Memories made, memories loved in France

We are now in Normandy, France. We have had a few days of pure adventure, remembrance of history, and enjoying the local fare and drink.

After a quick jaunt up the Eiffel tower on Monday, we set out by train to Normandy. Our plan was to pick up our car in Caen, about an hour away from our vacation home in Normandy. Of course, little did we know that our plans would soon be thwarted. After arriving at the train station, we quickly found our car rental company. We were exhausted after our early morning jaunt from London to Paris, climbing on foot to the 1st and 2nd floors of the Eiffel Tower, and manuevering the subway system to make our way out to train station. We couldn’t wait to jump in our car and spend a relaxing evening in the French countryside.

Well, turns out that Monday was a French holiday and to make a long story short – there was NO way we were going to get our car that evening. No matter how many phone calls we made, no matter how much time we spent working towards it. A holiday is a holiday. It didn’t matter that the car was already paid for and that we had a scheduled pick up time on Monday. Go with it. We forfeited our paid night in our B&B in Normandy and settled in for the night in a little hotel outside the train station. We were pretty bummed, but felt fortunate that our problem was relatively insignifiant as compared to all the potential problematic probabilities. At 8 am the next morning, we were able to retrieve our car and set out for our planned D-Day tour with the infamous Brit tour guide, Ellwood.

Our D-Day tour was informative, emotionally charged, and powerful. I am really not even sure I can put into words the sense of awe and amazement we felt for the men who served so valiantly on that fateful day. While getting ready to eat lunch, we ran into a man from the 4th infantry division, who landed on Utah Beach on D-day. He was a 90 year old American Veteran who had come to France for the D-Day celebrations next week.  He has been given the honor of unveiling the memorial to Dick Winters (featured in Band of Brothers) next week at one of the museums. He invited us to sit with him for lunch. My husband and I fought to hold back tears as he described the events of that day to us. He was a tender, gentle man and we could hardly believe that he had experienced so much at such a young age.

Following our tour, we grabbed a delcious, butter ladened dinner and settled in for the night. This morning, we headed out to Mont Ste Michel. The glorious Abbey on a mountain of granite that juts out of the sea. It was a breathtaking climb to the top, but we were rewarded with glorious views of the French landscape in every direction and a fantastic audio guide led tour of the abbey itself.

We are loving France! Tomorrow we move on to the Loire Valley where the castle exploration will begin.









To Iceland, London, and beyond…

(Please continue to bear with me as this is the first time I have ever posted pictures using my iPad. Also, if anyone knows how to upload the edited version of your photos from iPhoto into WordPress, I would love if you could pass these helpful hints on to me. Thank you. I hope to get better as the trip goes on!)

We are having a lovely time on holiday.

We have done so much in the last two days. Currently, we are on board the Eurostar between London and France. With that comes an opportunity to catch up on my blog as there are no distractions. Nothing but blackness to view from the windows as I think about traveling beneath the waters of the English Channel. We are headed to Paris for the day, but then it will be off Normandy for a few days to tour the battlefields of the second world war as well as take in the glorious Mont St. Michel. We will be returning to Paris later in our trip.

