Anyways, when I first thought I wanted to blog about this topic, I questioned my motives. I've never actually questioned my "why am I sharing this" before, because I always just knew it was because I wanted to educate, encourage, and inspire others. Also, up until now, everything has been relatively easy to share, because all of my decisions have been widely accepted and understood by all of my family, friends, and people in general. Reproduction is the only subject I've received any condemnation on, which is why I questioned my motives for sharing all this. Do I feel the need to justify my decisions? Do I think that I need approval from others? Or do I truly want to be transparent about this deeply sensitive, emotional, and almost taboo topic, in hope that it educates and helps others?
After a lot of contemplation, it is my hope and prayer that you read this with an open mind and and open heart; which is how we should approach everyone in life. I do not expect everyone to understand, but I hope it gives you some insight into the lives and minds of those of us who willingly choose to not have children of our own.
While I am still prayerfully considering my options, I know in my heart what is best for me, my body, and my life; and also what I want most. Pretty much all of my healthcare-related decisions up until this point have really only affected ME; deciding to permanently sterilize oneself directly affects others, especially any future spouse. All my decisions up until now have been pretty easy to make:
- Surgery: Lumpectomy? Mastectomy? Single or double? Reconstruction? FLAP/TRAM, expanders/implants, or nothing? Nipple conservation? Nipple reconstruction? 3D tattoos? Saline, silicone, or gummy? Teardrop or round? For me, this was the easiest decision to make...the night I was diagnosed, I knew I wanted my breasts completely removed, so I could have brand new ones!!! LOL...thank the Lord for giving me tiny breasts to begin with, so that it was an easy decision!
- Chemotherapy: A controversial topic in and of itself, especially when you come from a natural health background. Not only does it involve the decision to undergo chemo (are the short and long-term side effect risks worth the benefits? Should I do chemo first?), but also do you want to get a port or picc line? This was also an easy decision for me, thankfully. I knew I wanted to get a power port, and do absolutely everything I could to save my life; even if it included going through hell with chemotherapy...because I knew I would be going to hell and back. And I wanted to come back and stick around here for a long time!
- Radiation: I dreaded this for some reason, I think because I had a feeling it would make me tired. It did, of course, but I trusted my doctors, my knowledge and research, my gut instincts, and of course God to help me know that this was another good choice for me.
- Tamoxifen: Still up for debate on this one, but it's still a much easier decision to take this pill for 10 years than decide on reproductive options.
Speaking of Tamoxifen, this is one factor that's helped me make my decision. Tamoxifen is an estrogen-blocker that is an oral medication taken daily that stops estrogen-positive cancers from coming back. Since my cancer THRIVED on estrogen, this is a very good option for me. It is supposed to be taken for 10 years, and you are not supposed to get pregnant during this time (due to teratogenic effects). My 10 years will basically be starting at age 33 for me, which will make me 43 when I finish the course.
Personally, I know I don't want to be giving birth to and raising children at age 43, for many reasons that I'm sure you can imagine. Yes, I could stop the medication at some point, but I know that the worry of "OMG will my hormones going out of whack bring my tumor back?!? What if it grows back and I have this child and then die from cancer?!?" Yes, those are extreme thoughts and worries, but I know myself well enough to know that those concerns would overwhelm me, and Natalie does not do well when she is stressed out (as we have seen by Natalie getting cancer previously). :)
So what is a girl to do when she does not want to get pregnant, but wants to have sex someday lol, and cannot have any form of hormonal birth control?
I had a nice conversation with my oncologist yesterday about my options. I'm sure I will review them with her in more detail, as well as with my OBGYN, but with my mother dearest and my dear boyfriend in the room with me, I just wanted an overview and short discussion of my current options, which for me include: IUD, medically-induced menopause (I'm currently in peri-menopause), tubal ligation, or ovary removal. Just some minor things...
My first thought with an IUD was "What?! I don't want a foreign implant in my body!!!" Then remembered I have two large foreign implants sitting in my body right now! So what makes an IUD any different??? As far as it being a foreign object, there is no difference really, but for me physically it is not the best option. Medically-induced menopause? Um...SCARY!!! As is ovary removal!!! I'm thankful I don't have any of the BRCA gene mutations, or else they'd definitely want to be harvesting my ovaries! I really feel for all my friends who are having theirs out...love you guys (well, girls...you're amazing! <3 ). So while it's not a done deal, a tubal ligation is most likely my best option for me, both personally and physically.
