The importance of strength and resilience

I started hormone injections for fertility treatment this week.

As a type 1 diabetic, I already have 4 injections a day (More with yummy snacks). On Monday, I ended up having 7 injections! It started with the Bemfola hormone and my regular insulin at breakfast, followed with an injection for a yummy chocolate snack, lunch injection, afternoon snack injection, dinner injection and night time insulin injection….yikes.

I’m okay with needles because I have to be. If I don’t have them, I’ll die. So I wasn’t nervous about injecting the hormones. It’s certainly a longer needle though- 12mm. I don’t think that 7 injections a day is healthy though, emotionally or physically, so after that Monday surviving a challenging day at work I told myself I’d cut out the in-between snacks.

On Wednesday morning, I woke up with some pain in my upper stomach and I thought ‘well, it’s really happening now. This must be my ovaries.’ In the shower I then noticed some bruising, ‘shit!’ Luckily before I started to panic, a vague memory came back to me of leaning over the front fence last night. It all came back to me! I had jumped up to lean my body over the fence to get a look at the front of a real estate sign that was put up when I was at work, blocking my view. My ovaries weren’t in pain or bruised. My stupidity was bruising.

On Thursday, I started a further injection (Orgalutran) to halt the ovulation process and continue to develop the eggs. Now 6 injections a day, without snacks.

I’ve got another week to go. But it’s just a week. Throughout my 8 years as a diabetic, I would have loved some time off from injections. We often find strength that we didn’t even know we have. We have to.

To celebrate getting through all of my injections as a diabetic that I have no choice over, I’ve got two tattoos that were in my control.

The first tattoo I got is of a little starfish. A starfish symbolises resilience, surviving tough and timultuous times, like the sea, and of regeneration. If a starfish looses a leg, it grows another one! As a diabetic, we have to be resilient and although our bodies heal slower than normal, after injecting into our stomaches and finger pricking to test our blood, we do heal. I keep injecting and I keep healing. Like a little starfish, I will keep rejuvenating.

My second tattoo is of a wolf for strength. This one was after a period of bad test results and I was struggling to stay motivated to work hard and keep my blood sugar at the right level. Diabetics don’t actually heal the same when blood sugar levels are over 10mmol so I told myself that if I could get it under this and more in control, I could get another tattoo. It ended up cooinciding with my 7 year anniversary and I celebrated having administered approx 10,000 injections! This tattoo is on my leg, and whilst I cried for a full day with regret afterwards, it’s there to remind me that I can be strong.

Fishing for information

I currently work as a Primary Teacher but my previous career was in Recruitment and Human Resources so I can talk to anyone, about anything! However it’s not a good sign when I hold up the conversation from both ends during a date. Maybe I over talk because of nerves. I think it’s also an indication that my date isn’t that into me. It’s certainly telling when they don’t ask me as many questions or can’t be bothered asking me anything!

I recently met a man for a date in the park walking our dogs and conversation flowed as we got to know each other. However I realised I was doing it again. I was asking all the questions. Telling him things without being asked.

We were talking about street art and making connections, I offered up that I have two tattoos. Let’s think about the art of conversation….he might ask….

Where are they?

What are they of?

Why did you get them?

But instead….. nothing!

The date continued on and we had a few beers but afterwards, I didn’t hear from him again. So to me, who is asking the questions is important.

A lot of online dating and apps now don’t have forms that you have to complete with information to join. The disadvantage with that is that it leaves all the questions to when you match with them!

However the apps that only match you based on questions don’t necessarily find people that you’re attracted to.

Common questioning is

Where do you live?

How long have you been single?

What are you looking for?

Do you want to come to my place or I can come to yours? (Stranger danger)

I’ve also been asked

Do you live alone? (Creepy!)

I just joined Plenty of Fish, POF (again) to see if I would get more conversations and dates than Bumble. POF doesn’t have a location filter but the age range can be applied as well as a lot of fields-

  • Height
  • Body type
  • Wants kids, has kids, does not
  • Ethnicity
  • Job title
  • Income range
  • Religion
  • Intent (casual, dating, relationship, marriage),
  • Education level
  • Smoking status
  • Drinking habits
  • Personality type
  • Star sign
  • Eye colour
  • Pets
  • Language
  • Longest relationship
  • Ambitious-ness

It also shows ‘about me’ and ‘conversation starters’ that they’ve come up with.

