“You are too young to have cancer.”
Yes, I know. I am also too young to be in menopause. I’m only 34. I’ve had 15x the amount of radiation that puts a woman into menopause. Now I debate whether I should buy the old lady multivitamins at the drug store.
“Well, at least you won’t get your period again.”
Yes that’s true. There is a silver lining. But the thing is that without a period, my dreams of having more kids won’t be realized.
There was such an urgency to start treatment. My doctor didn’t discuss fertility options with us, just that treatment would put me through menopause. Even if we did talk about fertility preservation, it didn’t feel like I had a choice. Immediately dish up forkloads of money to get the chance to have more kids with no guarantees, but delay treatment and the cancer might spread even more.
I wasn’t finished having kids. I barely just had one. But it’s more than that. Really, it’s that my choice in the matter was taken away.
I still hang on to my menstrual products though. Perhaps it’s like hanging onto jeans that are too small, thinking that you might fit into them again one day. I don’t think I’ll need them in the future, but I keep them just in case, tucked away, hidden at the back of the linen closet.
“Well at least you got one.”
Believe me. I am beyond grateful for my son. He saved my life. He is my reason to keep breathing.
But honestly it hurts my heart every time I hear that someone is expecting a baby. I’m elated for them and heartbroken at the same time. I find it difficult to process such contrasting emotions at once. To face joy and pain at the same time.
Trying to be grateful doesn’t ease my pain. It doesn’t take away my dreams of having more kids. When I was pregnant, one night I dreamt that I had a son and then a daughter. She came to me again during a prenatal yoga class when I was channeling my inner yogi. The vision of her was what I held onto when I found out that I might have cancer. I can’t die. I’m still supposed to have a daughter.
“You could always adopt.”
Maybe my daughter is out there somewhere. But seeing the emotional toll that adoption can take, honestly, I’m not ready to take that on. Some days I struggle with having enough energy for our son, so I question whether I could even handle having more kids. I’m also not sure that my marriage could handle the stress of the adoption process. It’s been tested so much already.
But in the meantime, what helps me is the belief that another mom with cancer expressed, “The right people will come into our family when they’re meant to. I do feel our family’s not done yet.”