the night before so you’re not trying to do it all at once
  • Buy supplies a day or so before, it can be too tiring to shop and cook on the same day
  • If you can, start slow cookers the night before. You can get a jump start on the cooking!
  • Use as few cooking items as possible (less to clean up)
  • If you are going to cook the vegetables, you might not need a separate chopping board
  • By the fresh ingredients the day before
  • Utilise online shopping
  • Chop, slice and dice everything before the big cooking day

 

Some people were divided. For example:

  • Clean as you go
  • Use everything and clean at the end

There you have it, great advice from people who’ve cooked this way before.

 

 

The Big Cookup Step 2 – What to Make?

BigCookup2017_question marks

Over the past 3 days, I’ve been asking the group what they would cook/make/prepare for Breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Here are some of the responses..

Breakfasts

There were some great ideas that came out of the group. Quiches and Bacon & Egg muffins seems to be a staple idea for a few people. Here’s the ideas breakdown.

  • Mini Quiches
  • Savoury muffins, warmed with butter
  • English Muffins
  • Bacon and Egg muffins (pro tip from a group member ‘wrap with paper towel’)
  • Muffin variations (sausages and other ingredients)
  • French Toast
  • baked beans/spaghetti
  • hash browns
  • poached eggs (pro tip from group member ‘make in bulk, place in iced water and kept in fridge’)
  • Breakfast casserole (‘line a dish with hash browns, then egg mixture with any ingredients you like, top with cheese. Can cook and freeze for later’)
  • Chia Pudding with Frozen Berries

Oh sooo many good ideas and I discovered it’s possible to freeze a whole bunch of these things! I’d never thought of freezing French Toast… but apparently it’s completely freezable.

Lunches

Whether your eating at home or taking lunch with you, the following list from the group members will surely help with ideas!

  • Butter Chicken (recipe posted here)
  • spaghetti bolognaise
  • Irish stew
  • toasted sandwiches
  • Burritos (pro tip from a group member – ‘once defrosted, a sandwich press will crisp up the outside or the oven’)
  • Hot chicken and mayo rolls
  • Macaroni & cheese
  • poor mans curry (add recipe)
  • Roast with Gravy and Vegies
  • Quiche
  • Stirfry meals
  • apricot chicken
  • Nachos

Dinners

  • Chilli Con Carne
  • Curried sausages
  • apricot chicken
  • risotto
  • Spaghetti Bolognaise
  • Pasta Bake
  • Lasanga
  • Beef Stroganoff
  • Satay Chicken

And a special mention to two ladies in the group who are VERY experienced in the bulk cooking department, Rachael and Beth!

I’m in awe of them both and I’m quite keen to reach there level of organisation, but I’m not there yet!

 

So, there you go, heaps of ideas from people who’ve cooked this way.
Which ones will you cook?

 

The Big Cookup Step 1 – What’s Your Goal?

BigCookup2017_Step1

Whether this is your first Big Cookup, or you’re a seasoned Cookie, preparing usually starts off with the same question.

“What’s your goal?”

A Big Cookup goal is usually derived from your situation. Since everyone’s situation is unique, your goal will be different to mine or anyone else. Here are some examples of how someone’s situation might inform their goal setting…

Situation
You and your partner both work full time jobs and have 4+ kids. After work everyone is too tired to cook.
Goal
Your goal might be to do a big cookup so no one needs to cook during the week.

Situation
It’s just you at home and you’ve only got a little bit of freezer space
Goal
Your goal might be to make a couple of half-prepped meals. By making small portions of the main, you only add rice/pasta/veggies etc. at the time of cooking.

Situation
You’re a blended family. Sometimes you have 8 people in the home, sometimes 3. Often the teenagers bring friends home which adds to your numbers and sometimes they go over to their friends houses. Knowing how many you need to cook for is hectic!
Goal
Your goal might be to Cookup foods and store in different sizes.

My Situation
I hate cooking. I’m not a great cook. There is only myself and my husband. We work from home but Husband often has to go out to sites and other random meetings that could take him away all day so we need ‘at home’ lunches and lunches to go in a thermos. I don’t want to cook dinner every night.
My Goal
To make 10 different meals that will freeze well. At least 5 of them should be suitable for thermos lunches.

 

So, what’s your situation? What are you trying to achieve? What will be your Big Cookup goal?

 

Contacting IVF Clinics – First Clinic Pt2

This post (and future posts), will be about the challenges I face in getting my mental health needs met, that is specifically that I need another person present, during IVF procedures.