I think that soooo much information is supplied, it’s almost harder to start a conversation as you’d look a bit stupid if you ask a getting-to-know-you question about info that’s already been supplied. So does it overcome the basic small talk for status info that Bumble and Tinder takes hours to determine they are the wrong type of fish, or does it create a different problem for conversations? Hopefully it does alleviate the small talk and can fast track to the important stuff.

It tells me that in under 24 hours that 160 guys are interested in me! None have sent me a message to say hi or ask a question 🤔😫😭

With all these info fields available, these 99+ guys are just using the Russian Roulette type swiping feature. Come on guys, put in some effort to getting to know us. We are worth it!

How to catch a fish

“Success is when preparation meets opportunity” (Nick Cummins, The Bachelor Australia)

The times they are a changing. Gone are the days you were guaranteed to meet someone out on the dance floor and if over 30, there’s no more single friends to introduce! So we resort to online dating and trying to get matches. Most sites are random. You throw in your fishing hook in a designated pool/area and decide whether each one you (swipe right) try to pull up or (left) let off the hook. Then you try to strike up a conversation. Hopefully make a date. See if you get along for a second date. But that fishing line can get snagged and snap at many stages.

One of Matthew Hussey’s strategies is to ask a man (in real life) to take a photo of you to break the ice and make contact. But what if you can’t see a man you want to approach? I figure that is probably still better than seeing someone you like but not knowing how to approach them. I have probably let many opportunities pass me by over the years! I’m working on being prepared.

So what are some of the options for online dating in Melbourne?

  • Bumble
  • Tinder
  • POF (Plenty of Fish)
  • Ok Cupid
  • RSVP
  • eHarmony

I’m using Bumble at the moment. The success rate seems to be about 1 in 5 matches with 50% response rate.

For example, if 100 men liked me, I would then find 20 are a mutual match. If I contacted all of them, I would get a reply from 10. From that, at the moment, I’d be lucky to get 1 date.

What are the best days to fish?

I’ve had the most responses on Wednesdays and Thursdays as well as Sundays. There seems to have been a big increase of the amount of guys online since the Bachelor Australia started 2 weeks ago! (Screening Wednesdays and Thursdays but it could be a coincidence).

When you are talking online, you need to have some talking points in mind. The most responses I have received have been after saying Hi and asking them a question about something in their profile or pictures.

I got 0 replies with these lines

Hey there 😁

2 truths & a lie…. ready, set, go!

These got 1-2 responses

There’s a lot of pressure making the first move, be nice to me 🤣

What’s one destination you haven’t been to yet or that you must go to before you die?

Almost Friday, can you describe your weekend ahead in 3 emojis?

Friday nights I get less matches but it seems easier to start a conversation ….they just don’t really go anywhere. I think Friday & Saturday chats are for quick hook ups. I got 3 replies with just ‘Happy Friday 👌’

I’d really rather talk to single people in person. I heard somewhere that if you read a magazine backwards in public, it’s meant to mean you are available! Some other countries have small gestures to show whether they are available. In Samoa, if you have a flower over the left ear you are taken, right side you are available. In Ireland, if you wear a Claddagh ring on your left hand and you turn the ring pointing away from you, this indicates you are looking for love. India has different coloured bindis where single or widowed women wear black or white bindis, with red signalling married.

Apart from traffic light parties at University, what could we start in Australia?

If you have one of these customs in another country, do they work as signals?

What online chats have worked for you?

Counting seashells

“AUSTRALIAS birthrate has fallen so dramatically that experts have called for the introduction of fertility education in high schools” (Daily Telegraph) Many women don’t realise that fertility declines after 31.

Educating high school students on fertility is not the answer! Equal employment opportunities, positive relationships, affordable housing, and mental health support would be a good start. Instead divorce rates are high, mortgages are scary or unattainable, and guys don’t seem to want serious relationships.

In many parts of the world, girls don’t get a choice what happens to their body. I’ve now signed two consent forms that allow me to undergo an optional procedure to my body. It’s called social egg freezing as I have chosen not to wait for a man and I understand that my fertility is declining.

The pelvic ultrasound I had was successful (and as discreet as possible), showing that my ovaries are producing approx 10 eggs and my womb looks healthy if I was to go on to fertilise an egg. Dr Knight explained that with some strong hormone drugs I can increase my chances developing a few more than 10.

I met with a nurse for an hour to understand the full process from day 1 of my cycle, to day 14. The most overwhelming part was wrapping my head around the appointments required!

