My IVF Journey

IVF Meditation

End of IVF Journey?

Posted on May 10, 2014 in Round Five | 2 comments

End of IVF Journey?

May 10, 2014   The email came in the afternoon. “Your embryo did not make it to blastocyst stage.  It stopped growing and it cannot be used for implantation.” According to the report, on Day 2, it was 4 cells with <10% fragmentation, and even symmetry.  Don’t know if it went beyond that, as they don’t check on Days 3 and 4 “to ensure they are kept at a stable environment to grow” was the explanation. Day 5 status said “arrested”  and “discard”.  Such ugly words. What now? ...

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Quick and Painless

Posted on May 5, 2014 in Round Five | 0 comments

Quick and Painless

May 5, 2014  Egg retrieval was scheduled for 9:15am.  After the usual gown change and blood pressure reading, I waited.  And waited.  The patient before the patient before me was requesting Dr. Yelian do the retrieval and he was nowhere to be found or reached.  I heard the nurse leave messages on his phone and even with no idea when he would appear, they decided to set her up in the procedure room to get her ready.  I would have had the next patient go ahead of her, but… the patient after her was so far a no show.  I recall walking past...

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Did Wheatgrass Lower My FSH?

Posted on Apr 27, 2014 in Round Five | 0 comments

Did Wheatgrass Lower My FSH?

April 27, 2014  CD 3 Monitoring: I didn’t think it was possible, actually.  My CD 2/3 FSH had never been below 12 since 2007 when I first started TTC.  This cycle, it was 10.1!  Sure, it’s on the high end of the normal range (some say 9 is the cut-off for normal), but it was normal, which my FSH never was throughout my infertility journey.  And my E2 was 65.6, a little on the high end for me (was it the estrace priming?), but still within normal ranges.  If the E2 were sky high, it would falsely lower the FSH, but that...

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Egg Retrieval Disaster

Posted on Apr 16, 2014 in Round Four | 0 comments

Egg Retrieval Disaster

April 16, 2014  Not a single viable follicle to be found…  Good morning!  Retrieval was scheduled for 8:15am and after all the prepping and the setting up, voila!  No follicle.  WTF.  It would be impossible to miss a follicle the size of at least 18mm, and Dr. Wu poked and prodded around for a lengthy while but alas, it seems my single egg decided it wanted out early and didn’t feel like sticking around to be suctioned into a test tube.  So I had ovulated sometime between the last ultrasound on CD 9 and egg retrieval on CD 11. ...

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A Second Chance

Posted on Apr 10, 2014 in Round Four | 0 comments

A Second Chance

April 10, 2014  So a positive came out of a negative, I guess.  Although my last retrieval didn’t end well, I was given another chance for a mere $1,100.  The only reason I say “mere $1,100″ is because, compared to the standard $20k average of one conventional IVF cycle, $1,100 is practically nothing, though it’s still a fortune for me.  My CD 3 monitoring this time around resulted in a LOW FSH of 13.4, with E2 of 54.1.  Ok.  One word – confused.  7 months on a strict fertility diet, Chinese herbs, fertility...

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Rotten Eggs

Posted on Mar 20, 2014 in Round Three | 0 comments

Rotten Eggs

March 20, 2014  The email from the IVF lab was all bad news.  Neither of my two eggs was even qualified for ICSI and both (one degenerated and the other immature) had to be trashed.  What went wrong?  Ten million reasons probably, of what went wrong.  None of which I’ll ever know.  The science of human reproduction is far too complicated, while IVF is nothing more than gambling where you either win or you lose.  Nothing  in between.  Well, I’ve been on an impressive losing streak so far, but amid all the failed efforts of either...

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Egg Retrieval Was a Pain in My Uterus

Posted on Mar 18, 2014 in Round Three | 4 comments

Egg Retrieval Was a Pain in My Uterus

March 18, 2014   The retrieval was scheduled for 9am, so I had to be there half an hour earlier for prep.  It was another doctor who was doing the retrieval, but Dr. Yelian was right there beside me for, he said, “support”. I take it he had taken in another doctor to help out with the load and was just making sure the guy was up to par, though I don’t really know the real reason, but it didn’t bother me at all. Strength in numbers, right. When the doc checked my follies with the ultrasound, it turned out there were three all stacked...

