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We are not alone in both infertility and infertility-related pizza face

12/13/2011

Belle

I expect my skin to look like this... HA!

The last round of Gonal-F/Crinone/BFN launched me into several glorious months of birth control pills. I was actually looking forward to this as it would give my pizza face and the little intertube around my midsection a bit of time to chill the hell out. Thank you very much PCOS, you may  now leave your ugly post.

Seems the beauty Gods had different plans for me, though. A few days prior to our Arizona trip, right before my period started and began the birth control pills, my face broke out like never before. Seriously y’all. We had forehead zits, cheek zits, chin zits and blackheads the size of an eraser on my nose*.

Determined to not look like infertility had taken a shit on my face I ventured out to Walgreen’s where I scoured the pimple treatment isle. This was all-out war. I eventually landed upon this gem. 10% Benzyl Peroxide, bitches! The packaging warned about exessive drying but I figured my pizza face was was exempt – it already had a good slick of oil covering it. Some drying would do it good.

Then I went to Arizona where the air is dryer than the fancy clothes dryer Mr. Husband brought into our marriage (bless him). It is so dry in AZ that if I don’t drink double my usual 8 glasses of water I feel like I might flake away. This air, coupled with this zit cream made for the nastiest face ever. Not only was I still zitty, I was also beyond dry. Come last week my face still had not recovered. I had huge cystic zits and skin that flaked if I sneezed. It had gotten so bad that my face hurt to smile.

Something had to be done. I prepared Mr. Husband for the financial damage: “Mr. Husband, my face feels like it is going to fall off and this zit on my chin is threatening to take my teeth hostage. I have to do something and that something requires a trip to  Aveda and at least $100.”

Mr. Husband is a rational man and realized if he did not agree to this he would have to deal with yet another messy, snotty Belle breakdown. “By all means,” he said. “Go get something so your pretty face does not fall off.”

I thanked him and then stomped away muttering that “woe is me, nothing about me is pretty these days” blah blah blah. Dramaz Dramaz Dramaz.

On Sunday I walked into Aveda and was greeted by my usual customer service rep. This gal is super pretty, short and petite with long jet black wavy hair and perfectly applied makeup. She makes me feel so very plain Jane. And what did I say to her when she asked how she could help me? My eyes filled with tears and I blurted out, “I’m going through infertility treatment and it is killing my face and my sanity. PLEASE FIX MY FACE!”

And you know what she said? She said, “I’m going through this too. All I want is a baby and all I’m getting is acne. Don’t worry, I can fix your face.”

$132** later, and after a good bit of us over-sharing our woes, I headed home to perform a facial, wash, treat, and moisturize then drink more water in attempts to rehydrate the mess that used to be my face.

The point of this rant is not to gather sympathy for my narsty face, though. It is to discuss how amazing it is that we are not alone. It seems every time I open a can of over-share with someone I find another someone going through the same hell. Every time I confide in another human being I feel lighter, I feel more in control, and I feel less like I am the only woman on this earth roaming around with out a child by her side or a baby in her belly.

All this makes me wonder, am I right to keep my infertility so secret? Should I share freely with friends and the rest of my family? What if I were to open up about this on, say, the evil Facebook? Would I find myself surrounded by supporters, or heckled at my inability to produce an egg? I really want to put together a support group in my community. Maybe my chance encounter with a fellow infertile at Aveda was the sign from whomever is up there running this show that it is time to take action. What do you all think? Would you join a group of other infertiles to meet every few weeks for coffee and discussion? If so, how would you want to find out about this group? Craigslist? Facebook? Fliers at your RE’s office?

* Slight exaggeration.

** Hangs head in financial shame. A portion of this gawd awful bill was for shampoo and conditioner, too.

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23 Comments

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  1. December 13, 2011

    I totally hear you on wanting a support group. Every time I go to my Fertility Doc’s office & see all those other women in the waiting room burying their faces in magazines, I wonder what THEIR stories are. And wish there was some way to come together. This journey can definitely be isolating! Here’s hoping your skin starts behaving better soon. : )

    • December 13, 2011

      I feel the same way! Surely there is a way… I might talk with my RE when I go in for my SHG in a few weeks and see if I can get something cooking!

