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.