So far we have braved the winds and cold of Iceland for the opportunity to rejuvenate in the mineral rich hot springs of the Blue Lagoon. We had a nine hour layover in Iceland before our scheduled London departure. Like most of those arriving in Rejkjavik, we opted for the tour out to the Blue lagoon. There appears to be a collaboration between the management of the Lagoon and Iceland Air as we were swiftly channeled towards our bus and into the Lagoon. The lagoon was a needed distraction from our exhaustion though it was quite spendy. I’m not sure we would do it again. Though soothing, the hot springs were mostly luke warm with the occasional burst of hot water. Until we planted ourselves at one of the sources for the hot water entering the springs, we found ourselves shivering in the icy blustery day around us. All in all, we are thankful for the experience and grateful that our 9 nine hours went quickly and we didn’t have to wait them out in the airport.
After a day in Iceland, we flew off to London arriving late in the evening. After checking into our hotel, we set off for a sampling of the local fare. Really, fish and chips? Ok, maybe next time. Instead, we found this wonderful Lebanese place a few blocks from our hotel in Paddington. It was AMAZING. We couldn’t get enough of it and gorged ourselves on homemade hummus, lentil and quinoa salads, lebanese sausage wraps, fresh yogurt and cucumber sauce and baklava. YUM! With full bellies and a warm bed beneath us, we sank deeply into slumber.
Yesterday, we woke up to a brilliant London day. They have been experiencing a heat wave and we were blessed to hit the tail end of it. We spent the whole day taking in the sights and sounds of London. From double decker buses, to the stories of the Tower of London to the waters of the Thames, we absorbed all that London could throw at us in a short time. We walked the streets, rode the buses, mastered the subways and relaxed on the river boats. Big Ben stood glorious in the sky, its plated clock glimmering Gold in the afternoon sun. The London eye moved continuously in the skyline busy with visitors anxious to take in the bustling city scape. The parks were filled with visitors and locals sprawling out on the green lawn enjoying picnics and time spent with family and friends. Starbucks was hopping as folks attempted to beat the heat and enjoy an ice cold beverage. Then it was on to Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parlament who remained quiet and distinguished with little to say as their heritage preceded them. Buckingham Palace was busy with the hustle and last minute preparations for the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations next weekend. Also, in the right time at the right place, we were able to watch the Queen’s horses with beautiful breastplates of Gold ride from the Royal Mews to Buckingham palace. It was breathtaking! We couldn’t believe our good fortune. Late in the evening, we even took a juant back to the famous Harrod’s department store to capture the essence of it lit up against the night sky. We finished the evening off with another late night stop at, yep, you guessed it, our little neighborhood Lebanese place. Another round of hummus was in order. : )
With that, I am signing off for a little shut eye before we hit the streets of Paris. Our sights are set on the Eiffel Tower and Nortre Dame for the afternoon. Hopefully, we can accomplish each of these before taking our train out to Caen where we will be picking up our rental car. Oh, the let the road tripping adventures begin.















Let the travels begin!

(First off, sorry this is one continuous paragraph.  My iPad is unwilling to acknowledge the return key at this time.)

I have spent a great deal of time away from my blog this week.  I have missed being able to catch up and read yours as well. I have been so blessed by this community of friends and supporters journeying and sharing their lives, stories, and care for one another. We have been busy preparing for our trip to France. Of which, I must mention that I am currently on the plane over the frozen tundras of northern Canada. I hope to post this as soon as we have wifi again.  We had a brief stop in Seattle where we caught our international flight to Reykjavik, Iceland. As my husband and I rode the train between terminals it was as if all of our burdens had been lifted from our hearts and forgotten back in Portland. It was instantaneous and wonderful. We feel so blessed to be able to do this trip to France with quick stops in Iceland and London.  Ideally, we would have LOVED to have had our first born by now and perhaps have another on the way. Instead, we have found our selves battling to maintain our sanity and self worth through the roller coaster of infertility.  Yet, there has been growth and opportunity during this season. Opportunity to rise above the pain and unmet expectations and grow as a couple in communication, shared memories, and adventures only possible without children.  I think a lot of the peace I am experiencing right now is the result of finally coming to terms with where we are at and where we are going.  Where we are at:  hard pressed with infertility with a new found diagnosis of endometriosis that explains so much. Where we are going:  IVF.  I am so grateful that the days of unexplained IF are behind me. So happy to know that in a week and a half, while on this trip, I will begin our IVF treatment protocol. (Just the BCPs – no big deal).  We know that the minute we fly back into Portland, the weight of infertility will be knocking on the doors of our hearts along with the enormous medication order waiting to be welcomed into our home.  As for now, and as long as I can, I am soaking up the love of my incredible husband at my side whilst resting in great expectations of what is to come. Not only on this grand adventure but the ever unfolding story and next chapter in our hopes to conceive. So, I must warn you that much of my blog will be documenting our traveling journeys over the next two weeks with little emphasis on IF.  This is our long awaited travel therapy and I couldn’t be happier with its timing in all of this First stop: Reykjavik, Iceland for a 9 hour layover of which we are taking FULL advantage of and heading to the Blue Lagoon!!  We are throwing caution to the wind and going to soak it up in the hot springs for a few hours. Last time I had the chance to enjoy some hot springs I sat on the side and just put my feet in or waded in just over my thighs for fear that it might destroy a potential pregnancy.  It was a bummer along with so many other things given up in hopes of trying to conceive.  Not this time though. This time we will immerse ourselves in the mineral rich milky blue waters and enjoy every minute of it.

