I just looked at my calendar.
A year ago today, I had just finished the first third of my sandwich therapy, and was prepping for the awful feeling that was going to hit me in the next couple of days.
I am amazed that I am sitting here today, still in remission, and on the other side of that very horrible treatment.
This time last year, I was making plans for my impending radiation therapy. I was getting ready to return to work for a brief respite between chemo treatments. I was under the mistaken impression that radiation was going to be easier on my system. I was just learning to deal with hot flashes, and how to cope with the end of my fertility.
Here I am a year later. A survivor. Thankful to be on this side of treatment. Thankful for remission. Thankful that my life, for all intents and purposes, has returned to my new version of normal. And now that treatments are over, and the OMG CANCER part of my diagnosis is behind me, I am just now coming to terms with the after effects of what the disease, the surgery, and the treatments have done to my body.
I am not going to lie, a lot of things now come back to the fact that I am childless. And coping with this, and dealing with this, well, it is almost as difficult and traumatic to me as the cancer itself.
My husband and I went back and forth for years about the prospects of children. I was 35 when we married, and horribly obese (331 pounds the day we married). I was the survivor of a heart attack at 30. I had diabetes that wasn’t regulated. My husband is 16 years older than I, and had raised a family (none of his girls are biologically his – but he raised his daughters from the time they were 3, 5 and 7). He was open to having children with me, but it was not at the top of his bucket list. We discussed babies then, but decided that babies would wait until I was in better shape.
In November of 2010, I had gastric bypass surgery and lost over 130 pounds. I was finally under 200 pounds and healthy enough to have kids if we decided to. And yet, we were still on the fence. I was 38. My husband was 54. Was this something we wanted to put ourselves through? We just weren’t sure. We decided to wait, going back and forth between wanting to get pregnant, and being scared to become parents at our age.
Now don’t get me wrong, I always wanted kids. But I knew in my heart that this was a Very Big Deal for my husband. He had essentially been there and done that. I understood that. I didn’t want to do anything until I knew for fact that he wanted it as much as I did. I mean, he had three grown children and (at that time) eight grandchildren. This would essentially be starting everything over again. It had to come from him. Plus, I was having issues with my joints, that led to some serious reconstructive surgery on my knee which knocked out pregnancy for a little while longer.
And then, in January of 2012, we finally decided, you know, this might not be such a bad idea. I was experiencing symptoms at that point, but honestly, had chalked them up to my gastric bypass surgery. Heavy periods were often related to a release in hormones that hold up in our fat cells. Now that I was no longer obese, the hormones had nowhere to hide and my periods were hideous. Little did I really know that it was all related. Then came the cancer diagnosis, and our gut instinct to go ahead and do whatever it was that had to be done to get rid of it – the hysterectomy.
A year later, I am just coming to terms with all of this. I thought I had earlier, but honestly, the announcement on Facebook from a girl I had graduated with stating she was expecting kind of put me in a tail spin. I have bared my soul to my husband many times over the past year that I mourn my fertility. I think mourning my fertility is a necessary part of this – I can’t just let it go, but I thought by now, well, I’d be more “over it.”
We have talked a few times about adoption, but honestly, with our ages, my medical problems, and our living arrangements, it just isn’t something I think would ever get approved. I don’t want to foster – I’d have the same (if not worse) reaction to fostering a child as I would to fostering a dog or cat – too much on my heart to take that child in and then let them go.
So that leaves me in this position. With an aching in my heart and an ultimate sadness that I’m having issues with getting over. I mourn the child I’ll never have. I think what brought it up this time was a comment that my husband’s ex made on his Facebook page last week. (Um, she and I are NOT going to be best friends…or friends…or anything like that…she can’t let go of the fact that he married me, and quite honestly, says things she knows will hurt me). She had posted a stupid cartoon on his Facebook that stated they broke up over religious differences – he thought he was God and she didn’t. Um, whatever. My husband replied to her (why they are friends on Facebook is beyond me) that he remembered it differently – in that she dumped him for a white trash biker and it freed him up to find the love of his life (me). She replied that at least she was able to provide him with a family. I know she said this to hurt me. And, well, it did.
Bob and I talked about it. I told him that I was very sad about the fact that I’d never be a Mom. He told me I WAS a mom. But it’s not the same. It’s hard to feel as if you are a mother to someone who is, well, only 10 years younger than you. Don’t get me wrong. I love my girls. My step-daughters are wonderful and they are my family. I consider them family, and I consider their kids my grandkids. And vice versa. But, it still doesn’t fill this empty horrible hole in my heart where MY baby should be.
I hate to go back to the “It’s just not fair” whine, but really, it isn’t fair. I know it is all part of God’s plan for me. I just hope that He decides to show me that plan soon. I think it will take some of the bitterness out of the whole deal.