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Damn You, FSH

Posted on Mar 14, 2014 in Round Three | 0 comments

Damn You, FSH

March 14, 2014  Sorry, guys, been swamped with things and stuff, so I went ahead and crammed three days worth of monitoring days into one post to update y’all. CD 3 Monitoring:  Twelve days of LoLoestrin and no crabbiness or rage, thank the Gods. Just a few headaches popped up here and there, which I lovingly killed with a half cup of strong brewed Joe. My pregopuncture doctor advised me that coffee is the lesser of the two evils (over Tylenol), so why not, right? With absolute pleasure. 2 days after my final dose of BCPs, dear old AF...

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High FSH Strikes Yet Again

Posted on Feb 13, 2014 in Round Three | 0 comments

High FSH Strikes Yet Again

February 13, 2014 Last cycle took me by surprise when my CD3 bloodwork revealed an FSH of 20, even after 5 months of weekly acupuncture treatments, Chinese herbs, and a diet change.  So when I received the results of my next CD3 labwork and the FSH was even higher at 24.3 (E2 was 43), I was ready to drown myself in alcoholic and caffeinated beverages.  Six month’s worth.  I mentioned to the nurse that I would like to have Dr. Yelian’s opinion about canceling this cycle and priming with BCPs for the next cycle if the FSH came back...

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High FSH Again

Posted on Jan 21, 2014 in Round Three | 0 comments

High FSH Again

January 21, 2014 First of all, thanks to all of you who have subscribed to this blog.  I hope my story has helped you in one way or another.  I feel like I’m almost at the end of the road where options are few and happy endings are wishful thinking, but I still try to keep a positive vibe, which is taking more and more effort by the day.  I don’t want to think that I’ve run out of steam.  Maybe I have. So our wedding anniversary was January 11 and we decided to do a low-key local around town kinda thing, nothing special, so...

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PMS Symptoms Are The Same as Pregnancy Symptoms

Posted on Dec 19, 2013 in Round Three | 0 comments

PMS Symptoms Are The Same as Pregnancy Symptoms

December 19, 2013 I once again was in Google Land, this time because of a severe temperature drop on CD26.  Of course the first thought in my head was, aw sh!t, here comes f!cking AF… but then, like I always do, I dug up the pregnancy possibilities.  What if it was an implantation drop, I thought.  Could implantation occur this late?  Google told me it could.  I was ecstatic.  I also had a dull, heavy feeling in my abdomen for about an hour (not cramps)  and sore boobs, but that was it.  The subsequent research on pregnancy symptoms and...

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Always Chart Your BBT!

Posted on Oct 28, 2013 in Round Three | 1 comment

Always Chart Your BBT!

OCTOBER 28, 2013  Two months have passed since I started the acupuncture treatments, and I’m proud to say I have not yet missed a single week.  I’ve been dutifully following all of the doctor’s advice, and boy are the changes prominent.  My periods used to start off with a day or half a day of spotting, then a medium flow followed by light flow, then more spotting.  Now, I get no spotting and start right off the bat with a full flow, which I would label as being on the heavy side.  So now it’s heavy flow on CD1...

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Acupuncture

Posted on Aug 17, 2013 in Round Three | 2 comments

Acupuncture

AUGUST 17, 2013  So this acupuncturist is Dr. Daniel Lee, the one I had been wanting to go to since about five years ago.  He was my first choice back in the day, because of his impressive track record, but I didn’t have the big bucks to spend back then, and I still don’t, but the time clock is a-ticking away.  He has over seventy five-star reviews online, with only one being negative and less than five-stars.  He also has tons of pictures and thank you notes on the walls of his waiting room and even inside all the treatment...

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To Wait or Not to Wait

Posted on Aug 9, 2013 in Round Two | 0 comments

To Wait or Not to Wait

AUGUST 9, 2013 Currently in that fed-upness stage right now.  Want to throw in the towel, shred all my medical records, toss all my leftover fertility meds, syringes, alcohol wipes, and never Google anything IVF-related ever again.  Would be nice.  But I can’t abandon it completely and then come back to it in a year.  That’s the luxury I don’t have because of my age.  Before tackling my final cycle at Life IVF, I’m thinking of going all out to prime myself in whatever way I can.  Eating well and taking prenatals just...

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Just Another BFN

Posted on Aug 7, 2013 in Round Two | 0 comments

Just Another BFN

AUGUST 7, 2013 Two days ago, the day I got the big fat negative news, it was delivered to me via email.  The clinic had recently updated their policies and advised all their patients that communication regarding treatment plans, embryo updates and such will all be done via email from now on.  And this includes the announcements of BFNs.  There was no apology for the bad news and the tone of the email was rather peppy.  In fact, it was filled with sunshine.  It greeted me enthusiastically (with an exclamation point) and then simply gave me my...