Finding FAitH.

Finding faith.

Faith has not come so easily to me over the last few weeks.  I have felt abandoned by my God.  Where is he?  Does he have my best in mind?  How can bringing forth a child of our own NOT be a part of his plan for us?  Why does it have to be so hard?

Honestly, sometimes I am so thankful…maybe even ALWAYS thankful that we live in a time and age where our Science is so advanced that we infertile women can sometimes overcome our barrenness and have children of our own.  Of course, who gets credit for the brilliance of our Scientists?  God.  But nonetheless, why does it have to be like this?  I feel so sad for the countless women throughout history and in our present age who have had to live without the blessing of children.  I think about the repercussions in different cultures and at different points in time where barrenness was the curse of all curses.  Often, a life destined for loneliness.  So many women have walked through painful stories of their own, full of endless suffering and regret as you were despised and, for many, left by your husband whilst shunned by family and community.

Though the shame and emptiness is just as real today, we can put our faith in the hands of Science and hope for a different outcome.  Hope that our bodies will cooperate and respond to the treatment, bringing new life where only hollow grief was once found.

I want to believe God.  I want it to come easily.  I want to have FAITH to believe that the impossible is possible for us.  I want to put my hope in him and believe in his beautiful plan for our lives.  …but really, God, Science?  Is it really YOUR will for us to use Science to make our dream a reality?  Why?

…and what about the women who can’t afford to reach out to the miracles of Science and give their own barrenness a chance at deliverance?   This BREAKS my heart!   How can it be, God?  Won’t you come through for them?  If I was a millionaire, I would start a charity for just this purpose.  To bring life and hope into the lives of barren women.  I SO wish I could.  I can’t imagine a greater heartache, a deeper desire then that for a child.  It’s certainly biblical, as I have pointed out before.  (One of my all time favorite posts and an explanation for the deep sorrow we infertile people experience.)

Today, I am yet without answers.  I push onward, knowing that Jesus alone is the source of my faith.  Try as I may to dig it up within myself – I will fail.  But, if I can somehow just keep surrendering my plight and loneliness to him, he will reveal himself, for he is already working in the midst of my story.  Open my eyes that I may see.  Help me that I can help others find their own faith in you too.  For you are rich in mercy.  In you can be found perfect peace.  I want those things.  I want others to find those things.

Help us find faith.

To and Fro, Stop and Go….

Apparently that is how our world goes round.

We had a rough day.  Our RE finally sent us the research study on the benefits of doing a 3 month Lupron suppression in women with Endo and boy was it persuasive.  I spent most of the morning convincing myself that I could retake my place on the bench and sit out a few more months before pursuing IVF.  I listed the pros and cons, prayed a ton, asked God to give me wisdom, did oodles of self talk, and asked our doctor lots of questions via email.  By the end of the day, my anxiety level was approaching the *ALERT*  level.  It was just too much. I’m just not sure I can handle the 3-4 month wait.

So…I went back to the article and reexamined it.  Upon looking over the proposed mechanisms to explain why the women who underwent a 3 month Lupron suppression had higher pregnancy rates – once again, I found that we were back to the whole underlying immune issues.  A 3 month Lupron suppression suppresses the activity of the inflammatory cytokines in your body so that they are no longer “toxic” to an embryo.

Thinking about it more, and doing a little research, we are going to stick with plan A.  (Huge sigh of relief). We will definitely do our first IVF cycle this June.  We are going to bump up our Omega 3 DHA supplements, increase our vitamin D intake, as well as add a few other supplements that supposedly help reduce these dreadful cytokines.  Why not?  What do we have to lose?  Furthermore, we came across another study published in Reproductive Endocrinology and Biology last year that documented that Endometriosis does not reduce IVF success rates. Overall, I think we have a great shot.  I’m going to try to cling to hope.  At this point in the game it is so easy to side with failure and believe it is your only endpoint…but not this time.  This time we will have success!


3 month Lupron suppression, what?????

Today, we had our final appointment with the RE before we begin our IVF protocol in a few short weeks.  First off, we did our Doppler Ultrasound and Mock Embryo Transfer.  Both looked great.  YEAH!

Now, down to the nitty-gritty.