  2. December 13, 2011

    PLEASE come out to your family and close friends! It is such a relief that they all know what’s going on and I will NEVER hear the words “when are you guys going to have kids”. I share with EVERYONE because I refuse to be ashamed and I would like all the fertiles to have a face to the word “infertility” and realize how close to home it is. Even the miscarriage which seems to be a verboten topic I throw into conversations if someone’s going to inquire as to why my year is so shitty or if they’re talking about their newborn and ask me if I want to hold it. Also I totally think a support group is a good idea but like you have NO IDEA how to get one started! Good luck and I hope it happens!

  3. December 13, 2011

    I share every blog post on Facebook. I’ve not gotten one note of criticism. Now I can’t say people aren’t inwardly doing it, but overall all Ive gotten was support. I bet you’d find the same.
    I’ll have to do Some searching for a Facebook group. I bet there is one out there. And a meet face to face support group would rock too

  4. December 13, 2011

    I also feel this way… I wish I could come out to everyone but I am scared and I don’t know why. I know my husband doesn’t want to tell anyone. I know there must be people in my congregation who are going through this, I just don’t know who they are – I’d love to somehow coordinate a secret get together!!!

    • December 13, 2011

      If only we were all rich and could fly to exotic places every month to meet!

  5. December 13, 2011

    I outed myself in 2010 on facebook during Resolve’s National Infertility Awareness week. I was surprised by the outpouring of support and encouragement from my friends. Since then it has been a huge relief off my shoulders, because keeping secrets, especially one as big as IF, is a huge secret to keep to oneself. Secrets take work and they can be exhausting to keep up. (I did keep my infertility at secret at work, not from my co-workers, just the nosy customers at my work.)

    However, I understand the reluctancy in keeping your infertility to yourself. Opening yourself up about your infertility also opens you up to insensitive comments, inappropriate questions, and useless platitudes from friends who mean well, but are not really sure how to help you (this doesn’t happen often, but you aren’t immune to it either).

    I’m been there with the infertility treatment pizza face. I started using Proactiv in 2008 after 3 cycles of Clomid (but really I already had a history with horrible acne – the Clomid just added the added toppings to my pizza face.)

    I think a support group sounds like a great idea.

    • December 13, 2011

      I’ve come SO CLOSE to outing myself on Facebook during certain times. I did post twice about signing the petition to make fertility coverage mandatory. However, this does not necessarily mean I am infertile, just an activist. Maybe in time I’ll be so bold. Good for you for coming out. I don’t think we can get the support we need and want until we are open, but being open is so hard!

  6. December 13, 2011

    After I went off birth control my face went haywire. I wasn’t even on any fertility drugs. I had little zits on my forehead and huge cystic acne everywhere else. I started Proactive and it totally works! It took 3 months and now I have the occasional one or two during AF. Oh and the most important thing when using Proactive or any Benzyl Peroxide is moisturize. 🙂

    As for the support group, could you please move to my state? I would LOVE to have women here to meet with and coffee or wine and just talk. I haven’t outed myself to anyone except my mom and a few others. I think if I saw the flier at the RE’s office, I would be happy to join.

    • December 13, 2011

      I have heard so many good things about Proactive. I used to be afraid of the price tag, but now that I’m dumping so much at Aveda I might as well go for it! Thanks for the tip!

      Also, who knows where we will be in 6 to 9 months! Mr. Husband is sending applications across the U.S., Canada and Europe so time will tell… !

      • December 13, 2011

        I like the idea of having fliers in doctor’s offices. That’s where I would look and respond. Resolve has a support group about an hour from my house and I’ve been considering going. I don’t share with everyone, but I do tell many people what I’m going through and everytime I run across someone who is in the trenches, or has been there… it’s amazing. It’s like some light shines down and places 2 damages people in the same place at the same time so they can lean on each other for just a moment. I’m so grateful for those times. I hope your hubby gets a job in California so you can come out here!!

  7. December 13, 2011

    I’m so glad that you were able to find someone who understands AND was able to help fix your skin. Completely awesome.

    One of the more freeing decisions I’ve made is to no longer hide my infertility. It’s not like I actively advertise it, but I do talk about it more than makes the average person comfortable. Because of this, I’ve found a group of real life friends who are amazing supporters and it’s given an outlet to deal with this insanity. Think about it: there are cancer support groups and cancer patients are encouraged to talk about what they are living with in order to 1) process their emotions 2) seek support and 3) educate those around them. By keeping quiet, I miss out on those things. And if more and more people speak out, the more likely it is that we’ll find the support we need.

