Cancer Ever After

Musings on Infertility, Adoption, Parenthood and Cancer

Lavender and Black

B.K. (Before Kids) – I read voraciously. Nothing to improve my mind, that is seriously overrated. I mainly read trashy romances. Historical, Paranormal, Modern, you could say I’m a connoisseur.

The historical romances always seemed to find a way to work in mourning clothes, or going into mourning. I understand that better now.

I full on lost my shit at Target today.  Finding chicken bullion led to a breakdown in aisle 8.  It reminded me of the last day, where I was so frustrated over what my husband bought when he went to the grocery store. I was mad because he bought ground pork instead of ground sausage and 20 pounds of potatoes instead of 5.  I said something in my irritation, I can’t remember what. It was small, I was blowing off steam.

But is that what he heard? That’s the funny thing about depression. I had no idea he was depressed, but I’ve been there once, very deeply, myself. I understand what it is like to twist what you hear or to focus on particular items. Did I make him feel less than?

Every conversation we’ve had replays in my mind. Any time, I turned away from cuddling, or being woken up for a 2 a.m. romp and said no. Did that feel like rejection? I know what I meant, but how was it heard? What did he think? I used to think we understood each other. Now I question everything.

Hence, the breakdown in Aisle 8, at the McDonald’s drive-through, and in the school entryway.  Now I understand why they wore mourning clothes. It wasn’t about the mourner, it was to warn everyone who came into proximity with them.  I have picked two fights with strangers over small things I would normally let slide.

I still walk, I still talk, and I can still smile. But I’m no longer me inside. What was once filled with love and happiness is now an empty void that occasionally fills with anger, grief, or sadness. I go through the motions, but I’m not really me. I can’t help but wonder, is this how he felt inside and I couldn’t see it?

 

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

The hardest thing I’ll ever do.

As a child, the hardest thing I ever had to do was:

… get on the school bus with a complete stranger
… speak in public for the first time
… hear the word divorce
… say goodbye to my best friends

As an adult, hardest thing I ever had to do was:

… hear there was no heartbeat
…allow myself to be stuck with needle after needle
…go to the hospital and leave without our baby girls
…bleed for months on end, laying it that bed, praying our babies would make it
…rock two colicky newborns all night long
…walk into that hospital not knowing if I’d leave with a son
…say I had Cancer out loud
…hold out my arm for that first IV.

No.

Now I see those weren’t really that hard at all because you were by my side, doing whatever was needed, being my shoulder to cry on. It turns out the hardest thing I will ever have to do is:

…get out of bed and face the day without you by my side
…walk into the kitchen to cook breakfast, when you should be standing there
…go to bed alone, never again to cuddle up against your side

No.

The hardest thing I’ll ever have to do is:

…to explain to our children why you aren’t here
…to make sense of what you’ve done
…to understand why you didn’t fight to be at our side.

No.

By far, the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do

….is to forgive you.

I love you.

woman in black long sleeved cardigan

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Leave a comment »

Don’t worry, it’s the good kind.

Being told this makes my head want to explode. After the radiologist’s verbal throw-up, breaking the C word, we quickly had another visit with the ENT where he also confirmed I had cancer and he went on to explain:

But it’s the good kind- Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It’s considered curable in almost all cases.

Don’t get me wrong this was a huge relief,  I had already researched the various types of lymphoma and knew this was the best news we could ask for. Having this type of cancer gave me the best chance of getting what I prayed for- a chance to watch my babies grow up.

But somehow being told cancer is “good” when you know that you will have poison injected into your body to kill the cancer, and know that it’s likely you’ll have radiation that will burn your skin and can damage your organs, is incomprehensible. Both treatments may lead to  future cancers or additional long-term complications. If you ask me,  “it’s the good kind” is a load of crap.

This phrase should have been stitched on a pillow over the next week. We broke the news to family and friends and used it shamelessly to reassure them.

At same time, when someone familiar with this type of cancer says it to me, it raises my hackles.  I know my odds of survival are phenomenal, but I feel like this phrase trivializes the fight that is ahead. It’s survivable only because they know exactly what treatment it responds to, you still have to do chemo and radiation. You don’t get to push the easy button.