My questions regarding the immune system and its relationship with endometriosis were voiced and heard by Dr. H.  He believes further immunologic testing at this point is not necessary.  He also believes the approach that Dr. Beer uses in his book is a very alternative approach utilized for a very specific patient population of which he doesn’t believe I fit into.  Dr. Beer’s book is very compelling and argues a strong case for addressing immune related issues underlying many failed IVF procedures and miscarriages.  We don’t want to become one of those statistics, which is why we have been scouring his book.  Too much information is not always a good thing as it has definitely increased our worry about our upcoming IVF cycle.

Dr. H. encouraged us to broaden our sources.  Perhaps we could check out the chapter HE wrote on endometriosis in a surgical gyn textbook.  SLAM!  (He then proceeded to show us all 15 pages of it.)

ME:  Alright, you are the expert.  You have been doing this since I was toddling around in diapers (I didn’t actually say it like that, but pretty much).  Please, whatever you think we should do…we will DO it.

Dr. H:  Well, now that you have brought all this up, perhaps we should have you do a 3 month Lupron suppression.  It’ll calm down and suppress the Endo.  We usually only reserve this for women who have a failed cycle. There is one small study that shows that women who do this had a much higher rate of pregnancy.

Me:  Could you show us the research?  I would love to see the numbers.  I mean, are we talking an increased rate of, say 4% or 20%?  We have seen that the pregnancy statistics for our age group at this clinic are 66%.  Are those numbers different for individuals with endometriosis?

Dr. H.:  Oh, well, as soon as you see the study you will want to do it, the numbers are pretty convincing.  Your pregnancy rate is 66% for your age group.  We don’t really see a difference between those with endometriosis and those without.  But, the study reveals that these numbers can be much higher.  Keep in mind, there really is very little data regarding this topic and this study has not been duplicated, but nonetheless, it’s a good one.

Hubs and I:  Alright, we will look into it and get back to you.

Confused and trying to keep my emotions at bay, we thanked him for his time and told him we would give it some contemplation.  We then met with the IVF coordinator and discussed the medications a bit more.  We also asked her for her thoughts.  She thought since my Endo wasn’t very painful right now and I had already been on suppression therapy via my BCP for 5 years that I should be ok, but that it was our decision.  We could always proceed with this cycle and if it fails, do a 3 month lupron suppression before a frozen embryo transfer.  She said Dr. H. is a little worried because we are very educated and he feels that he needs to give us this option versus us finding out about it later and holding him accountable. It really is up to us.

AHHHHHH!  Someone just tells us what to do. We are not the retaliating type.

Later, out in the car, we were practically pulling our hair out.  Can we handle waiting another 4 months from now?  Can I handle the side effects of Lupron and progesterone all summer?  There are always going to be what ifs and could we have done mores?  In addition, I have already rearranged my summer schedule at work – that was no easy feat.  All in all, for now, we think we will proceed in June.

Lord, please give us your wisdom.  How would you have us to proceed?  This is a very difficult decision.

Has anyone done a 3 month Lupron suppression?

Endometriosis. Immunity gone array.


We all love it.  We are all thankful for it.  When we don’t have it, bad things happen.  Seemingly insignificant bacteria and viruses equate with certain demise.  But what do we do when our immune system is overly active?

Such is the case with Endometriosis (Once again, I will refer to it as the big “E”).

I’m am learning so much about this new diagnosis of mine.  Thankful for answers, but nervous as to how it will play out over the years.


4 things I have learned.

1.  It is painful – This would explain my intensely painful periods over the years.  5 times between 2003-2005 (I think this is when the big E began to run its course, see more below),  I ended up in either the ER or urgent care with pain so severe, I was doubled over, ready to die.  The nausea came with the pain and quickly lead to vomiting and when there was nothing left to bring up, hours of dry heaving would ensue that left me exhausted and dehydrated…still in PAIN.  Ahh, such pleasant times.  Double O-C more like it. (Out of control).

When I started my Master’s in 2006, I could no longer deal with the unpredictability of my painful periods.  Would this month be SO bad that I will end up in urgent care again, needing an IV, Morphine, and anti-nausea medicine? The unpredictability was anxiety provoking. I could not afford to miss class/clinicals for my period – thus began my 5 year stint on CONTINUOUS birth control.  It kept the painful periods away. Yep, that’s right…not a single period for 5 years.  In retrospect, I am SO thankful for this now, given my diagnosis…given point # 2.

