My LAT is 0%. What does that mean?

Being diagnosed with repro-immune disorder (mostly generalized by the public and even doctors themselves, as APAS) can be very overwhelming. I remember the time when I received this prognosis after my second miscarriage – it was devastating and confusing.

“Your LAT may be low. You have a clotting disorder. Your immune system is attacking your baby.”

This was four years ago. And all these terminologies did not make any sense.

I actually slid into a depression stage after I knew that I was a candidate for APAS. Here you are wanting a baby and your own body is rejecting the child inside your tummy.

May mas sasaklap pa ba, dun?

I grappled for answers to this seemingly bleak condition. Back then, there were very limited resources about this disorder and I was fortunate that I found our Facebook support group where I drew my strength and inspiration from.

As years have passed, our numbers have been growing and the thought that more and more people are being diagnosed with this disorder has been disconcerting.  Almost every week, I receive a message through my blog’s Facebook page>> about yearning women wanting to be mothers but who are burdened by this condition. My heart bleeds.

While it is not favorable that the traffic I have been getting is mostly about infertility (this thought is too heavy on my heart) and repro-immuno disorders, I hope that somehow, this little corner of mine brings a little hope to all APAS survivors because let me tell you this —

APAS and other repro-immune categories can be overcome.

There are many successful stories in our APAS Facebook page which will warm your heart. I am a living proof that with the proper treatment and gazillion prayers, you will hold a little darling in your arms.

Me and my Santiago, fourteen months ago.

But first, let us start with some education for the benefit of those who are new to this whole repro-immune thing.

There are many patients who are initially diagnosed by their OBs with APAS but to know the depth of your immune problem, it is best to consult an immunologist who specializes in this area. APAS is, in fact, just one of the five categories and they usually come in tandem. In my case, I was Category 1, 2 and 5. To know more about the other categories, click here>> .

Today, I will talk about the tests for Category 1.

In a (supposedly) healthy pregnancy, your immune system should be able to detect paternal cells so that your body will create protective antibodies around the fetus. If your body will not detect these antibodies, it usually results to a miscarriage. Most of those who are diagnosed with Category 1 would have 0% of these antibodies.

There are two tests that doctors would ask to test Category 1. One is tissue crossmatch and the other one is LAT or Leukocyte Antibody Test.

I actually did both. Tissue crossmatch was more affordable than LAT but I prefer LAT more because it gives you actual values in percentages while the crossmatch would just give you a positive and negative result. This is what my crossmatch looked like back in 2014. The NEGATIVE results meant that I was not producing the needed antibodies for the pregnancy to progress. 🙁

Tissue Crossmatch

On the other hand, this is what my LAT looked like when I had my second test:

LAT

The most ideal pre-conception condition is your LAT showing at least 51% or higher for higher chances of baby to survive. Other immunologists are much stricter, requiring a 100% reaction before giving go signal to conceive.

So, how does one get to that?

Your doctor would usually order LIT or lymphocyte immunotherapy. Read about this here and here.  Once your antibodies go up, you would be given signal by your immunologist to see your OB so you can start conceiving.

Hope this helped you today, soon-to-be-momma! Sending you babydust and prayers.

xoxo,

I have a new vice and I am sorry…

I have something to confess.

I haven’t been passionate about anything lately. Not my writing – although it has somehow sparked some new fire especially since I have been getting some pats on the back from some people who were “inspired” by this blog. I haven’t read a book in a while. That seemed impossible with a toddler who will surely fill up every waking time (not complaining though). The short stint in calligraphy lessons bored me.

Somehow, my inner “creative” self was hungry for something to be occupied with aside from the daily grind of life.

Then, the universe conspired.

Someone introduced me to something that is now keeping me awake at night and even haunting me in my dreams. Haha!

I am talking about my new vice…

*fidgets*

It is pretty messed up, I know, but I am so in love with this new thing in my life, and I cannot stop talking, thinking and researching about it. When I talk about my new addiction to the husband and to some of my friends, I feel like I sound like a cult member. Like nothing is ever wrong with it. 

I know that sounds crazy, but tell you what, I don’t care because this gives me the high that I have not had for a long time.

So what is this new vice of mine?

Hmmm…

Oh dear! I got into this whole essential oil craze.

 

Yup, I am going full gung-ho on being an #oilbularyo and starting to go natural for my growing family’s health and wellness.

You see, alternative medicine is not something new to me. I grew up in a really small town (smallest in Negros Occidental if I am not mistaken) – it was more of a barrio than a town actually.

When I was younger, our fevers were treated with plants like kasla, our burns with aloe vera, our wounds with malunggay extract or guava leaves. We didn’t go immediately to the doctor for simple fevers, we went to our ol’ reliable manghihilot and they fix us.

Did it work?

I suppose so. I am alive, am I not? Hehe.

Don’t get me wrong. My parents were not pabaya or what-not. We were also complete with our immunizations and all that shiz but for these minor illnesses, we weren’t rushed to the hospital. That was not uso where we used to live.

So exploring alternative medicine was not really a problem for me. But how did I get started on EOs? How did my #oilbularyo journey start?

Young Living Essential Oils

Well… this is funny. I was looking for some solution for my Eggy’s snoring. I feel that his labored breathing is already affecting his sleep (he has a broken nasal bone on one side of his nose) because the snores are already very throaty and he would sometimes wake up from his own orchestra (lol).