The survival rate lets me know that my fight should be worth it and I plan on clinging to that in my darkest hours. I appreciate that I know going in my fight will be worth it, and I love having less uncertainty.  But I don’t doubt for a minute that there will be a very real battle with some pretty shitty days.

It may be the good kind, but that doesn’t make it easy. It’s still cancer.

 

 

 

2 Comments »

In Pursuit of Baby

Lately, not a day goes by when I’m not asked, “How did you lose so much weight? What is your secret?” For those that know me, the weight roller coaster has had more ups and downs than usual over the last several years as we’ve dealt with infertility.

I gained a lot of weight after our first miscarriage. I was so upset, it was the dead of winter and working out just wasn’t in the cards. Food was a source of comfort for my sorrow.

And then we started treatments.

This began a vicious cycle of “lose weight, it will make you fertile” and “you can’t work out, you’ll torque an ovary and/or lose the baby(ies).” I was on bedrest for every pregnancy and miscarriage. It’s hard to stay in shape, when your limited to laying on your side.

Because of this, I’ve undoubtedly gained and lost hundreds of pounds during our infertility journey. In fact, I have four different wardrobes of clothes from those years that I’ve been slowly working my way back through. I still haven’t hit the smallest clothes.

I’ve lost 77 pounds from my highest weight after the girls were born. This is why so many people ask me how. But they are asking the wrong question. The question they should be asking is “Why?”

Anything is possible if your motivation is strong enough. I lost 40 pounds in three months before our first IVF cycle, because our clinic required it. I had a deadline and a goal, so I consulted with WebMD and created a plan of action. I ate no more than 1200 calories a day, as close to zero carbs as possible and did 2 hours of cardio a day religiously. It’s not a path for the faint of heart, but if the motivation is strong enough, it’s possible.

I gained that weight back after my next miscarriage and had to work to lose it all over again before our final round of IVF. Three pregnancies in four years took their toll on us emotionally and me physically. The five months of bed rest didn’t help. I couldn’t walk around the block after the girls were born. My muscles were too weak; I had to relearn how to function in a vertical world. Stairs were brutal.  Between the incision and loss of muscle tone, it was tough to do simple tasks like carry my girls around.

Which brings me back to “Why?” My husband had agreed that, if I lost weight, we could “leave it in God’s hands”. We would simply see if we could achieve that miracle pregnancy on our own. The doctors had all recommended weight loss as a weight to mitigate some of the potential pregnancy complications, even though they still felt I’m at higher risk for additional miscarriages, pre-eclampsia and hemorrhages due to my complex medical history.

When I looked at it this way, weight became the only barrier between me and another child.  There wasn’t much I wasn’t willing to do to have another baby.  If my weight was the obstacle to a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby, and losing weight could possibly increase our odds of conceiving. I was on board. Tim also agreed to try IVF again if I hit my ideal weight.

Honestly, I’m not sure he ever thought it would be possible. But as anyone who has struggled with weight will tell you, people who struggle with their weight are really, really, really good at dieting and exercise. They have willpower to spare–with the proper motivation. I had just found mine.

My motivation doubled after I had surgery due to some complications after having the girls. My heart had issues during the procedure and they had to strap me to heart monitors for observation. Once they said, “We need to make sure you aren’t having a heart attack.”,  I vowed then and there I would lose the weight to be around as long as possible for my girls.

They are also the best motivation in the world to keep the weight off. The roller coaster ends here.

I enjoy singing Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes with my girls. The weight loss makes this easier and more enjoyable. I want to be able to play and chase them and I can do that so much better now. The good news is that overeating is tough when you’re lucky to get a few bites during a chaotic family dinner! And I wouldn’t change it for the world.

How did I lose all of the weight, you ask? I found happiness. I found purpose. I found my motivation. I could drown you in numbers and studies on the science of losing weight, but the reality is, being happy and having the right motivation makes all of the difference.

It’s funny, but now that we are adopting my original motivations for losing the weight are moot. But my motivation for keeping it off is now one child stronger.  I want to be here, be healthy, and be able to enjoy and play with all of them, for the rest of a very long life.

Want to help support our adoption? 
Visit our youcaring page and make a donation. Until March 1, each $20 donation will get you entered to win a 3 night stay at the Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri. View here for more information.

1 Comment »