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Another Big Fat Friggin’ Negative

Posted on Aug 6, 2013 in Round Two | 0 comments

Another Big Fat Friggin’ Negative

AUGUST 6, 2013 Pregnancy tests are scheduled between 11am-3pm for whatever reason, and things were quiet around that time after all the hustle and bustle of the morning monitoring sessions.  I was called in right on time, blood was drawn for the P4 and Bhcg, and then I spent the rest of the afternoon checking my phone for The Email.  Well, it didn’t come until 6:15pm!  WTF.  If the news had come earlier, at least I would have had time to blow off a little steam… take a drive (off a cliff)… do retail therapy (to bury myself...

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My Very First Embryo Transfer

Posted on Aug 1, 2013 in Round Two | 0 comments

My Very First Embryo Transfer

AUGUST 1, 2013 The morning of, there was no coffee or tea for me.  It’s not a big deal, really.  It’s not the first time I’ve quit cold turkey on something – meat,  cigarettes, alcohol, xanax… My mind quickly adjusts and of course I will miss my morning hot cup of something for a while, but it’s ok.  What bothers me are the headaches that I now can’t kill with caffeine and/or Tylenol.  That bothers me more than the abandonment of my coffee and tea. I was there 30 minutes before the scheduled...

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CD 11 Ultrasound, FSH, LH, E2, and P4

Posted on Jul 27, 2013 in Round Two | 0 comments

CD 11 Ultrasound, FSH, LH, E2, and P4

JULY 27, 2013 So after the big bruise I was left with from the last blood draw, I was looking forward to achieving a matching big bruise for my other arm.  Be careful what you wish for, they say.  My brand new bruise was big indeed – as wide as a golf ball – but it was also much more colorful than the other.  There were various shades of yellows and greens and even a deep purple that looked rather cool.  It was pretty prominent, but it didn’t bother me at all.  They were my battle scars from my war with infertility. The...

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CD2 Transfer Cycle

Posted on Jul 20, 2013 in Round Two | 0 comments

CD2 Transfer Cycle

JULY 20, 2013 Or so I thought.  After the blood draw and ultrasound, the Progress Nurse informed me that the Dr. had wanted to do a retrieval instead.  News to me.  I still don’t get it.  Last I spoke to him was right after my last retrieval, right in his office.  He wanted to wait a month and then do the FET.  So what’s up with the sudden news of a retrieval? Was this a mistake?  The wrong chart?  The wrong patient?  It only led to utter confusion and a considerably fvcked up weekend.  I had to make the decision right then and...

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Day 6 Blastocyst

Posted on Jun 10, 2013 in Round Two | 0 comments

Day 6 Blastocyst

JUNE 10, 2013 I wasn’t expecting an update today but got a call around 2:30 with news that one of my embryos had developed into a full on blastocyst and was frozen this morning.  The other didn’t make it, but that’s ok.  Any success is welcomed at this point, and this was a huge milestone.  To top it off, it was given a grading of BB.  The nurse said it was a really good grade and that she has seen many C grade embryos develop into healthy babies.  They don’t transfer D grades and I read somewhere that A grades...

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Day 5 Blastocyst Update

Posted on Jun 9, 2013 in Round Two | 0 comments

Day 5 Blastocyst Update

JUNE 9, 2013 Waiting for the call was torture.  Embryo updates are usually given between 3-5pm each day and when I didn’t receive a call by 5:30, I let my voicemail do the waiting and went on with life.  I knew they would call eventually – they always do, no matter how late.  Sure enough, it was almost 6pm when the embryologist herself called and left a message.  Usually, it’s another lady (don’t know if she’s an embryologist as well, or nurse or other staff).  Molly said my embryos were not quite at blastocyst...

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Egg Retrieval, Second Round

Posted on Jun 4, 2013 in Round Two | 0 comments

Egg Retrieval, Second Round

JUNE 4, 2013 I wasn’t so nervous about it this time since I knew what to expect and knew the procedure, but I was definitely not looking forward to the pain part of it.  Once stick is fine.  Two maybe, but any more than that would not be so welcomed.  But what can you do except suck it up and tolerate it.  Actually, I can ask for IV sedation but it would just be like choosing between the lessor of two evils.  Damned if you do and don’t.  Besides, I don’t think I want to be sedated. The nice ET Prep Nurse came out and and led...