The Fertility Centre – Sunshine Coast Pt2

If you haven’t read part 1, catch up on the story here.

Just like the previous post, I am going to pre-empt this by saying the staff at The Fertility Centre – Sunshine Coast have been wonderful, kind and polite! I don’t have anything negative to say about their service, other than it hasn’t been able to accommodate what I need yet.


This is part 2. In the previous post, I walked you through the joy and subsequent devastation/anxiety/panic that came when the nurse said no, Husband couldn’t be present for the 2 procedures.

After that first appointment, I went home and talked things through with the ever-patient husband. After a few days I emailed the clinic…

Hi Emily, (Emily is a very nice, polite and professional person there)
Could you please forward my following follow up query to the nurse I spoke with today? I’m sorry, I’ve already forgotten her name.
Good afternoon,
Thank you for taking the time to speak with (Husband) and myself today. It was great to hear the information first hand, rather than trying to interpret information from the internet.
I was pleased to discover things would work pretty much as I’d assumed they would, though there is a small hiccup that may mean I may not be a suitable match for your service. I say small, as it may seem minor to you but large and potentially devastating to me.
I’m concerned specifically with the OPU. I’ve never had surgery, never had any form of anesthetic or pain relief in my life except for neurofen. I’ve never been ‘drunk’ or experienced feelings I can only imagine as being helpless and unable to act effectively on behalf of oneself.
Add in that OPU isn’t painless (which isn’t surprising, I expected something), thus requiring Valium (something I’ve also never experienced) and I’m reluctant to proceed if (Husband) can’t be present. I didn’t expect that he wouldn’t be able to be present, that kind of threw me today. I accept that no one’s going to implant 2 eggs, but to not allow (Husband) to be present must be a physical/spatial limitation rather than a medical one.
I know myself well. I either need (Husband) by my side, or I need to be asleep (not supported at this clinic, I know).
I need someone I know and trust by my side, because when I start to panic/worry, I shut down and cannot make decisions on my own. I cannot advocate for myself or my needs. Plus I’ll be on drugs which, by their design, inhibit those same things. I don’t have mental health issues, I don’t have general panic attacks, it is specific to Dr’s/medical/dental. Not an uncommon fear.
I realise (Husbands) presence may simply not be an option in the space of a small, low cost, clinic, but before I give up on the idea of IVF I need to explore all possible options that I can think of. Is the springwood or gold coast clinic bigger? Is there an option to do OPU/fertilisation/transfer at another clinic? Do I need to go and book a consult with QFG instead and discuss fertility options there?
What are the health implications of triggering ovulation and then not being able to collect the eggs? I’m imagining a scenario where OPU is scheduled, the ovulation has already been triggered, and I simply cannot go ahead with the procedure.
I’m ready to sign and move forward, but I can’t in good faith do that without raising this issue and finding a resolution.
~Kate~

And then I received the following response

Hi Kate,
I understand that you have some concerns about the EPU and where to go from here.
The main reason that (Husband) and all partners are unable to be theatre is that we are performing a medical procedure, if something goes wrong, we need to ensure that we have the perfect environment in which to help the patient. I cannot say for sure, but nearly all theatres that are doing medical procedures would not allow extra people to be in theatre. We have the fertility specialist, a General Practitioner, two nurses, and a scientist in the theatre, and if something was to go wrong, we all need to be able to access the patient quickly without moving other people out of the way. It is very rare that something will go wrong, but it is part of our protocol that we do not have extra people in theatre.
I am not sure if Springwood or the Gold Coast clinics have a larger theatre room, but as far as I know, they would be operating under the same protocol for their theatre. If you wanted to have your EPU done at a different TFC, the whole cycle would have to be done through that clinic – doctors consult, scans, blood, etc.
You are more than welcome to call QFG and organize to have a meeting with the nurses up there to discuss your options. (Husband) would not be able to go into the theatre up there either, and as far as I am aware, he is unable to wait with you once you have been admitted.  At TFC, he will be able to wait with you up until you enter theatre if there are no other patients on the list for that day (but that would not able to be guaranteed), then he would be just outside in the reception waiting room.
As to being unable to make any decisions on the day, all medical decisions are made and consents signed before you are given any medications.
In answer to your question about being unable to go through with the EPU, there are no real medical implications. The eggs would still ovulate from the follicles, and you would be required to abstain from intercourse  as there would be a risk of multiple eggs fertilizing.
I understand that this information may not be what you want to hear, but I just wanted to answer all your questions.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at the clinic.
Kind regards,
Zoe Pearce

Now, see, isn’t that a lovely, polite and professional response? I can’t fault the staff there, they have been wonderful.