    BTW: Thank you for supporting me. You’re message came at a time when I needed it most

  8. December 13, 2011

    Go for it. I am OUT on the infertility issue , and the best support has come from

  9. December 13, 2011

    Go for it. I am OUT on the infertility issue , and the best support has come from Places I never ever expected it, with many many hidden infertiles delighted to share. I’ll come to your fly in fly out support group. No probs. just got to buy that lottery ticket…….

  10. December 13, 2011

    Oh my gosh I have been thinking about this!! I mentioned it a little bit in an earlier post but want to dedicate a new one to the idea of sharing with the world. Facebook has been my big question too. On the one hand, over-sharing has been so helpful. It’s how I’ve kept my blog going. I’m so close to just announcing on facebook, guess what everyone??!! But I’m also afraid of the responses. Besides, do I really want everyone to know there’s something wrong with my reproductive system? I came as close as going thru my facebook friends and deleting a lot of people. Next step…deciding to share. I know it would certainly help my blog! Oh well. Good luck with the decision!

  11. December 14, 2011

    As an “out of the closet” infertile, I would say go ahead and take the leap…come out. It is not only liberating, but for the most support I have received nothing but love and support from family and friends, which is exactly what it takes to deal with IF. The support group is a fantastic idea as well! I started going to one at my RE’s office that was started by another paitent. It is nice to meet with others in person who “get it”. In fact, on Sunday hubs and I had one of the girls from by group and her hubs over for dinner. It was wonderful, and the best part is that for the first time, hubs talked to someone else about what it is like. I think he actually enjoyed talking to someone else who has had to drop his pants for an RE!

    best of luck!

  12. December 14, 2011

    I love those happy accidents! I resigned from a volunteer board recently just to drop some things. When I told the president that I just had too much on my plate I thought, “She has twins… I wonder…” so I went for it. Turns out, they were IUI kiddos and she’s become one of my biggest helps. We weren’t even close before I spilled the beans. I’m not brave enough for FB yet, though.

  13. December 14, 2011

    Did you read my mind when you wrote this post!? I have had several of these points on my mind lately.

    1. Proactive did nothing for His Royal Fabulousness. I would stick with Aveda. P.s. they have a curl product that I would love to have but it is so expensive! grr!
    2. I keep going back and forth about outing myself (and the blog) on FB. It would make life better in some ways, harder in others. Le sigh.
    3. I have thought of joining/starting a support group too. I am one of 4 IFers at work and they have all confided in me, but not to each other. It would be good to get a group together! I do wish all us bloggers could get together for a beer sometime. 🙂

  14. December 14, 2011

    I have been thinking of meeting others going through IF in real life and was close, I found a group on a message board that actually met in my town. but I never asked to join. Part of it I was afraid to be left behind being the one not getting pregnant in the group which was a great fear. Now when I know different I kind of regret it. It’s still there and I could easily check the interest of meeting up with others gone through treatment. Maybe I should, thanks for the reminder.
    Anyway, it’s a good idea and even if only sharing with a few close friends you could get great support.

  15. December 14, 2011

    I would join your support group any day:-) Only there is that small matter of geography…

    The question of how open to be about infertility and treatment is very personal and it can’t be rushed or pushed. We have gone from being very closed about it the first couple of years. To now being very open and it really does help so much. There is support in the most unlikely places as others have also said and as you experienced at the beauticians. Personally, we have learned to cope better over the years and part of that has been becoming more open.

  16. December 14, 2011

    Love Aveda and the fact that you found someone to sympathize with there. Hope you two can spend some less costly time to spend together. 🙂

  17. December 15, 2011

    I told most of my family and friends a few months ago. It was the best thing I have ever done for myself. There are a few people I didn’t tell because I know their initial reaction would probably be ignorant. I don’t care if they find out, I am just not telling them. I don’t think I will ever com out on facebook. I have “friends” on there that I know would have comments and there is no point in giving myself grief I don’t need. I love your idea about talking to your RE about a support group. I would totally be there! Having someone in person is amazing. My guardian angel and now I found out my massage therapist are so great to talk to.

  18. December 19, 2011

    Someone probably suggested this already, but you should start a RESOLVE support group. I went through the first couple of steps to get one started, but realized I wanted to wait until I knew if I was going to keep another pregnancy or not (they suggest holding off starting one if you’re in the middle of trying because people will have a difficult time going if you become pregnant). I’m slowly coming out to the rest of my family (grandparents and uncles), but the majority of them know, as do all of my friends. I couldn’t imagine going through this without them knowing. I’m so thankful for their support, even when they don’t know what to say or do.

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