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My First Ever CD 14 Monitoring

Posted on Jun 2, 2013 in Round Two | 0 comments

My First Ever CD 14 Monitoring

JUNE 2, 2013 I’ve never had a monitoring session on what’s supposed to be my ovulation day.  There’s a first for everything, I guess.  As usual, if you go in earlier than your scheduled appointment time and they are not too busy, they will take you in early.  That’s only if they aren’t busy and are caught up on appointments, mind you.  Don’t bitch about it if you do go in early one day and you have to wait until your appointment time.  Don’t bitch if you have to even wait past your appointment time...

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What Happened, CD 11?

Posted on May 30, 2013 in Round Two | 0 comments

What Happened, CD 11?

MAY 30, 2013 It turns out my follies had stopped growing.  WTF??  In all my IUI history with injectables, my follicles never stalled before.  This time, most were the same size.  I asked the nurse to ask the doc if it would be better to cancel this cycle and start fresh.  I mean what would the reasons be for follicles to stop growing?  To me, that kind of is a bad sign, no?  It turns out my lab results were good and this was a good cycle, according to the doc, so we are to continue along.  Continue Clomid, but add Follistim 125iu once tonight...

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Follie Check CD 8

Posted on May 27, 2013 in Round Two | 2 comments

Follie Check CD 8

MAY 27, 2013 This time I was called back on CD8 instead of CD7 like last month.  There are reasons behind this, I know, but again, I like that the plan has so far differed, based on the ultrasound findings and blood test results.  Ultrasound showed 5 follies on the right and 4 on the left.  I think the biggest was 11mm and the rest, trailing down to 6mm.  Progress Nurse called a couple of hours later and told me to stay on Clomid and to come back on...

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Here We Go Again

Posted on May 22, 2013 in Round Two | 0 comments

Here We Go Again

MAY 22, 2013 AF came and it was a moody one for some reason.  I’m on CD 3 and still feeling the blah’s.  Usually I feel blah for the first day and then I’m over it.  Was it the Clomid?  The Prometrium?  I heard Clomid has a long half life but I didn’t take much and it was at such a low dosage… It’s probably the thought of having to do this all over again.  And again.  And knowing I have only one chance after this one is a major stress factor.  My head was foggy throughout the morning and afternoon…...

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It’s a No-Go

Posted on May 10, 2013 in Round One | 0 comments

It’s a No-Go

MAY 10, 2013 Enough said.

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Miracle Cell Division

Posted on May 9, 2013 in Round One | 0 comments

Miracle Cell Division

MAY 9, 2013 It happened.  There was activity.  The Lab Nurse called around four this afternoon, the day of what would have been my 3-day ET.  I had all but given up on the egg and didn’t expect any miracles and didn’t even expect an update call, and as I listened to her voicemail, I thought she was just trying to tell me that sorry, there was no further activity and better luck next time.  What a surprise when she said the egg divided and is now a 2-cell.  Of course this called for a beer and cigarette.  Albeit imaginary ones. ...

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Canceled Cycle?

Posted on May 7, 2013 in Round One | 0 comments

Canceled Cycle?

MAY 7, 2013 Bummer.  Got a phone call at about 9am saying that the egg was pretty much doing nothing.  She didn’t say it in those words, and she was really sympathetic about the news and so very nice answering any questions I had for her, so it made it all the more bearable.  She said Molly, the embryologist, would wait one day longer to see what happens, but I shouldn’t expect anything short of a miracle.  She transferred me over to a Progress Nurse who told me I would need to take Provera to kick start my cycle. I kinda sorta...

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Progesterone Debacle

Posted on May 6, 2013 in Round One | 0 comments

Progesterone Debacle

MAY 6, 2013 I have a few boxes of Endometrin from canceled cycles.  The Progress Nurse gave me my treatment plan sheet with instructions on starting oral Progesterone 200mg once a day at night and vaginal Progesterone in the morning.  I told her that I have some Endometrin at home and wanted to use that if I could, and she informed me that the dosage is different so I was to wait for the specialty pharmacy to call me.  I didn’t question it and decided to go home, check my stock and re-ask the question at a later time.  Which is what I...

