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You aren’t welcome here 2015

How do you start writing about hard things? I guess you just start writing. There are days where my written creativity is so stifled by the events of life that I can’t imagine writing anything worth reading. But then I realize I like writing about life and if my life is hard right now, then I need to write about my life being hard.

While I do not sum up my life in calendar years, I can unequivocally say that 2015 has been the most difficult, shocking and trying year of my 33 year old life. Any given one thing can be taken with a grain of salt, but when I look back on it in sum total, I feel it again – the crushing weight of the stress, the emotions and the pain.

My husband works a very demanding, high stress job and this year, I have found myself in the same situation. I’d have to say that this job has been an uphill battle, every day, every hour for me and that is a very new experience. While I don’t shy away from a challenge, I underestimated how that dynamic would bleed into my personal life, my thoughts and my emotions. Even now, I find myself mentally consumed with how things can change, how they can get better. What do I need to do, to learn, to fake to master this? Whose butt do I have to kiss?? It’s exhausting, always feeling a step behind.

Early in the year, my maternal grandpa, (both my maternal grandparents recently moved in with my parents, with my paternal grandma who already lived there) was diagnosed with bladder cancer and slow kidney failure. My parents, who had been caretaking for my dad’s mom for 20+ years were now caretaking for three 85+ year olds. They are saints, let me assure you. Every day is a struggle, an emergency and a “is today going to be the day we lose one of them?” day. I have been trying to make an effort to be there more. Not only to soak up these last days with them, but to hopefully provide some support to my parents.

My husband and I have been trying to have babies for a few years. Before that, there were many many years of “when we have kids” and “we can’t wait to have kids, when we are ready”. Of course those feelings come with the assumption that when we are ready, it will happen. Well I am here to tell you that is wrong. Wanting does not equal having. Because we had not been able to conceive naturally, we made the expensive and bold decision to seek fertility treatment. Or, as I prefer to call it, IN-fertility treatment.

We were just about to dive into the world of doctors’ appointments, pills, needles and ultrasounds when my husband started getting really sick. He wasn’t sleeping, rapidly losing weight, extremely fatigued and excessively thirsty. After he dropped 20 pounds in six weeks without trying, we finally sought help. What followed was, while manageable, never-the-less life changing. After a battery of tests, he was eventually handed down a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes, which had formally only been a juvenile onset disease. It was not because of lifestyle or poor health, rather a virus that destroyed his insulin producing cells.

How, at 32 years old do you adapt to taking three shots a day, testing blood sugar levels multiple times a day and curbing your standard eating habits? All while rapidly climbing the corporate ladder in a very demanding job that has no time for lunch and testing and shots?

Still reeling from this life-altering diagnosis, we still decided to press forward with fertility treatment. We are not getting any younger after all. I went through six months of low level treatment without success. In what was supposed to be my fifth month of treatment, they found a cyst on my ovary and we had to suspend treatment for fear it would grow and burst. Well, in standard Murphey’s Law fashion, it burst anyway. Talk about the worst pain I have ever felt. However, that pain did not touch the myriad of emotions I felt each month when I realized treatment had failed. Every month felt like a year. Another year I was chasing a dream that was just out of my reach.

After the unsuccessful first level of six-month treatment, we decided to press forward with more aggressive, more expensive treatment. More doctors appointments, nightly shots in my belly. Intense abdominal pain for hours at a time. I assume my emotions were probably widely out of control as well, but I was so adept at suppressing my feelings, I am not sure I even noticed. Again, more failed treatments and $1200 down the hole. {We did like to make jokes about “needle parties” each night in our house…that’s a diabetes/fertility treatment joke}

In October, my uncle passed away from brain cancer. He was the first close relative I had lost as an adult and it was very difficult for my family. Later that month we learned of a sudden and unexpected death of a friend, again, the first friend I had lost as an adult (or really, ever). The week of his memorial service, a very close family friend went into the hospital, in a last stand against the cancer eating her body. Every day appeared to be her last and we prepared to say goodbye. She was still holding on when my grandmother had a stroke, landing her in the same hospital I had been visiting every day and that still housed our family friend, still holding on. That weekend my uncle’s family, still grieving their loss, rushed up to visit my grandma. I spent two days walking between hospital floors, visiting both patients. Our family friend passed away on Sunday, my grandma passed on Monday. While I was comforted that both were no longer in pain and confined to a hospital bed, the void they left seem insurmountable.

Later that week our family traveled to celebrate the life of my uncle, and also my grandma. At this point I felt like I had been crying for a full month, with no end in sight. I was relieved that it was now Thanksgiving, a few days of R&R in the mountains with my husband and his family to escape reality. Unfortunately, on Thanksgiving I woke up to the reality that yet another round of fertility treatment was unsuccessful. I lost it. I laid in bed and silently wept. I wept for the loss and the pain and the stress and the expense and the feeling of complete failure.

After pulling myself together to face the family for Thanksgiving, I quietly pulled my husband aside and told him I needed a month off. I didn’t think my body could physically continue to handle the loss and the emotion and still function in a life that had already presented us with so much loss in the last few weeks. So we took a month off from treatment. I was so relieved to pull one thing off my plate, yet slapped by guilt for considering trying to have a child a burden.

This month, we had my grandma’s memorial service, found out our dog needs a second, very expensive leg surgery (she just had one last Christmas) and found out I am allergic to dairy (as a vegetarian, this is really depressing news). In January we will attend the celebration of life for our family friend, who was my mother-in-law’s best friend. I am hoping and praying that is the last service I attend for a long time. Instead, I want to replace the loss with new life. Babies and marriages and birthday parties. I want to focus on how to get my body in alignment with my spirit.

As I write this, I am preparing to start another round of fertility treatment and figuring out how to survive without cottage cheese and sour cream. I am tempted to feel sorry for myself, but I refuse. There are worse things and I remind myself when I start to think “Why me?” — why not me? I have a strong body and a loving husband and supportive family and friends and faith in a God who loves me so I am better equipped to handle these problems than anyone.

I want to wrap this up in a positive way, to defuse the depressing march of sadness and loss and death and emotions, but that is not where I am right now. I am still feeling those feelings. Knowing my husband is faced with a lifelong disease scares me. The thought of more fertility shots and appointments and expense makes me want to scream. The constant struggle of what to eat and how it makes me feel and what a burden it is to eat anywhere but my own kitchen makes me feel helpless. Knowing my grandpa may not live another six months makes me very sad. Those are not feelings I am used to and I am still trying to cope with them. I am trusting God’s plan, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have questions. That doesn’t mean I am not crying out every day asking “What’s next? When does it get better?”

**{Update: The day I wrote this, I found out my insurance no longer covers ANY of my fertility treatment cost. Is it 2016 yet??}

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2 comments on “You aren’t welcome here 2015

  1. Hey. I found your blog through your comment on my c+c post. I am so, so sorry for what you’re going through, infertility and beyond. I pray 2016 is nicer to you.

    • Suzy, thank you for your sweet comment. I know that you have a deep understanding of the struggle I am facing. I am praying 2016 is a better year as well! I very much enjoy your transparent writing, thank you for that. Happy New Year to you and your family!

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