It's been said that there is no such thing as "TMI" in the world of online IF chat. I'm not convinced of that. Sure, I may have discussed my sex life and mucous and pubes (oh my!), but there must be topics out there that are too much, even for the haggard, old ears of the barren. We show each other photos of 8 cell embryos and pictures of needle-induced bruises. We help one another interpret lines on sticks we've actually urinated on. And once initiated in the Success After Infertility club the braver among us might even discuss hemorrhoids - with people we've never met, in a forum that can be read by anyone on earth. We're a brave and open bunch, that is for certain.
So why, then, has nobody ever mentioned the Alien Ass Pods?
How many of you reading right now have been diagnosed with PCOS? Oodles, I imagine - it seems almost as common a diagnosis as MoTHerFuckeR. I've seen countless discussions about the symptoms, endless cycles, treatment options and diet suggestions. Girls are open about the side effects of the medication they're prescribed to combat PCOS, although the daintier "stomach upset" is a more common complaint than the more truthful "diarrhea from hell". And yet there is no talk of Alien Ass Pods.
I was first put on Metformin last summer. I'd had a few failed Femara cycles (O, but no BFP) but wasn't ready to move on to the big, bad world of injectibles. My RE and I powwowed and decided to approach the next cycle with a "kitchen sink" mentality. We were sticking with Femara but using Endometrin (over the possibly less-powerful Crinone of previous cycles). We were moving on to IUI over TI, even though my husband had managed to knock me up 4 times already. And we were throwing in Met. "What the hell," we thought. Why not. I didn't really show signs of PCOS (aside from a predilection towards moles), but Met was cheap and it couldn't really hurt.
I started my prescription on a Friday, just before leaving for a camping trip. I was diligent in taking my pills that weekend. I'd pop a few just before grabbing a beer and sitting my ass in a river with girlfriends. I spent all weekend in that river; laughing, relaxing and reconnecting after another failed cycle. When I returned home to my hubby a few days later I was dirty, tired and a bit hungover - the indoor plumbing was a welcome sight.
When I used the bathroom the next morning I thought I saw...something, just before it was swept out of view. I wasn't really certain I hadn't imagined it and tried to forget. I popped my pills and life went on. The next morning I knew it wasn't my imagination. There was definitely "something" in the toilet. Oval. Yellow. Big. Floating. I tried to ignore it, but my mind began to whir. The next day there were two - no, three! - of these objects, these Alien Ass Pods! They looked like eggs; eggs coming from an area that should not be laying eggs. And how big was the animal that laid eggs that size? What the hell had crawled out of that river and into my intestines???
I scoured the internet for answers, but how do you Google "big f'ing scary pods in my shit!"? I wasn't getting any relief and fearful that the aliens might that very moment be feasting on my duodenum, I asked my mom, who had accompanied me on my trip to the river, if she was having any "issues". Free of A.A.P.s herself but concerned about my insides she started Googling with me. Talking through it ("they're BIG") and dissecting the events of the week prior, talk turned to meds. And suddenly I realized - those pods looked an awful lot like my Metformin ER tablets. They were bigger and yellower, but there was a definite resemblance...
A little more interwebs digging and I had my answer. No parasite had taken refuge in my bowels (or in my uterus, for that matter, damnit!). I just had a very common reaction to a very common medication. The meds are absorbed but the outer casing isn't and thus, Alien Ass Pods are born. I was relieved to have an explanation and thankful to avoid another trip to another doctor. But I couldn't help but wonder why my RE didn't mention this? Why didn't the PCOS girls on my message boards warn me? Shouldn't there be a big, flashing neon light above the pharmacy counter that prepares patients for this terrifying side effect? But nobody was talking. Guess some things *are* TMI - even for the IF community.
A year later and I'm back on Met. Just one day in and the pods are back. All you silent sufferers of Alien Ass Pods, rest assured: You Are Not Alone.