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Egg Retrieval Day

Posted on May 6, 2013 in Round One | 0 comments

Egg Retrieval Day

MAY 6, 2013 Luckily, hubby was able to take a day off from work, as he had to anyway to make a “deposit”.  I wouldn’t have been able to drive anyway, still beat up from the Lupron shot.  I took a few sips of hub’s Peet’s coffee, which miraculously cleared up my head and I was finally able to open my eyes and form a thought once again.  Too bad I need to stay away from caffeine, otherwise I would’ve had some the day before too. The clinic was quiet and surprisingly empty that morning.  I was called in within...

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Lupron Kicked My Ass

Posted on May 5, 2013 in Round One | 0 comments

Lupron Kicked My Ass

MAY 5, 2013 It wasn’t very pleasant, the aftermath of the trigger shot.  With HCG, I didn’t feel any different.  With Lupron, I was out, literally.  I couldn’t open my eyes, and my body felt probably what dead weight would feel like if you were alive to feel it.  My head was pounding, my heart was flipping with palpitations, and at times, I was short of breath.  Oh and there were waves of nausea and overall general  malaise.  It lasted an entire day and night and into the morning of ER.  Tylenol did squat.  Hope I...

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CD 10 Follicle Check

Posted on May 2, 2013 in Round One | 0 comments

CD 10 Follicle Check

MAY 2, 2013 Today’s follie check went quickly.  Maybe ‘cause I made sure one of the receptionists saw me.  That helped a lot.  In fact, I was in and out in little over half an hour.  Boy was it busy when I left.  It was loud and seemed chaotic but it was organized chaos, I’m sure.  The staff kept everyone in check.  There was no meeting with a PN today, so reception told me one of them would call later with instructions on what to do next. Sure enough, I got a call but missed it again, so was sent an email.  One last dose of Clomid tonight,...

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Starting Clomid

Posted on Apr 30, 2013 in Round One | 0 comments

Starting Clomid

APRIL 30, 2013 It is customary for the Progress Nurses to call all the monitoring patients of that day and advise each of their next step.  I received a call late afternoon from one of the PN’s and was told the doc wanted me to start 25mg of Clomid that night.  I instantly thought it was because my ovaries needed a boost, but the nurse instead told me it was because I had an 11mm that needed to slow down.  Wha-?  Well, I didn’t question it since that’s what the doc wanted, so she looked up the nearest pharmacy by my home and...

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CD 7 Follicle Check

Posted on Apr 29, 2013 in Round One | 0 comments

CD 7 Follicle Check

APRIL 29, 2013 Apparently they forgot about me in the waiting room.  I checked in on the touchscreen thingy at the front desk and took a seat in the front room where all the other monitoring patients hang out.  The other bigger waiting room is where you wait to see the doctor, I take it.  Or I guess it doesn’t really matter.  There’s just more to do in the bigger waiting room – more mags, desktop computers, a big screen TV.  Oh, did I mention the free wi-fi?  Awesome. My other doctors didn’t have any of that. I...

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CD 3 Follicle Check

Posted on Apr 25, 2013 in Round One | 0 comments

CD 3 Follicle Check

APRIL 25, 2013 Irvine is quite a drive for me.  I live close to Pasadena/Monrovia, so gas money is a pain, but I’m not complaining.  I know there are people who come from out of state for treatment here.  So far, I would say the time and money spent here is worth it.  Stacey is always pleasant and will answer any stupid question I have for her, always with a smile and a courtesy rarely seen amongst the professional setting nowadays.  She must have a super high tolerance level to be dealing with so many people who don’t speak the English...

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Oh Whoa, Aunt Flo

Posted on Apr 23, 2013 in Round One | 0 comments

Oh Whoa, Aunt Flo

APRIL 23, 2013 This morning it came.  The dreaded AF.  Here we go, we’re really doing it for real now.  For reals!  But this time it doesn’t seem like such the big commitment that it felt like when I almost went ahead with a conventional IVF.  It’s not so much the finances since we’re still breaking bank here.  It’s now less complicated, less medical, less daunting and that’s solely because it lacks the drugs.  Yep, no BCP’s, no gut injections, no anesthesia during ER.  This one will be a breeze. When...

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New Patient Consult

Posted on Apr 15, 2013 in Round One | 0 comments

New Patient Consult

APRIL 15, 2013 Here we go again.  Consults with doctors always amuse me.  I get distracted by what they display in their office and hardly listen to anything they have to say.  I’ve heard it all before anyway.  It does sound like I have a nasty attitude about the whole thing, but I don’t really.  I just entertain myself this way.  Because rarely is there a physician who has impressed me.  They don’t bother to learn squat about my history before advising me of their game plan or why their past game plans haven’t worked.  They tell me I’ve had...

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