As we get interviewed by ABC and the Chicago Tribune, and have photographers come to our home, we are getting asked several questions that we have never been asked before as individuals and as a couple. I have always been open about our journey and try to help as many people as I can to try and relate to others. Some of the questions are different though than the usual. There are things I never thought about or at least never put into words like these journalists do. It brought up unexpected emotions. I was 100% ok with it, but I surprised myself. Tears would roll down my face during our conversations. I am still learning more about myself everyday. It was interesting to see how the questions were articulated to me. Makes me realize all I have been through since I was a child and where I am at right now. Really...it has been eye-opening.
There are times I once wondered why this has all happened to me. I am not just thinking the infertility, but the cancer. I don't know why out of the entire world, and my entire family it was me. Of course I have always felt a sense of unfairness. That is to be expected. Now that I look back at my life experiences through the eyes of an adult, I am starting to get the answers I have waited for 12 years to know. I was talking with Pat and we were watching My Sister's Keeper. Of course I cried through the whole thing (who didn't, right?) It hit way too close to home for me. We both knew it. However, I wanted to watch it all the way until the end. The most sad thing about this is that I had dear friends who experienced cancer right alongside me. I had other kids my age fighting for their lives living the same hell I did. The difference amongst us all is that we had different diagnoses. Some had better prognosis', others were not so lucky. There is one dear friend of mine that comes to mind watching this movie. She was given a better prognosis than me to survive. She was finishing up her treatment while I was just getting started. She showed me the ropes! All the cool places in the hospital...who was nice, who was mean, how to get through treatments and procedures. She was like my "big sister" in the cancer world. She was on her way to calling herself a survivor as I was just starting to lose all my hair. We would get our chemo sometimes even at the same time! We would even get our chemo together in the same room so we can distract ourselves from the bad feelings. Sadly, her cancer returned, but this time worse. She was slowly dying. Her leukemia that we all thought was gone after over a year of treatments, she had it come back twofold....so much nobody could help her. She was now a hospice patient, and shortly after she passed.
As an adult, I realize not many people I know were sitting in the same room with other teenagers who were dying in the bed next to them. Some of my life experiences are so horrible not even words describe the emotions I experienced as a teenager. I said goodbye to people who I became very close to. I still talk with their families. One family even came to my wedding. Of course, I can't help to think that luck was definitely on my side. I then ask...why did I survive, and not some of my friends? Why was I saved? I find myself asking why me with infertility at times? (not something I do often, because it doesn't help ANYBODY), but in 100% honesty I do at times, naturally. I get asked the question by family, friends, newspaper interviews, ABC correspondents, "Which is worse, cancer or infertility?" That is a great question with several answers....cancer is out of our control and affects your physical body in horrible ways making you feel like you are dying. Infertility is out of our control and has the greatest potential of breaking your heart in the worst way possible. Having your heart broken is the worst pain. I think the physical pain of infertility treatments and meds NEVER competes with the emotional pain. The emotional pain is unbearable. On top of my own pain, I have to watch my best friend in pain too. It's just a bad situation. With cancer, I didn't have to watch anybody go through it with me. I actually felt almost lucky because I do not know if I could've watch a sibling or parent go through cancer. I felt lucky it was me so I didn't have to watch anybody else suffer with the disease. However, I realized later they dealt with much more emotionally by watching me from beginning to end....from losing my hair, several surgeries, and having my life turn upside down. Both my cancer and infertility are terrible. Both I would never ever want to see happen to anybody.
I realized that having cancer 12 years ago gave me a strong sense of something. I do not know if it is courage or strength, but it is something. Getting through this horrible thing right now forces me to bring back that sense of numbness and determination to just get through it with the least amount of pain as possible - emotional and physical...and strengthening our relationship in the meantime. What is so wonderful is that we are more in love than we ever have been. We have been on an emotional level that puts us on a different level. I know our family is going to be a strong family. There won't be anything we can't do. It has been validated that I am a LUCKY girl.
I am STRONG because I am weak
I am Beautiful because I know my flaws
I am a Lover because I'm a fighter
I am Fearless because I have been afraid
I am WISE because I have been foolish
... & I can Laugh because I've known sadness.