I don't know where to put all these thoughts and feelings so I'm writing them here. Isn't that funny? I have a blog dedicated to writing down and sharing all my innermost hopes and fears. I've written about my journey with mindfulness, the effects of cancer treatment, my travels, my family, friends... I've even already written on the topic that is currently occupying my brain space (#8 Start a Family and On Gratitude Part 1 and Part 2). And yet... I feel uncomfortable meeting this issue head-on by writing about it here, the safe place where I've given myself permission to be open and vulnerable.
But there are some things that even I find hard to share. And I suppose that makes sense in this case. I'm in a new reality these days. I found out in January of this year that chemotherapy treatment has permanently scarred my reproductive system. My chances of starting a family are "close to zero." As I close in on a year full of opportunity to accept those tests as accurate, I still find this topic difficult to not only write about, but to accept.
There's a support group for people going through the same challenges as me that runs through a clinic in downtown Toronto on the third Thursday of every month. I know this because it's written on their website - not because I've gone. I haven't yet. I have every intention to, but I'm in denial. I don't feel like one of 'them.'
I'm sure they all go through the same cycle as me, month after month. The month starts fresh and new and I put whatever disappointment I faced last month behind me (denial). Mid-way through the month I'm most in control, I just have to put in a little effort and everything will be as it should be/as I was told in 10th grade sexual health class (bargaining).
Toward the end of the month, where I am today as I write this, heartache washes over me steadily, culminating in an end identical to all those years I used birth control (depression). Only now, that day comes with an overwhelming sense of failure (anger).
I know these feelings are common because I've recently stumbled across the journeys (through hashtags - points to social media) of so many of 'them' - other women who are going through the same thing and who have taken the terrifying step of sharing their most private journey. I am so grateful to them. They provide an alternative narrative to my Facebook, Instagram feeds and the world I see on TV and in the movies. They make me feel safe and strong sharing this.
And while I need to share this, I also need to do it in my own way and in my own time. You'll see I haven't named it in this post. That's because I'm still very, very afraid. I'm afraid tomorrow everything will change and I'll be embarrassed for making such a big thing out of what a lot of people have already been through before. It goes without saying that I'm even more scared that this is real and permanent and forever.
I'm also scared of being alone and different. And I'm hoping this post, as a starting point, will at least help me to face one of my gazillion fears head on. Maybe even get me to that support group. That's a start.