2.  There is cell growth where there shouldn’t be.  Endometrial cells (the cells that line your uterus) somehow find their way OUT of your uterus where they belong and can become attached to your abdominal wall, ovaries, bowel, vagina…you name it.  They grow a lining and shed it right along with your regular menstrual cycle.  This bleeding in areas not meant to have to deal with such atrocities become angry and inflamed.  This leads to the formation of adhesions that cause parts of your body to stick/twist to areas and/or organs they shouldn’t.  Adhesions = SEVERE PAIN.  The fact that I was on BCP meant that my body was given a 5 year stent of reprieve from such growth and inflammation.  THANK YOU, Doctor, even though you didn’t know you would help me so much in the long run, what a GIFT!

3.  My IMMUNE SYSTEM is WHACKED.  I have discovered that the immune system of someone with the big E is a little, shall we say, off the mark.  Without getting too scientific and lose you all in medical ease, I will give you the quick and the dirty.  The body doesn’t like foreign material.  Sperm is foreign material, embryos are invaders – kill them…kill them all!  ATTACK!  Yep, that is pretty much what can happen.

4.  IVF works.  It takes the abnormal conditions within your body and normalizes them within a controlled, ideal environment (like that of our fertile counterparts).  The beautiful 5 day old blastocyst (embryo) is able to attach, unharmed, unattacked to the rich uterine lining of a now medically suppressed immune environment within a woman’s body.  This is KEY to a pregnancy in an otherwise hostile uterine environment.


Next question for the RE.  So, if IVF works for us and we achieve implantation, what next?  Will we have overcome all obstacles in our BATTLE against the big E?  Will we need to continue to suppress my immune system?  Or will my other hormones take over and bring the pregnancy to fruition?

Tomorrow is our last BIG RE appointment before we leave for France.  While in France, we will start our treatment regimen….come home mid-June…and then it will be time to start the heavy hitters of IVF.  So much to learn.  A long ways to go, I really hope we can get my immune system in check.

Houston, we have a diagnosis!

Yes, that was an exclamation point after that word.  Clarification though:  a potential diagnosis!  Why it has taken this long to figure it out, I am not sure.  At the same time, to have a diagnosis is always a mixed bag of emotions. Perhaps, I shouldn’t be so excited to say that we have one, but I have really disliked waffling through the world of “unexplained” infertility.  There is ALWAYS a reason for the season.  Somewhere, somehow, someway, SOMETHING can explain our infertility.  We just didn’t know what it was, until today.

Ok.  Stop, back up…

First off, YEAH for getting the ball rolling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For the first time in months, I woke up both excited and hopeful about our day.  I am grateful to have the opportunity to pursue IVF.  Of course, I wish it didn’t have to come to this, but it has, so here we are.  It feels really good to be moving forward.

Ok.  Back to the diagnosis part.

My ultrasound revealed a 25mm cyst on the right side consistent with endometriosis.  There it is, a potential diagnosis.  I had a cyst on my ultrasound (U/S)  in February – but that U/S was done at my OB/GYN’s office and they felt it was a hemorrhagic cyst left over from my previous cycle.  Nothing to be too concerned about and very normal. But this one was different, it was “dense” and appeared to be the big E.

I have seen endometriosis.  I have seen its devastating effects upon a women’s body, tiny little spider looking areas of tissue and adhesions that can really distort her abdominal cavity.  I have seen these pictures so many times on the video monitor in the operating room while giving anesthesia to a woman undergoing laparoscopy for infertility or suspected endometriosis related to intense pain during various points of her menstrual cycle.  Laparoscopy is the gold standard for diagnosis of endometriosis – direct visualization of these formations. There is no definitive way for them to know for sure I have this without doing one, but it is quite certain.  My cyst is not large enough that it necessitates an operation, so that is a tremendous blessing.  Everything else on my ultrasound was perfectly normal and my lab results came back normal as well.

Though many of you may think its crazy to want a diagnosis of some sorts, especially this one, I can’t tell you how good it feels to have this whole infertility battle be validated.  It is no longer futile in my mind.  Try as we may, endometriosis, through its various mechanisms, can render a woman infertile.  Of course, I wish it wasn’t this way just like I wish we didn’t need to do IVF, but this is the road we have been given to walk.  We can work with endometriosis. 

