This morning, I awoke at 4:18, without the assistance of an alarm clock. The first thing I realized was that it was The Day. The Day is when I lost all my dreams and all my wishes. The Day is when I realized that Fate can be cruel and likes to play games with one’s mind. It has been three years since The Day. Three long, sad years. I have carried on with my life, but I have never been whole. My entire life prior to The Day was spent in anticipation and preparation for the family that I would have. I grew up watching Little House on the Prairie and The Walton’s. I wanted to be Olivia Walton. I wanted her life, the country home, the loving husband and seven or eight children. I knew deep down in my bones, in my soul, that was the life for me. All of my life I KNEW that was my destiny. I never even considered wanting or trying for something different.
Then it happened, pain, blood, surgery to remove a swollen and blocked fallopian tube. I was not happy about this surgery, but I couldn’t take all the bleeding, the pain anymore. And my gynecologist assured me it would not hinder my plans for child bearing. I knew when I came to, even groggy as I was that something wasn’t right. The doctor wouldn’t look me in the eye, nor would my mum. On the ride home, I vaguely remembered the doctor saying there would be pictures of the surgery should I want to see them. I asked my mum for them, but she refused to give them to me. “Not right now,” she said, “you’re still too woozy. I’ll show them to you tomorrow.” I knew.
The next day, I asked again for the pictures and received more excuses, “I forgot them at home with your paperwork, and I’ll bring them tomorrow.”
It was two more days before I was given the pictures. They were left for me where I would find them when she wasn’t there to answer questions. An hour after I looked at them, the doctor called and wanted me to come in that day to see another doctor in the practice as a ‘follow-up’. “What aren’t you telling me?” I asked, even though I already knew the answer. “When can you get here? We’ll talk then,” she said. An hour and half later, I walk through the doors of the practice. There are pictures of each doctor on the wall, with their specialty listed below. My eyes searched for the name she had given me. There, I spot her name and look down at the title before looking up at the picture…Gynecological Oncologist. My heart stopped and somewhere inside me, my soul began to die.
The wait wasn’t long, but the conversation was long. It seemed to last for hours. Borderline tumors. Low-malignant ovarian cancer. It grows outside, not like normal cancers. Can you use the word normal and cancer in the same sentence? Only one choice. “But I want to have children; it’s what I’m meant to do.” “There are other alternatives to having a child naturally; you really don’t have a choice in this.” My last question what when do I have to decide, her response, “You can wait a day or two, but no longer than that.”
So many thoughts ran through my mind. I spent several sleepless nights and days, avoiding the doctor’s phone calls. When they finally caught up with me I felt I had no choice but to agree. Agree to a removal of my ovaries and only fallopian tube, but I demanded that they leave my uterus. “At least I’ll have a chance for IVF with a donor egg,” I thought. My surgeon would not promise to leave my uterus. The growths were all over the back of my uterus and the only way to be safe was to have a complete hysterectomy. A date was finally set for the end of January to have the surgery. I went through the process of telling my family and friends. I spent the months up to the surgery seeing specialist after specialist. At one point, I begged a fertility specialist to just remove my ovaries and freeze them until technology caught up and they could be sliced open and the eggs harvested. They said it wasn’t possible.
Time didn’t fly, but then it was January, and I was in surgery. Total and complete hysterectomy. Instantaneous menopause at 35. The next few days were a blur as I tried to recover physically, alone in a hospital that I hated (another story for another time) with no one to talk to. A bad ice and snow storm had come during my surgery and the roads were very treacherous and no one wanted to be on them. I remember lying in the hospital bed, sweating profusely and crying at the least little thing.
There have been lots of tears since the surgery and way more hot flashes. It has taken me this long to be able to be around babies without breaking down into hysterical crying. At the time that I was losing my fertility, everyone around me was becoming more fertile. Several friends and co-workers became pregnant or had spouses who did and every place I went had at least one pregnant woman or newborn baby. I spent the first year just trying to stay alive every day. The second year was spent trying to figure out what to do next.
I will never understand why my fertility was taken from me. Nor will I understand why my dreams had to die that way. But it is time to find a new dream, time to find a reason to keep going. Maybe someday…Blessings,