Problem is, those reasons are not good enough to exclude a person undergoing a medical procedure from having support. If I was giving birth, Husband would be there. Husbands are even allowed in theatres for C-sections. I simply cannot accept, that in this day and age (it’s 2017 for crying out loud!), that medical staff can’t make arrangements for another human in the room.

Anyway, a few weeks later, I received the following follow up email from TFC-SC and provided my response.

Hi Kate and (Husband)
This is just a courtesy email to see if you have thought anymore about a cycle with us. Look forward to hearing back from you.
Kind regards
Jayne Herman IVF nurse co-ordinator
Hi Jayne,
Thank you for your follow up email. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like a cycle through the fertility clinic is going to be possible.
In order to undergo IVF, I need to find a solution where my husband can be present with me for the extraction and implantation. I’ve been advised this isn’t possible at your clinic.
Please let me know if this changes in the future and we can begin the IVF process straight away.

And I never heard from them again. So I guess they decided I wasn’t going to have IVF.

 

Contacting IVF Clinics – First Clinic Pt1

This post (and future posts), will be about the challenges I face in getting my mental health needs met, that is specifically that I need another person present, during IVF procedures.


The Fertility Centre – Sunshine Coast Pt1

Click above to visit TFC-SC

I am going to pre-empt this by saying the staff at The Fertility Centre – Sunshine Coast have been wonderful, kind and polite! I don’t have anything negative to say about their service, other than it hasn’t been able to accommodate what I need yet.

Finding the service

So, when I first started researching IVF on the Sunshine Coast, I discovered The Fertility Centre – Sunshine Coast (which I will forever shorten to TFC-SC). TFC offer affordable IVF. IVF without all the bells and whistles. Due to our low income status, I could have been paying as little as $300 per IVF cycle.

I was over the moon, to say the least. Suddenly, my dreams of having a family were actually possible. Up till this point, I’d just crushed my soul time after time, telling myself we may NEVER be in a financial position to have a baby and to bury every maternal feeling at all times (just WRITING about having to bury my maternal feelings makes me teary).

So, I read their website. I read it again and again. I scoured it for every bit of information I could. I think I know their website front to back by now.

First appointment

I called and booked an appointment.

I went to my GP to get a referral. I filled out forms. I organized proof of low income status… I was excited.

I waited in agony for 7 days until my appointment.

The clinic was clean, tidy and… you know… doctors waiting room looking. The lady behind the counter was friendly, she took my paperwork and said she’d see if she could get the low-cost IVF paperwork approved before we left today.

The nurse saw us. She took us through how the whole IVF thing worked with there service. From what I remember and understood, they can do pretty much the whole process in their clinic. They have a day-surgery space in house. Rotating doctors who do the surgeries depending on who is rostered on, etc.

I was so nervous and excited! Husband was with me (of course).

We discussed PCOS and how my periods were unreliable. I could have a period every 2 months or my next one might not hit for 6 months. She suggested I start on the pill as soon as my next period happened, so we could get my cycles predictable as you must start the IVF medications on the first day of a period, so obviously knowing when that would be is important.

I asked if Husband was able to be present for the tests, the needles, the scans, etc. She said yes. WIN!

Then she started talking about the egg pickup or extraction, fertilization and then returning the embryo… I asked about Husband being there… she said no, it was against policy. He could not be present during the 2 procedures…

It started to go south

I think my ears went deaf at that point.

Blood started pounding in my ears, I couldn’t breath, I was hypersensitive and I felt like I could feel every molecule in the room against my skin, prickling and irritating it. My clothes were heavy, suddenly it felt like gravity had grabbed my clothes and was pulling it to the ground. The urge to get the clothing off was strong, if I could get it off me it would stop pulling so hard…

I couldn’t talk. I was so focused on not crying, so focused on not letting the nurse see I was crumbling inside, so focused on keeping that anxiety and panic at bay… because in that moment of saying no she just told me… you can’t have a baby.

Try to understand my position

She left the room to speak with the admin lady. While she was gone I tried not to cry. I didn’t want her to come back in and ask ‘what’s wrong?’.
I’ve experienced that genuine concern for another person suddenly turn to ‘are you serious? is this woman serious? how fricking ridiculous is she being right now’ tone/voice/look when they realize I’m crying because she said no.

