Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Oh baby baby it's a wild world....

It has been over a year since my last post.  I am very aware of this for two reasons:
1) my one year remission anniversary was April 4, 2014!
2) the storage fees for my "Byrd eggs" became due.

It has been a very emotional year for me. Hearing the word "remission" last April was a wave of relief. However, the journey did not come to an end by any means. I am on Tamoxifen for the next 10 years, a drug with which I have developed a LOVE/HATE relationship. I love Tamoxifen for the promise of occurrence reduction. I hate Tamoxifen for the liver problems it can cause, the hot flashes it brings on, and the fact that as long as I am on it I cannot get pregnant.

There is no NEWS FLASH here or anything, it's just knowing that I have given that control over to a drug infuriates me.

I have been stacking the letters notifying me of the impending storage fees in a nonspecific pile in a direct effort to avoid the decision.  The deliberation I have devoted to this would blow your mind, and has caused more sad, tearful, frustrated days than I care to recall. I finally decided it was time to let them go.  My own body won't be capable of carrying a child until my early 40's and even then there come more complications.  I sat down to write the email to the Sher Institute notifying them of my decision with a lump in my throat the size of a grapefruit.

My mind replays the week in Dallas in 2011 I spent with my mother, and bending over, backwards, and sideways to receive the fertility shots.  Was it all for nothing? The physical pain I endured? The finances it cost us to travel there and receive the drugs?
I am not sure.  I do know that at the time I was panicked by so many situations that it felt nice to prepare for at least one curve ball.  The final step will be to sign the consent form in front of a notary and send it back to Sher.  I dread that with a pain I struggle to put into words. But I also dread receiving those notification letters...."Miss Byrd, you're in remission...don't you want to have a baby???" "Miss Byrd, don't forget we've still got your 25 potential children just waiting on you!"

These are of course not their actual words but absolutely the way my mind translates them. If it were only that easy.  My brain and heart and soul take turns convincing me that "everything happens for a reason." Some days I feel completely content with myself, my house, and my dog.  Content with performing my roles as daughter, sister, granddaughter, friend.............then some days hit me like a brick wall. On one hand, the eggs I'm still making are cancer free (hopefully) but they are also not the eggs of a 29 year old....

I had the precious pleasure of keeping my friend's daughters for the whole weekend.
I taught them how to climb the same tree my sister and I climbed. We walked the trails I walked between my grandparents' house and mine. We had cinnamon rolls on the front porch and we played in the lake.  I even took them over to my dad's house and we fed apples to the horse and discovered my old big wheel. We all three snuggled in my big bed. Pacifiers, chocolate milk, drawings, coloring books, diaper changes, band-aids for boo boos, bath time, and watching them in my rear view mirror as we rode around town.  These are the moments my heart longs to pass on to my own child, and I don't know that I ever will.

Today was a sad one, as an inanimate object brought a rush of emotions. As I was straightening up around my house, I picked up a hat that I had considered wearing to a baby shower on Saturday...the conversation went like this:

Me: "Girls, hat or no hat?"
Ayla: "No hat. I mean the hat is very pretty but I think you are so pretty you don't need it."

That childlike adoration, innocence, encouragement, and preciousness touched me so deeply and the sudden recollection of it hit me like a tidal wave.

I felt compelled to share this event because I know so many women are unable to have their own children for a host of reasons, and as much as we strive for definition beyond the role of "mom" it is still in our heart of hearts. I look forward to a day without the confines of Tamoxifen, surgeries (my next reconstruction is next week), with a hope that I will find true contentment one way or the other.

Sincerely, and a bit sadly,