Today is Mothers Day! I am so blessed to have such an absolutely incredible mommykins! She raised not one, not two, but three beautiful, independent, creative, and determined daughters! Without her in my life, I could have never ever ever beat that big scary thing called CANCER. I am also blessed enough to have an equally amazing Mother in Law whom has accepted me with open arms into her family. She is loving and shows my husband and I daily how to love!
Over the past two years since my diagnosis, I have had to make some incredibly difficult decisions that the typical 26 year old may never imagine she’d be faced with. Going from being a carefree, outgoing, motivated young adult whom is just finding her place in the world, to having her world shatter from under her feet is the most difficult thing Ive ever had to face in my life.
Then comes looking towards the future. When you are diagnosed with a condition that ultimately may take your life, it changes everything forever. It changes your body, your attitude, your general well being. But more importantly, it changes all your goals and aspirations and paths you may be forced to take to live the life you’ve always imagined. Cancer is like a major detour, at the time it sucks but eventually, somehow, you will get to your final destination.
Being a twenty something young woman in a committed relationship and having cancer, one of the biggest decisions surrounding our future was not us getting married in two weeks so I didnt lose my hair for the wedding pics, but it was moreso how to preserve our chance to ever have a child of our own. It breaks my heart when friends and family members bring up the whole “oh when are you guys going to be starting your family”, when the truth is WHO THE HELL KNOWS!
So, when going through chemo as a girl in her 20s… one of the most important things to consider is your baby making parts. Ovarian preservation is key to holding on to a chance of one day creating a baby naturally. However, then you add estrogen driven cancers into the mix such as mine, and you have a complete recipe for disaster of any chance to ever conceive naturally. My now hubby and I chose to preserve my fertility by going through IVF, making embryos and eggs, and Ive been placed on a medication called Lupron which basically shuts down my ovaries in hopes that when I am done “treatment”, I can stop taking Lupron and my ovaries will stretch, yawn, and awaken from their nap? Maybe…
I am at the age when most of my friends and older cousins are married and beginning their families. I am so blessed that my hair is growing back, i’m in a job I can handle physically, and I am beginning to live again. I feel like people think my cancer is in the past, but they don’t realize that I will be living with cancer for the rest of my life. I spend countless tears on everything that cancer has stolen from me. When your invited to baby shower after baby shower or my facebook is filled with adorable photos of baby giggles… deep down, its heart breaking because it is something Ive always imagined to be so simple to have, and now– there is a great possibility that it is just not in the cards.
For me, I’ve always dreamt of being a mom. Whenever I was little, I would always play the teacher or the mom amongst my sisters and Barbies. I love kids. I have chosen to dedicate my life as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist to help children become as independent as possible on the daily! When my doctors explained to me that motherhood may never happen for me naturally because of chemo… I felt like a part of my being was gone forever. How am I supposed to be a wife when my lady parts are broken? Isn’t that one of the main reasons people get married to have babies. What is my husband who wants nothing more than to coach his kids in sports going to do when I may not be able to provide him babies?!
In mainstream media and the age of Sixteen and Pregnant or Teen Mom, our society (including myself and John— yes we love our reality TV) is raised upon the idea of “making good choices”, “keepin it wrapped”, and the lovely birth control is the way to beat teenage pregnancy. When I was a teen I was all about pregnancy prevention because we are raised with this idea that “your life will be over” or “you will never amount to anything” once you are young with a baby. Young girls are being placed onto birth control in their early teens unaware of all the horrendous side effects and potential cancer causing hormones they are placing into their bodies as a hope to not get knocked up!
You watch these shows and now pretty much every Teen Mom has multiple babies, it looks so easy… a little wam bam thank you man and wooolah, 9 months later your a mommy…
Then, there is the reality of a young girl with cancer. To put is truthfully, there is hardly any research that says when a good time after cancer it is to try to conceive, especially for cancers driven my estrogen. Researchers don’t want to do the studies because what would be worse than a doctor saying “go ahead have a baby”, then your cancer comes back full force! Basically, if I end up getting pregnant the risk would be that if there is any little inkling of cancer left in my body… the natural rise of estrogen that comes with pregnancy could potentially make the cancer cells multiply and i’ll have a huge issue with a major recurrence. Can you believe that today, in 2017 there is yet to be a test that can detect down to the teensy weensy cellular level to say yes you still have cancer cells or no you dont! This is a mere reason that they will only conduct a Ultra sound, mammogram, MRI, or PET scan if there is something visible on a physical exam— but thats for another blog post…
Basically, my loving hubby and I are going to be faced with yet another decision! (Did I mention I absolutely HATE decisions?) Should we just go for it, live our life minus the serious fears that my cancer can come back and kill me? Should we save every single penny we make and look into surrogacy or adoption? Is it fair for me to want a baby, possibly get pregnant then have a recurrence and have John have t raise a baby and care for a sick wife… again? Or should I be satisfied with my puppy son Izzy?
This Mothers Day, I have a whole different look on what a Mother is.
As per google… mother ˈməT͟Hər/noun 1. a woman in relation to her child or children.
Well, as of now, Izzy is my child. So, I will be celebrating Mother’s day as the pretty fantastic puppy mom that I am! I have raised him to have manners (sometimes), Ive taught him to sit and give paw, Ive cleaned up is puke and poop, Ive cuddled him when he was sad or hurt, Ive fed him, ive woken up countless nights because he cant sleep (and wants to run around like a psycho or go outside a kazillion times), ive given him baths, ive given him medicine, and when he was going through chemo… I was there to hold is paw and give him kisses on his head just like me mom did for me. Most of all, I have given him all my love of my entire heart and he will forever be my first child!
Conceiving a child does not make you a mother. Being a mother is hardwork and it isn’t for everyone. A mother is someone who guides their children, cares for their children, teaches their children, protects their children, and most importantly LOVES their children. It doesnt matter if your child has hair or fur, if your child is adopted, a snowflake baby, or an angel baby… its the Love that you give towards that child that makes you a mother.
So, on this Mothers Day… I would like to encourage anyone whom is unable to naturally conceive a child to never give up. Wipe those tears from your eyes and write out a plan. There are kazillions of ways to give your love onto a child, you may not be offered an “easy” route but you will find your way! It is hard for even me to be okay with saying this but, whether I can conceive or not… we will do what we have to and pay any price to either have a surrogate or adopt a child and with all the love that we have in our hearts, and that child will grow to love their life! Never underestimate a pet mommy because you NEVER know the truth or whole story to their child bearing journey. STOP asking WHEN people are going to have a baby, its none of your business honestly unless they discuss it with you. Oh and Have a very Happy Mothers Day, hold those kiddos of yours close because somewhere there is someone like me who would do anything to have a child of their own.