But it’s more than a no.

My fears are real, anxieties related to medical procedures are common and should be treated with dignity and respect. I shouldn’t be so afraid, but I am. Having to hide it all just makes the emotions bigger.

When she returned and asked what was wrong I lied and mumbled some half ass excuse about being so emotional that I might finally be able to have a baby. I guess she bought that excuse as she started going on and on about how yes, the IVF journey can be a rollercoaster… blah blah… great to meet you… blah blah.. I was barely holding my cries back… the lady at reception said we had qualified for the cheap IVF…

I was fast approaching ‘bawling my eyes out and howling hysterically while curled up in a fetal position’ status…

I couldn’t tell her what was going on. I needed to get out. I needed to leave before I became hysterical (and wouldn’t THAT have been freaking embarrassing? Grown ass woman behaving hysterically because she said no… I’m so embarrassed at the thought).

Because I knew, when she said no, that I would not physically be able to walk into that surgery room alone. That I would become hysterical and then everyone would look at me like I was crazy…

*sigh*


So, that is Part 1 of my experience with The Fertility Centre – Sunshine Coast

Stay tuned, and I’ll post Part 2 – the follow up, and link it in here.

IVF Frustration and Mental Health

Anyone who has:

  • had IVF,
  • known someone going through IVF, or
  • known someone who needs IVF

will be aware that IVF is a pain in the proverbial butt.

It’s expensive, there’s medications and needles. There’s nurses and doctors, clinics and hospitals, scans and really awkward positions… and up to this point, you still might not be pregnant!

IVF can be daunting and confusing. Every clinic has a different way of phrasing things, some clinics do full anesthesia, some go generals or just rely on pain relief.

IVF pricing is either super cheap from $400-$500 per try to upwards of 4-5k per try and the levels of pain relief and anesthesia change according to that price. Need to be fully asleep? Pay 4 grand. Be awake and conscious throughout with a pain whistle/breathing thing? $400.

But hey, I’m an idiot who desperately wanted to have kids by 28 (I’m now 30), who wants a small sports team worth of kids and is slightly terrified that the best I might get is one. Not to say one child wouldn’t be a blessing.. but if you want a huge family and can’t, the thought is frustrating!

I’m also deeply terrified of doctors, dentists, hospitals, procedures, etc. etc.

I’ve never broken a bone, never had anything stronger in my LIFE than a Panadol. I’ve never been drunk. One of the nurses told me the medication is just like being tipsy and I FREAKED THE HELL OUT! What do you mean TIPSY? What’s that like? Do I have any control? What if I need something to stop? Can TIPSY people act coherently? I’ve never experienced people who drink as capable of making decisions and standing up for themselves and their needs.

I remember visiting the dentist as a kid for a filling, and halfway between the door and the chair I just froze. I couldn’t go forward, but I wasn’t allowed to leave. I couldn’t advocate for my fears and no one around me either knew how to or was willing to act on my behalf. I literally felt like I was about to be assaulted, because that is what it is when someone DOES SOMETHING TO YOU WHEN YOU DON’T WANT TO! I was so close to tears when my mother told them I was about to cry and I was dismissed from the room. While my mum had her teeth done instead of me, I sat outside on the steps and cried. It was awful, humiliating and painful.

Anyway, fast forward to now and I don’t believe that, when under the influence of drugs or medical staff’s pressures, that I will be allowed to advocate for myself. I believe I will be ignored, dismissed, and people will simply do as they please because ‘that’s policy’.

I trust my husband. I need my husband present. He can advocate on my behalf, he knows me, knows me mental health. Please understand, I don’t have panic attacks in normal life, I work, I’m a professional, I deal with personal and professional challenges ALL the time without falling apart. I don’t need pscych-medications, I don’t need to balance hormones or brain chemicals to keep me emotionally stable. I just have a DEEP ROOTED FEAR with all things medical.

NOT A SINGLE IVF CLINIC that I have spoken to has recognized that mental health, panic attacks and fears are important. I’ve been simply told ‘the IVF process is no big deal’.
Why should I trust you, the medical professional? At the very least you’ve ignored how I feel, at worst you’ve just told me I’m never having kids because I can’t ‘suck it up’ for 20 minutes.

So, I’m going to blog about every service I speak to, every conversation I have, every receptionist, manager, nurse and doctor I speak to.

I will be recognized and health professionals WILL acknowledge mental health in ALL it’s forms.