I also met with a representative from finance….The costs are adding up. If I lived in the sea, I’d be desperately grappling at things to trade or have to start counting my seashells as currency. To commence this process, I need to pay $5,540 on day 1 and between $1,500-$3,000 for the medication day 1-3. The total costs will be almost $11,000.

 

With ‘normal’ life challenging enough, I have moments I feel like dropping the whole thing and backing out.

What am I doing to my body?

Do I really want to spend that much money?

What if all of this is for nothing?

However I have to remember to ground myself and my thoughts from spiralling out of control. I don’t want to look back when I’m 40+ and have regrets that I didn’t give myself every opportunity to have a healthy baby.

So far, no one has made me feel uncomfortable or awkward about not having a partner. Yes there’s couples in the waiting rooms, and sections for partners to complete in the forms, but the nurses and specialists have not asked me any questions about past, present or future partners that made me feel inadequate. It’s actually very empowering! I hope that if any of you are interested in going through this, you can feel the same taking control of your body.

 

Types of fish

OK, so we all know that if we kept fishing day in and day out we would eventually hook a fish. You might have also seen that there are still plenty of fish in the dating pool. HOWEVER, you might not catch the one that you like…

Puffer fish– they blow up all the time! Quite negative- road rages, hates slow drivers, also many TV shows and songs. They like to make out that others are really stupid.

Gold fish– they forget everything you’ve told them! They also don’t think to ask you many questions. They message you with one liners such as ‘good morning’ or ‘hey’.

Flake– you just can’t tie them down to commit. They are busy or late or like to live spontaneously (always taking the best offer), perhaps prioritising mates over dates.

Mudskipper– talking to so many girls at once. You may not hear from for a week but they will skip back to you… eventually, probably late on a Saturday night.

Common cod- the blokey type, loves footy all weekend. Watches it, plays it, replays it, has to check the footy fixture before making plans. Drinks, smokes and swears, usually has an Australia flag tattoo. Will pick sports bars over restaurants.

Blob fish– loves movies, TV, collectibles, Xbox and PlayStation games, but doesn’t like to go out much.

Flathead grey mullet- doesn’t really understand what you’re talking about. Texts ‘huh?’ Or ‘what you mean?’ Needs things explaining. May be a tradie (trying not to stereotype) or not word smart. You need to meet these ones in person!

Mahi Mahi – international men that have only lived in Australia for a few years. English is their second or third language so some messages are a bit strange. They don’t have a lot of friends so message a lot. Some think us Aussie women are too feminist these days (independent).

Guppy- flashes their money or brags about their job, bonuses or overtime rates. Looks neater than you, very well dressed. Puts neatness or hygiene in their profile as a priority.

Catfish– never meets up so could be anyone! They may have a partner and just be online for fun or out of boredom but has no intention to act on anything.

Clownfish– loves Dad jokes or anything to have a good laugh. May enjoy humorous British TV shows or Seinfeld. Can recite one liners from most comedies. Good for banter but doesn’t usually develop further.

You might accidentally hook –

Octopus– they will tell you want they want to do to you before you’ve even asked or responded to the first sexual detail. Can be very handsy and may try it on in the middle of the day.

Squid– can’t look you in the eye, very nervous, trying not to ink themselves.

Penguin– not over their ex I’m afraid. They often can’t perform, holding on to baggage, still trying to talk things through or separate belongings with their ex, too attached to the past. May also still be attached to parents or living at home, can’t look after themselves.

I’m looking, looking, looking and trying to hook:

Endlers Livebearer these fish are adaptable, placid but vibrant, colourful, and popular in aquariums as good in a community.

Salmon– they’ll do the chasing as they know what they want. Active and adventurous- why else would they swim upstream? Often motivated and career driven or community minded to make a difference. Everyone loves a good salmon.

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To any men that are reading this- what type of fish would you be if you were a fish?

Ladies, what other fish have you hooked?

The need for a partner is changing

For some species, the involvement of males in the reproductive process is entirely optional. While the males may exist, they are not essential to reproduction. Lots of animals can reproduce without male involvement, from the smallest insects to the biggest reptiles. Asexual reproduction comes in many forms too, from basic cell reproduction to complex cloning cycles.

The life cycle of this little starfish is looking bright. I don’t have a partner but I would still like the option of having a baby one day. I met with Dr Rachael Knight about my fertility options. After waiting in the reception area at Melbourne IVF, I ascended the steep stairs and she met me at the top of the stairs with a welcoming smile and a positive approach to an exciting step in my life. She was a breath of fresh air.

I’ve previously heard:

“Have you tried internet dating?” (Duh!)

