I celebrated my one-year "survivorship" and truly felt like I was done with cancer. I felt like it was a fluke I got it and it was a one-and-done sort of thing. I started thinking about my life cancer-free. When could Brian and I have another child? How would I rearrange the bedrooms in our house? What names will we use for a boy or a girl (still naming to-be girl after my grandmas)? I was thinking about child care arrangements and birthday parties and long, beautiful hair.
I talked to my oncologist about getting pregnant. She said it was safe and I could delay my hormone-blocking therapy until afterwards. I talked to my cardiologist and he told me I could stop taking one of my medications for my cardiomyopathy in June, in preparation. I did research and found a study just published in March 2012 which said pregnancy for women with cancer is safe. I was thrilled and let my mind wander about how wonderful it all would be. I even reached out to another oncologist for a second opinion, just to confirm I had the green light.
And then, I feel like I was slapped back into reality today. I met with my surgeon for a routine six-month follow-up. I was told that I need to be realistic about the fact that I am a 30-year old with Stage III breast cancer. I need to be realistic about possibilities of recurrence. And as I spoke about getting pregnant, she said that I need to think about what my priorities are; having another baby or being healthy and alive for the baby I have. She was warm as she said this, and gave me lots of hugs. She told me these were conversations that were tough to have but I needed to have them. It's not that getting pregnant is the issue; her concern is delaying the hormone-blocking therapy.
I was very calm and rational while we spoke. I asked a lot of questions and paid attention to every detail. I asked about other women like me and what her personal opinion was. I was proud of my demeanor and kept a smile on my face the entire time. I booked my next appointment and joked with the schedulers about the crazy weather and my curly hair.
And then I got in the parking lot and all of my rainbows and sunshine and unicorns completely left. I felt like my world had collapsed again. Why have I been living in a fog for the past 13-months? Why did I think I would be completely unscathed from all of this? I called Brian, hysterically, three times in a row. (Murphy's Law says he only takes so long to pick up when I REALLY need to talk to him. Same said-law says I only get mind-boggling news when I am at doctor's appointment by myself). I called my mom and was angry. I was so angry and upset. And then I realized that the root of my feelings came from being afraid. Never once did I think that this cancer would truly harm my life, much less than end it. All of a sudden, I was faced with a new round of thoughts: how am I going to raise Evan? What will my legacy be? How will I ensure that my sweet baby remembers me? And most importantly, did I let my optimism get in the way of practicality and reality?
Brian came home to comfort me while I spiraled (I had already looked up costs of embryo freezing, gestational carriers and adoption by the time he arrived). He reminded me that medically and physically, nothing had changed from last night. But I feel so somber - a little bit like I am floating outside of myself.
I have some major decisions to make and unfortunately, I am on a timeline that doesn't belong to me. I do know that I need to get back into writing; it allows me a brief moment to read about my life from a different perspective. Somehow, it doesn't seem as bad when you put it on paper. In the meanwhile, I am going to keep collecting data (even though the Internet can be dangerous) and trying to figure out the next best steps for my family...
|Celebrating Megs' 28th Birthday. Meggie and Moni look beautiful. And my wig looks amaze-balls in this picture.|
|The boys wrestling at Great Wolf Lodge.|