Well, it happened again last night. Another friend announced her pregnancy to me. (By the way, she did so in the most sensitive, loving way. I've posted an excerpt of her email below.) So far, since I was diagnosed on March 10, two friends have gotten engaged and six friends have either given birth, or are about to soon, or have just announced their pregnancy. And I know more announcements are coming...soon. We are in our early thirties afterall. We are supposed to be dating, or getting married, or trying to have babies. We are not supposed to be fighting cancer, particularly an estrogen-based reproductive cancer.
So, how am I handling all of these announcements, births, etc. in the midst of losing my fertility and being sidelined from dating and many other normal 32-year old activities? I'm not going to lie: It's hard. Very hard. But I'm handling it. Just like I've handled the other more minor set backs I've been dealt in life. I am fortunate not to have been born with a jealous bone in my body (okay, so I am a little jealous of gals with zero cellulite but that's it!) and virtually no fear or anxiety issues so that makes it all much easier. And I also inherited fantastic coping skills (or so I was told by the shrink I saw for a little while). Oh, and then there's the 10 mg of Lexapro I now take daily (but that I only plan to take through the end of the year...). It all helps.
I debated as to whether to do this post or not because I'm tired of making people feel guilty for their good health and fortune but at the same time I think I need to lay it all out once and for all...for myself and for all of you (all of you being my girlfriends and fellow cancer patients who follow my blog). So, here's what the whole thing looks like to me:
Am I happy for you when you announce your big news, whatever it may be? ABSOLUTELY.
Do I think to myself, "Why am I not worthy of this experience and joy?" ABSOLUTELY.
Do I have faith that someday I will know a different, yet equally wonderful, joy? ABSOLUTELY.
Do I feel sorry for myself for a little while (maybe a half a day or a little more) after each piece of news is shared? ABSOLUTELY.
Does it get easier for me each day I move farther away from having had the BIG H and closer to finishing my treatment? ABSOLUTELY.
Should you share your news with me as naturally and sincerely as possible because I am your good friend afterall? ABSOLUTELY.
Do I know that all of you will be happier for me than probably all others when it's my turn to announce great news, whatever it might be? ABSOLUTELY.
Do I accept that life just sucks sometimes and that we're all dealt heavy burdens and that other than this unfortunate year, I am a lucky girl with a charmed life? ABSOLUTELY.
And, do I know that many of you probably wish everyday that somehow, some way you could give me the joy you have or are about to have? ABSOLUTELY.
So, that's how it looks. Is it complicated and tricky to navigate for us all? ABSOLUTELY. Will it all be "okay" several months from now when I'm done with treatment and have celebrated the start of a new year on a 46 foot Catamaran with a great group of friends somewhere in the BVIs (more details later...), am dating again (I guess I will but I've kind of enjoyed the break from the few pretty broken men I've encountered in my early thirties), and am in the midst of training for the sprint triatholon I'm going to do with Jori and a maybe a couple others out in San Diego in October 2010 to celebrate my one year wellness anniversary? ABSOLUTELY!!!
I'm off to run a design errand before heading to the pool for the rest of this gorgeous, hot day, but before I go, here's some of my friend's email...
So, I have news (as suggested by the subject line.) I'm pregnant. 13 weeks today - due Feb. 19. We just started telling people after the second ultrasound last Friday. I decided I would tell you in writing because that way you don't have to pretend to be elated on the phone when I know it's way more complicated than that. Don't get me wrong, I know you are an awesome friend and will be happy for me and Briley, but all the really tough stuff you are going through right now cannot be made easier by the fact that you are dealing with it right when so many friends are getting pregnant and having babies. It's just more reminders, as if you needed any on a daily basis!
I just read your latest update and like knowing exactly what goes on with the IP treatment and what it is supposed to accomplish! The ports are pretty inconspicuous, and I hope they aren't too bothersome. Briley and I can't wait for your party, and Mom and Dad are planning on coming with us for a little while, too, if that is still all right!
Can't wait to see you soon. Thinking of you.
Congratulations, Elena and Briley!