Next Monday we have our mock embryo transfer and our doppler ultrasound to look at my uterine blood flow…AND we receive our IVF calendar.  Looks like we are gearing up for the end of June, beginning the medications on Day 3 of our next cycle.

Thank you all for your tremendous support.


Here is a fantastic link about endometriosis and infertility:




The tides are turning.

After a rough morning, I was thankfully able to meet my sweet and most wonderful hubby for a little Starbucks over his lunch. What a breath of fresh air. It was EXACTLY what we both needed. I feel so much better.

We hashed out our plan. We really don’t think we can make it through another month of trying…through another IUI (Our original plan was to do one more IUI). It is too hard. The pain is crushing and my whole body just aches. I can’t ride through any more of these ups and downs. How long can our spirits hold out? How will we rise above this? How will we hope? How will we believe? We are ready to proceed to the next step. 20 failed cycles (well, almost). I can’t keep doing this. 20 times I have hoped, 20 times I have died. The suffering is unbearable. The grief squeezing the life out of me.

This month, we will wholeheartedly pursue IVF. Of course, it will come with its own ups and downs, but at least we will be moving forward.


Waiting.  CD1 has yet to show itself, though it’s arrival is imminent as the spotting has started.  The majority of the grief already washed over us on Friday.  Today we just feel numb.  We know what we need to do now.  We know where we are headed.  I am so thankful we had Friday’s conversation before CD1.  I can’t imagine weighing through the emotions AND trying to figure out our next move.


CD1 is here.  First thing this AM I called and made my appointment for my CD 3 ultrasound and blood draws.  I also made an appointment for our trial embryo transfer and doppler U/S to assess uterine blood flow next Monday.  The phone call was not without tears as the schedule juggling begins.  I hate it.  But it’s the way it goes.  I know it will all be worth it in the end.


We should know our tentative timeline on Wednesday.  Looking forward to seeing it all in front of me.


Thanks for reading.  Thank you so much for your support and walking through this journey with me.  I am happy to have a new direction. With it there is new hope, new worries too, but I just have to keep offering those up.


Today marks the last official day of this cycle.  Tomorrow I am expecting CD1 to make its move, and once again come front and center.  Sometimes, I just can’t even acknowledge AF and the disappointment she brings…so right now…I’m calling it CD1…just giving it a number.

Whatever you gotta do to deal, right?

I am teetering on the edge of peace.  Desperation and the deluge of disappointment that always awaits me at the start of each cycle are just around the corner.  I don’t WANT it to ruin my weekend.  I have already given too many days, too many countless hours to its overwhelming presence.  And then there are other burdens that will need to be revisited as well.  With this start means a phone call to the RE to schedule the CD 3 blood draws and U/S that they want to redo in preparation for IVF.  Redo because they want their OWN.  The ones from my OB/GYNs office are not suffice.  I have been completely successful in putting off any thoughts about the RE and IVF for most of this cycle.  It was causing a great deal of stress for me early on.  So I decided enough is enough.  We’ll cross that bridge when/if I start my next cycle.

And here I am…

Have there been plausible symptoms, of course.  But how much of that is my imaginative mind desperate to be with child?  I thought this was OUR cycle.  Perfect timing, perfect attempts, sperm no longer weighed down by extraneous molecules that made penetration of the egg impossible.  Of course I felt hopeful.  We have clung to belief, believing that the impossible is POSSIBLE.  Randomly, this month, a few of our friends and family members have shared that through their own prayers for us that they have felt God telling them to “believe”… just as he has been telling us.  It has been very encouraging to receive this message from so many sources. Also, our pastor’s wife, a dear, dear woman to us both even told me last week that she had just about finished my baby blanket because she knew it would be happening soon.  I was completely overwhelmed by her love and support of us.

And then I had my “do not worry” moment with God in the bathroom the other night.  Ok, God, you’ve asked me to quit worrying…where are you?  What are you doing?  Please HELP me to not worry.  Please HELP me to trust you.

So there it is. I teeter and totter between peace and disappointment.  Anticipation of the inevitable, good times.

Oh what joy it would be if we were pregnant…

God, may YOUR peace be with me.  NO matter what.