So, if I CAN have something reversible, why wouldn't I want that? Because I know, in my heart, that I do not want to produce children with my body, or with my eggs (over the past year I've realized I don't want my DNA passed on...which sounds silly I know, but with all of my issues and family history issues...yeah no lol). As crazy as it sounds (and believe me, I have been told by MANY people over many years [and especially over the past year] that this is crazy, that there must be something wrong with me, that I'm not a REAL woman, etc etc...) I have never really wanted children of my own; nor have I ever had the desire to be pregnant or give birth. I know, many of you are reading this and going WHAT?!? Because I know many of you want nothing more than to become pregnant with your own child, to carry your own child, and to give birth to your child. And I think that is a wonderful, beautiful thing, and you know I keep you in my prayers. I am thankful, however, that this is something God has never put on my heart. I had never understood it, and I always DID think I was weird or that something was wrong with me; but when I was diagnosed with cancer, and heard that I could possibly never had children, it all made sense and I thanked God.
I did always wonder that if I met the right person, and was in the right relationship, I might change my mind. But I have (FINALLY! ;) met the right person, and am in the right relationship, and my feelings have not changed. I can't predict the future, and I could be wrong, but I do not forsee myself ever changing my mind on this one.
How can I say this with such confidence? Well, for one, I have always known that if I were to want children, I want to adopt them. Not to liken children to animals, but I've always felt about children like I do about animals: there are SO MANY IN THE WORLD WHO DON'T HAVE HOMES, or people to love them!!! I can't handle thinking about all the animals in shelters...OMG it breaks me heart and brings me to tears if I even start to think about it!!! And if I see one of those blasted ASPCA etc commercials, even just for one nanosecond of a mangy animal who has that look of heartbreak in their eyes, I'm emotionally ruined for a week.
So when I picture children like that, my heart breaks a million times over.
No offense to animal breeders, because those animals need homes too; but there are already SO MANY who need homes! And for me, it is that way with children too: there area already SO MANY who need homes and love and care; why would I NOT choose them??? I know that probably sounds ridiculous and crazy, but for some crazy reason (maybe because I AM crazy? lol) I've always felt that way, and had that opinion.
Now, know that I've already gotten a lot of crap about this too throughout my life:
- "Why would you want to raise someone else's kids?!?" Because SOMEONE HAS TO! And why NOT me??? Because, if not me, then who else will show them and give them the love, encouragement, support, etc that they need?
- "You just don't know what you're getting when you adopt!" LOL...this one always cracks me up, because you know what??? You don't know what you're getting with LIFE!!! As soon as you enter this world, you don't know what you're getting! We aren't guaranteed anything in life; we're not even guaranteed tomorrow. You might be the most perfect person, with the most perfect spouse, with the most perfect DNA (which none of that even exists); but until Jesus returns this world ain't perfect, and your children will be out in this crazy, corrupted world...so you don't really know what you're getting with anything (especially with kids!). Until we truly solve the whole nature vs. nuture debate, I'll just keep my mind focused on Jesus.
- "But what if they grow up and kill you? Or kill others?" My first response is typically, "Well what if YOUR children grow up and kill YOU, or others?" Thankfully, I'm ususally shocked into silence long enough for my filter to kick in, and I don't actually say that. My usual response is, "Ok, if they kill or harm or do bad stuff, yep that would be horrible; I cannot imagine that! And if they kill me, well then I'll be up in heaven with Jesus! And how many non-adopted children grow up and do bad things? But seriously, we can't fear the future for any reason. We can fear the future for so many reasons, but if we do that then we will miss out on so many of the amazing things that God has in store for us!" And then they are the ones who are silenced.
- "Oh, you will change your mind someday!" Mmm...I haven't in 33 years now...maybe, but doubtful. And if I do, well I know God will get me through that too!
- ETC ETC!!! :)
The best thing of all? I have the most amazing and supportive family, friends, and boyfriend...without them, we all know I would not have made it this far in my journey; analld I surely could not be making a decision like this. And my boyfriend, ahhhh dear Austin, what an amazing man! I've been so blessed to have SO MANY "God things" and God-sends and gifts that I know are directly from God in my life time, and Austin is one of the best! He is literally the man I've been looking for and praying for my whole life, and it amazes me every day that I have been blessed with such a perfect gift. I could write so much on how and why I know he is a gift from God, but I'll keep this short and sweet: From the very beginning we've been on the same page about having children, and the dude is more than open and willing to adopt (and his reasons would melt your heart!). Plus,any man that can sit through a doctor's appointment and listen to all the things discussed yesterday (as if hearing that your girlfriend should probably have her tubes tied isn't bad enough, all the other bodily conversations and what not were fun to listen to also I'm sure!) and not run out of the room and hold my hand during chemotherapy is simply amazing...simply perfect <3
I'm amazed every single day at how my life has changed for the better since my cancer diagnosis. Never in a million years did I think I would have cancer at age 31; and never in a million years did I think I would kick cancer's ass and come out happier and better than ever!
Ok, so that was a lot! Thank you for reading, I hope you learned something or at least have some insight into us crazy, weird, strange women who are different than "normal" women. Now I have that song (I think it's from Sesame Street???) that goes like, "One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong!" stuck in my head! LOL!!! Except I know where I belong...right here, right now, right where God has me. Love you all so much, and thank you <3 <3 <3