Tuesday, September 14, 2010

There Are Reasons


I have been silent for a month. Why?

The most recent reason is the lump, but I'll get to that.

At first it was because I was giving myself a vacation from the computer, spending more time outdoors, enjoying the waning days of summer, my favorite time of the year.

Then it was because the fertility specialist had recommended I retest that one clotting factor in order to get a better sense of whether blood clotting might be an issue in my next pregnancy. But for some reason, I kept putting off that blood test, and I didn't know what to say about that.

Then, on the heels of a heart-to-heart with J~ about why it didn't seem to bother him that I wasn't following through, it became clear to me that I was in it, on a certain level, alone. While another child was a dream for him, it wasn't a high priority. I came to understand yet again (but perhaps a bit more deeply) that a baby would basically be my project, my all-consuming chore for years to come, and though he would help in every way he could, and though he would be a dedicated and loving father, and though I would take immense pleasure in raising my own child... I could not bring myself to finish this sentence.

I finally told J~ that I did not want this badly enough to want it badly alone. J~ had to admit, he was not in that place. "Maybe twenty years ago..." he began, and suddenly I was thinking back over my own past, landing on myself at 25. I worked part-time as a nanny for four children, ages 5, 5, 3 and 1 1/2, and I was good at it, I enjoyed it. One afternoon I drew a picture of the baby, asleep in her stroller, all her pudgy folds, and as I did this, on some level I knew. I was ready. But I wasn't financially stable and my boyfriend would have been terrified. I expect if I had told him then that I wanted to have a baby, he would have disappeared in a cloud of dust a la Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote. (Which is what he did ten years later, but that's another story.)

And then I wasn't writing because I didn't know how to tell you I'd pulled the plug. Though I still don't see myself actively preventing pregnancy, I am done trying, more done than any of the other times I've professed that I was done. I fear, dear readers, you will be disappointed and you will go away.

It's a funny thing, blogging. When I started this, I was throwing my words into the ether, thrilled and surprised to find anyone out there was actually taking the time to read them. I'm not a secretive person by nature. Over time, many of my friends and family members came to know that I do this. My mother reads regularly, my father checks in. It doesn't escape my consciousness that there's a good chance my ex-husband stops by on occasion, satisfying his curiosity while sidestepping the pesky chore of actually communicating with me. I never thought I'd come to depend on the support I receive from or feel a responsibility to the large community of strangers who make up most of my readers. But sometimes I wish I'd never told anyone I know.

Because then, when I find a lump in my breast, I wouldn't feel reluctant to write about it. I wouldn't worry about pushy questions and panicky judgments about my choices in health care. I don't want to be grilled about what I'm doing and not doing and how fast I'm doing and not doing it. I don't want to hear horror stories. I don't want everyone's fear flying at me. Trust me, I'm scared enough.

On the bright side, my lump is less than half the size it was when we first found it 10 days ago. The radiologist I spoke to said that while "anything can happen" she'd never heard of a cancerous lump shrinking, that it's very common in women my age that benign lumps grow and shrink along with the ebb and flow of the menstrual cycle, and she confirmed what I've read all over the internet – that 80% of all breast lumps turn out to be benign. And that when there are more than one lump next to each other (it turns out there are two of them) it's actually a good sign.

6 comments:

r3 said...

I left this large comment yesterday, but then my computer pooped out in mid-send. Thanks, ATT for the unreliable connection!

Anyway, I wanted to reassure you that this reader will always read because 1) you have a great writing tone and 2) your content is interesting to me. Work, life, art, finances, managing exes, blended families, exercise, anger, healing, etc. etc.

Not only do you cover universally appealing issues, but you do so in a way that makes me feel like you are on my side. You treat your audience like a friend. You also have a way of being very honest without holding back. So your stuff is very palatable, even if you are covering tough issues.

Thank you for that. I don't care if you change the focus at all, just keep writing every now and then.

P.S. your dog is beautiful. Seriously.

Sara said...

I only very recently found your blog and felt compelled to read the entire thing (mostly while holed up in a hotel during a rather lonely business trip to New Orleans, but that's another story). I hope you don't stop writing here.
Also, I went through what sounds like a similar breast lump experience. The doctor completely freaked me out, and when I went back it had shrunk and she said it was nothing to worry about and no one has mentioned it since. I hope it's the same for you.

Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience when I finally realized that the person I was with at the time really wasn't into raising a child. The thought of it being mostly me, mostly my "project", in the end, made me realize that I did not want to go down that road.

Eventually I ended up with someone I am so happy with--and we do not have children. And from what I've been feeling (and reading these days) children don't necessarily make life happier or more worth living.

I too like your blog--and your art blog as well so please keep it going! :)

r3 said...

I forgot to comment on the breast lump--made my comment seem sort of uncaring.

I hope it's nothing. Some women have fibrous breasts, some have cystic breasts, and some have both. And some women can have either/and depending on where they are at in their cycle (typically lumps are *found* a week or so before, during, and after your period).

I had a similar scare last year and after mammo and ultrasound and way too much fondling for my liking (ha), it was determined I have fibrousy breasts and had one little sebaceous cyst. It went away after a few months. It was suggested that I quit caffeine, and I know I should, but as a Mom and outside of the home worker, it is not an option. I'd be falling asleep at the wheel if I quit it. One day I'll be able to say goodbye to it, just not now.

Anyway, I am sorry you are going through this too. Your lifestyle is very, very healthy (eating, biking, loving), so I expect you will be around for a long, long time.

Paula said...

Life is not black and white. It has many gray shades of feeling with epiphanies along the way. We make the best decisions we can and find peace there.

I'm glad that you are finding that peace in being done trying. You have such a rich creative life, wonderful relationships, and energy.

I will always admire you, regardless of what tests you chose to have or what choices you make!

I, too, during my struggles with infertility, was hesitant to share too much with the "real" people in my life because I didn't want to hear their advice, feel their judgment on my choices, or have to give frequent updates on my "progress" or lack thereof.

Keep us posted on your journey! We're not going away.

Jamie said...

While you are in a place of finding peace the path of not actively persuing a baby using medical treaments and intervention, I admire your ability to step back from your situation in relation to your relationship. I imagine it will be difficult finding resolve in knowing you most likely will not have a child of your own. I completely respect your decision and feel it is wise that you do keep in mind of maintaining the balance of the relationship of the couple. I have been through IF and divorce (which is how I originally found your blog--searching for someone who had gone through a similar story) and I can appreciate the importance of finding shared happiness as a couple. In my eyes, as heartbreaking as some of the chapters in your life have been, I feel that you are experiencing one happy ending of sorts in that you have found another person in which to share and build a life with together. Cherish that love and respect that you share and I feel it will carry you into a life of fulfillment--even if it is not the one that you entirely envisioned.

I hope that you continue to write about your journey in life. You are an amazing woman of strength and insight. You are in my thoughts as you find more information about the lump in your breast. I hope for the best possible scenario in your pending news.