“37 years and 6 months… don’t get your hopes up”

“Are you dating anyone at the moment? (No) Well, you don’t have long.”

“Awww (to another friend), this is the last baby our group of friends will have”

The blood test results that I had done were in from my doctor and Dr Knight politely and professionally explained that they were good, as she expected. I have the average amount of eggs for someone my age, not too low and not high. It would be less than someone younger but she explained that between 33 and 39 years old is a good time to look at egg freezing.

There’s quite a few steps involved to start this process. It’s important to get an AHM test from your GP. Dr Knight then referred me for another blood test that looks for any serious genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis. You can choose which ones you test for (which is incredible) but seeing as I may end up considering whether to raise my baby alone, and already have a complex disease with Type 1 diabetes, I said “test them all!” This is approx $400.

Following this blood test, I’ll have an ultrasound. Not just any ultrasound though, the brochure says a virginal ultrasound (gulp) “to measure the endometrial thickness, size and number of follicles in both ovaries” (Pathway of care, Melbourne IVF). Then meeting with a nurse, we will establish counselling and the costs involved with the intent to commence hormone injections in a months time!

Before leaving the appointment, Dr Knight advised me that starting to fall pregnant naturally at this time would be the preference. Egg freezing has only a 50 % success rate. We will aim for 10-20 eggs as they individually only have a 5% chance of fertilisation. They have sperm donors if I was interested in that process. She suggested I might also like to consider getting pregnant at 39 and keeping the eggs frozen for a second baby when I’m then over 40.

I hope that one day I do find an amazing partner. For those of you unsure how it’s going to work out for you, just keep swimming! There’s plenty of fish in the sea and many options available today. Work out what is going to make you happy, and go for it.

Stumbling around in the waves

There was a strong wind today, causing the sea to lurch and sway with big foamy waves that tried to grab at my shoes as I walked along. Literally and metaphorically, the sea churned. It just wasn’t my day.

After walking along the beach this morning, a potential ‘great man’, stopped at the traffic lights ahead of me and took off his earphones, making himself available for conversation but I was so focused on making sure my dog was going to be friendly to his tiny, delicate whippet that conversation starters left my brain. As he moved the headphones back on and walked in the opposite direction, probably never to be seen again, great lines came to me!

“Good ear protection from the wind”

“Cute dog, what’s her name?”

“Hi, what’s your name and do you have a girlfriend?!”

What’s clear is that I need to practice the art of conversation. Matthew Hussey, dating coach, and his new show ‘Single Wives’ had them try three opening lines to approach men on the street. It seemed super scary but once they had done it, so simple! One was simply asking if they could recommend anywhere good for lunch. I have to stop hesitating or being nervous and just ‘Hi’! I’d much rather have real life experiences than online dating.

Later on, after surviving the crowds in the city to meet friends, I managed to inject the needle of my insulin pen into my finger as I went to inject into my Type 1 diabetic stomach on the train.

Got my foot trapped in the security door as it slammed closed on me at my friend’s apartment.

Missed my bus.

Smashed my phone!

It wasn’t just an awkward fumble that caused the phone to leap out of my hands, or lurch like the sea. My friend had been talking to me about fertility treatment and she warned me to be prepared ahead of my first consultation. She had ‘only taken folic acid tablets for 6 weeks’ and recommended I start straight away. My kind friend helped me out with her left over bottle of tablets as I left her place. I was already feeling like I should have stayed in bed for the day. As I walked to the bus stop with a huge bottle of tablets, the label screamed out at me “Pregnancy and Breast Feeding GOLD”. Not
mentally or physically prepared for this announcement to be made in my head or anyone else’s, I hurriedly tried to push the bottle into my tiny, black (Single and ready to mingle, no baggage here) bag and attempted to close the zipper. Imagine if a potential ‘great man’ looked in my direction and saw it. Things had to go to make room so in I went with my designated search claw and out came the phone.

And if one search claw proves inadequate...you may need the second.

Rationally, I could protect the phone in my hands. It was surely a good choice. But as the wind whipped around me and my barely there cardigan, freezing at the bus stop, my hands failed in their only job and lost grip on the phone. Down it went, onto the concrete floor. Cool as a cucumber, nothing to see here, I quickly picked it up and maneuvered it into my back pocket until the bus came.

Once I had taken a seat, it was time to inspect the damage. Yep, the top half was completely smashed. Although it still worked, it was a sign that it was time to just go back to bed for the rest of the day! The wind and the sea won today.  Sometimes it lifts me up, sometimes it sends me (and my phone) crashing down.

