Sunday, January 19, 2014

What it is.

Losing your fertility to cancer is like a sucker punch.  It's not bad enough your cells went rogue in the first place, you had to lose your hair, change directions in your career, develop post-treatment (potentially lifelong) disorders, and have an increased chance for secondary cancers.  No, the universe says, better make sure your entire life's trajectory is altered and prevent you from bearing anymore of those pesky offspring, even though there is no evidence that your cancer was caused by genetics.

I've not been exactly mum about our struggles to have another child, but I know I haven't been completely forthcoming either.  It bothers me both ways.  If I share all the gory details, which no one truly wants to read about, I've overshared.  If I share nothing, it makes it seem that infertility (especially after cancer) is something shameful.  Or that I have any control over?  Or that I'm failing and can't bear to share my failure with my friends and family.

I am nothing if not a big mouth for a cause.  For this reason, you can consider this post my "coming out" for infertility.  Yes, it's true.  We have struggled for years, with the help of multiple (I've lost count) doctors, acupuncturists, herbalists, massage therapists, healers, meditation and yoga classes, shots, pills, yadda yadda.  Whatever there is to try, we've tried it (stopped short of IVF).  Including traditional Mayan and Korean therapies.  Because, hey, why not?  Maybe they know something I don't.

And I have vowed that we are not going to walk into 2015 doing the same things we were doing going into 2009, 2010 or 2012 or 2013 or 2014 (I skipped over that loathsome cancer year).  So this is it, folks.  It's now or never.
happy 2014
What does this mean?  It means we are on our last doctor.  It means we will make some bold moves this year and possibly try some things that are scary, especially for someone with my history of reactions to medications.  And it means (most likely) that we will be grieving the loss of having a biological sibling for our amazing child.

Judah's family portrait from a few years ago when he pretended to have a sister named Hannah.
But it also means we may be closer to finding our second child, whoever, wherever he or she may be (perhaps not even a twinkle in an eye yet).  Dan, ever the optimist, always feels we are closer to, rather than farther from.  As time continues to pass, I'm not so sure.

Ever the planner, I am trying to prepare myself for what I feel is inevitable.  Of course I am so grateful for Judah, our absolute gem and miracle.  But his existence does not negate my lifelong hopes and dreams of being a mother multiple times over.  I am sad to lose out on being pregnant again, to miss the opportunity to bond with another baby like I did with Judah, to miss nursing (Judah had a bit of an issue..), to have another child with the love of my life made of pieces of each of us.

I know some parents are not as attached to this idea of genetics and pregnancy.  And for them, it may have been a quick move to adopt.  But adoption is no walk in the proverbial park either. There is even more uncertainty than in pregnancy involved.  No control over the pre-natal environment.  High, high cost (for domestic infant adoption - upwards of $30K).  Home studies, wait time, birth families that could change their minds before finalization...  I don't think most of us dream of going down this path.

We will, though, if that is where our road leads.  Before we turn onto Adoption Avenue, I am scheduled to have some good old surgery mid-February!  Back to the OR for me, to investigate (hopefully for the last time) that same stinking cyst (think back to last June), and a few other non-rent payers that have taken up shop.  I had hoped that at least chemo could've killed the endometriosis, too, but it looks like not.  Of course, no one is talking cancer, per se, but I am on guard.  The bits to be removed will all be sent to pathology for further investigation and to confirm that there are no cancerous cells found within.

I hope that one day, perhaps in the not-so-distant future, I will have some profound wisdom to share about the emotional and physical adventures my body has experienced over the past 5 years. So far, the only things I've learned is that life is too short, there's no such thing as a free lunch (though perhaps a free trip to Hawaii), and the internet is a black hole of time suckage.

Thanks to you for keeping up with my never ending dramatics.  Stay tuned for Season 37.    


  1. Thanks Mia for sharing such a private matter with the masses so powerfully and poignantly. Reading it inspires many thoughts about each person's journey to create a family and what makes it complete. Any addition to the already rich family circle that you've woven will be a blessing. You and Dan are like good fortune warriors, conquering multiple Everests, pushing back thunderous black clouds and restoring sunshine--nothing like a kickstart from a free Hawaiian vacation! So wherever this path winds, I'm certain of one thing-- that you and Dan will find a way to spin the outcome into gold. And you are wrapped in an enormous, supportive circle of love and warmth. Wishes for a fabulous surgery (if there's such a thing), sturdy eggs and decisions that bring peace and happiness. As a wise lady once said, life is too short!

  2. I just found your blog through stirrup queen's blog roundup, and I'm somewhat reeling. My husband had the exact same cancer as you, diagnosed almost 2 years ago. He's also doing well and is also now infertile. (He's also a Jew from Philly, btw). We're also TTC a sibling for our son, although that's not public knowledge, so I don't want to put my real name here. However, I'd love to reach out if there's some private way to contact you.

    1. Thanks for commenting and reaching out. Congratulations on your husband's good health. I'd love to connect with you - my email is