That was the main reason. Haha. I didn’t want to buy a CPAP machine (we were already considering this) because it seemed so constricting and it was expensive. I just felt that it was not really good value for money.

But his snores weren’t getting any better.

We were already toying around with the idea of getting a CPAP machine when I kept on seeing posts from at least three friends from my Facebook newsfeed about how they are shifting to a more natural lifestyle and promoting health and wellness of their family through essential oils.

One friend claimed that it was helping her family battle allergic rhinitis while the other one just talked about having a good night sleep (and less snoring!)

I inquired from my friend, K, and I was introduced to this whole new world of essential oils. While there are no approved therapeutic claims, reading the testimonies from many people who use it was just overwhelming. 

I then started reading about how aromatherapy can promote good sleep and how you can shift your common household staples with all-natural products and getting rid of all the chemicals. This ranges from face serums to bug sprays to diaper creams. Ha! The list continues.

So after three long months, I decided I would invest in a Young Living Premium Starter Kit. It was not cheap, admittedly yes, but my cost-benefit analysis was pointing its green flags on me.

My new addiction - essential oils

Now, three weeks after, I have never regretted my decision because Eggy sleeps well and Santi sleeps better. The best thing is for me, of course, since there is no more Santi who wakes up in the middle of the night because of his dada’s snores. Lol.

To this day, I just can’t stop. We diffuse with our favorite Lav + Frank combo every night for better sleep. Eggy rolls on his breathe protocol [RC & Thieves or RC & Valor on the bottoms of his feet] and Santi and I our sleep protocol [Lavender on the bottoms of our feet]. Everybody happy.

Breathe and Sleep Blend

I am just at Square 1 of my essential oils journey and I cannot wait to blend, blend, blend and share this amazing experience. 

Hit me up if you want to learn more about YL’s essential oils. I can add you up to our group so you can see the many great testimonies of different people who have been touched by the wonders of this ancient form of healing. If you are looking for a natural way to support your family’s health and wellness, who knows, this can work for you, too!

By the way, momma, I am just sharing this new addiction of mine. It took me three long months before I decided to purchase my starter kit because, truth be told, it comes with a not-so-cheap price tag. Please do your research as well so you can take that next best step for your family. In my case, when I was doing my own, I loved that Young Living has been there for quite some time and the community in the Philippines receives great support (that is also one of the most important things for me). This product is not intended to diagnose or cure any disease. Please do your own research and see for yourself. It took me a lot to dive into this but I am happy I did. Hit me up if you have any questions. 🙂 

 

I Dread Being Pregnant… (and no, it’s not because of APAS)

It was never that popular until Kate Middleton talked about it when she was first pregnant (and now, another round of news highlight it again) but many women around the world silently suffer from this excruciating ordeal of Hyperemesis Gravidarum.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum or HG is a condition characterized by severe nauseavomiting, weight loss, and electrolyte disturbance. Mild cases are treated with dietary changes, rest, and antacids. More severe cases often require a stay in the hospital so that the mother can receive fluid and nutrition through an intravenous line (IV). Source: American Pregnancy Association

There are so many misconceptions about HG and noone really openly talks about it (just like APAS and other repro-immuno disorders). Truth is, my mom had it when she was pregnant with me and my sisters, and my friend’s mom also suffered from extreme vomiting way back in the 80s. It is often just coined as “paglilihi” – just your “normal” morning sickness. But seriously, there is nothing normal about HG until you experience it.

My pregnancy with Santi was already difficult because of my repro-immune disorders. I was positive for 3 out of 5 categories and APAS was one of them. Because of this, I was on monthly IV for different intravenous procedures to counter my overactive killer cells. I also injected myself with heparin twice a day (on my tummy) and had to drink an unimaginable number of pills. My ordeal was even made worse because I also had to suffer from HG.

I have said this once, and I will say it again, I will take APAS over HG any time of the day.

Suffering from HG is unbearable. I vomited all throughout the day. Imagine your worst hangover, on effin replay, day in and day out. With no medicine. Mapapamura and maiiyak ka talaga! There was even a time when I passed out because I was vomiting so much. I hit my head on the floor and husband had to rush me to the hospital where I was admitted for dehydration.

It was constant hunger and thirst every single day. I often feared for the health of my baby because I hated water the most. What if my amniotic fluid became too low? What kind of nutrients was my baby getting since I am barfing them all?!

My doctor gave me Plasil and Ranitidine but I also didn’t want to take them all the time because I felt that I was already ingesting too many medication.

Worst part of it all is that noone really understands. Of course, people around you mean well when they say, “Kain or inom kalang ng paonti-onti.”  You wish you can. But it is nearly impossible. I tried. And I kept on going back to the toilet 80% of the time.

So what can you do?

Nothing really. In other countries where HG is commonly diagnosed, they offer medications like Zofran (much more stronger than Plasil). However, with all the drugs I was taking, I know that I would have not been comfortable adding another one to the list.

I wish I have an answer to you, HG mom. But I really don’t. I just want you to know that I know how you feel. In my case, I only follow what they say that take it one day at a time. 

Rest if you need to rest. And of course, pray. That is the only ammo we have, especially for complicated pregnancies like ours.

Virtual hugs to you! Send me a message anytime if you need someone to talk to. That’s the most I can do.

xx,