Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Being Awakened at 30

Me: “Matt, I just want to say something that I’m thinking without judgment or any insinuation. OK?”
Matt: “Um, OK.”
Me: “I’m turning 30 this year.”
Matt: “WHAT? You’re going to be 30?”
Jen: *smiles* “I’m trying to be serious. Just let me get this out.”
Matt: “You’re no fun. OK.”
Jen: “I just realized that I am only on my Tamoxifen for another two years.”
Matt: “I didn’t know you were a Tamoxipro.”
Jen:Tamoxifen. It’s an estrogen suppressor … a pill I take every night.”
Matt: “Um, OK. So that’s a good thing, right?”
Jen: “Just let me finish … it’s both good and bad. It means that, if we want, we could try to have children in two years when I’m 32. Not that I am implying that we have to …”
Matt: “I get it, Jennifer, you don’t have to peddle.”
Jen: “… OK, well, it also means that the chances of a reoccurrence are greater. It also means that I need to talk to my oncologist about other proactive treatments. I don’t know how to feel about going off the medicine. I guess mixed.”
Matt: “Well, if you want to try and have children we can always try and if you don’t that’s OK, too. If you still want a family, there are plenty of babies that need a loving home. We’ll do what’s best for us when the time comes.”
Jen: “I just can’t believe it’s been three years. I guess it just surprised me when I started thinking about turning 30 and what that meant treatment-wise.”
Matt: “I understand.”
Jen: “That’s all I wanted to say. No insinuations, OK? We just better travel our hearts out the next two years.”

I remember shortly after I was diagnosed with cancer my oncologist told me that there was no time to waste freezing my eggs because the cancer was too aggressive. We needed to start chemo within the week. I was sad and angry. My mother said to me, “Are you upset because the chances of you having children are slim, or because something is being taken away from you?” Such a wise woman. At the time I lashed out at her in anger rambling about always wanting to be a mother, but looking back I know it is because I was being told that I couldn’t have something. I was infuriated. I hadn’t even thought of having a family, but someone telling me I couldn’t (or that the chances were significantly less) enraged me.

This is such a weird statement to make, but it wasn’t until Matt and I decided to raise our puppy, Jasper that a strange maternal feeling swept over me. (I don’t mean to compare my dog to your children—I know logically the two are significantly different, however it was an emotion and instinct I was not accustomed to feeling.) I don’t know what the next few years hold for me, or what my body is even capable of at this point. I do, however, know how strong my spirit is and I am open-minded to the possibility of happily ever after … and even a family.