 

Do ghosts exist? Ghost fish, ghosting and dating ratings

My Dad grew up in a spooky old house in England and believes in ghosts so much so that Mum wouldn’t let him tell us kids the tales in case we had nightmares. What she doesn’t know is that I’ve actually met a number of ghosts in my life. These ones aren’t the scary variety though, they are the very alive and well, male variety that just disappears and never texts or calls you back ever again, ghosting. I used to say they must have fallen off a cliff. Maybe even then I was thinking of the sea.

There was an “incredibly rare” sighting of a ghost fish in 2016! Ghost fish sighted Unfortunately when trying to hook a fish from the dating pool, ghost fish are not rare.

My first ghost was a guy that I had met about three times and we hit it off straight away. We met at a bar (in real life!) danced, drank, talked, and he text me back over a number of days, but then started to get a bit vague about his work in the Army. However we met up again and everything was great. Then it happened…. he didn’t text me back. I was young and niave, he didn’t even text back to the angry taunts. I just couldn’t understand what had happened. He literally disappeared! In time, I assumed he probably had a girlfriend and had never told me the truth. This was army ghost.

Three years later, army ghost turned up again! He was submarining.

Most recently, I met a fishing enthusiast ghost! We hit it off online and without any drama arranged to meet on a Thursday night at a local bar and had a great date for about an hour and a half. He said goodbye saying he had a good time and agreed we should meet up again. As he hadn’t eluded to any need to progress things quickly I simply gave him a hug and a peck on the cheek. Later, I messaged him my number. Strangely though, he messaged back online not through text and then told me he had a lot on this weekend with his brothers 30th.

It was the busiest time of his life.

Oh….that’s never a good sign. Sure enough I didn’t hear from him on my mobile number. A couple of messages went back and forth online with him still busy. Our last contact I tried to call him out. Simply put, “I don’t think you’ve been very truthful with me”. He disappeared forever without reply, possibly haunting other girls. I’ll never know.

But aren’t ghosts meant to hang around? I think a more accurate description is ‘disintegrating’. Rather than being in to you, they are dis-in to you. They are the opposite of being able to integrate into your life. And like a bad vampire movie, when they have to come into the sunlight they turn to ash and the ashes just float away on the wind.IMG_3039

Every guy I meet that I’m not into, don’t think it will work, or have something that’s come up, I speak openly and honestly.

“Nice to meet you but I don’t think there is a spark.” Or, “This isn’t what I’m looking for, all the best.”

Ghosting is such a cop out but they get away with poor communication and disrespect as there is no consequences. If I knew how to create a dating app, I would design it similar to Uber. You get a rating based on your treatment and journey with each other. Boy oh boy, the reviews would be an interesting read!

Greg ⭐️ smoked non stop

Kevin ⭐️ no eye contact

Luke ⭐️⭐️ clearly not over their ex

Mike 💩 tried to seduce me at 10:30am!

Matt 💩 is also talking online to my best friend

Dave ⭐️ turned up sweaty in his running gear after I had styled my hair so it would still look great in the winds at the beach!

All men 💩that couldn’t be bothered telling me he wasn’t that into me. Ghosted!

Let these relationships disintegrate.

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The little starfish ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 star rating

Measuring the fish in the dating pool

We all know that fishermen need to measure the size of the fish they catch to decide whether they eat it or throw it back in. Over fishing and killing the smaller fish could be disastrous for the ocean. Some of them use a measuring instrument and others perhaps just a visual or gut instinct. We all size up the fish in the dating pool too. Men want banter, flanter, naked pics, sex talk, but no smart asses! Ladies may want the same but we are also sizing up trustworthiness, reliability, stability, and potential match. Continue reading

Dating excuses- how quickly the tide turns

seawaves on sands

Photo by Pok Rie on Pexels.com

The tide of the ocean can seem to turn quickly at times. You may be walking along on a wide stretch of sturdy sand, feeling like you are walking straight ahead with a clear direction and the knowledge that one foot will follow the other at a repetitive and comfortable pace. Suddenly a big wave comes up to change the shoreline and chases you sideways while you desperately try to keep your shoes dry. You end up sidestepping or hop along with one wet shoe, having to scurry up the beach a bit more and jump over the seaweed or rotting jellyfish lying abandoned from an earlier tide. The wave may be so big it stops you from continuing and forces you to take a new path, moving off the beach altogether. Continue reading