“When” We Children, Not “If” We Will Have Children

I don’t like going to the doctor.  In fact, I’m pretty terrified of going to the doctor.  I hate needles and hospitals and doctor offices.  Since I hardly ever go to the doctor, when I do go it’s because I’m really sick.  Consequently, the doctor always tells me I’m really sick.  So then I don’t like going to the doctor because they always tell me I’m sick… I’m terrified that I am going to get cancer because my mom had cancer and I’ve just always thought that I would get it too. I do not have the most healthy way of looking at doctors or getting sick but it is something I have been working on improving.  My husband knew about my loathing of all things medical before we got married.  After we tied the knot we sat down and I really explained to him that I was terrified of getting cancer, rational or not it has been a fear that has governed every medical interaction I have had since I was 16 at least…  He pointed out that not all cancer is hereditary and that I have lived a very different lifestyle then my mom.  Also, no one else in my family has cancer so the situation might not have the odds I’ve always feared.  After that talk I realized that whether I end up getting cancer or not is actually not the main issue.  The main issue is whether I am going to take care of myself or not.  I want to be a strong, healthy partner just as I expect my husband to be a strong, healthy partner.  That means we both needed to reevaluate our feelings about doctors.

I started with the dentist.  I’ve had a cracked tooth (rear molar) for a couple of years and have never gone to the dentist to get it fixed.  I’ve literally just chewed on the other side of my mouth.  For years.  So I scheduled myself a dentist appointment and even showed up.  I found the dentist by doing lots of online research.  I found a place that specializes in “gentle dentistry” aka people with dental phobias or who have really sensitive teeth.  After finding that place I compared online reviews with lots of other places who specialized in the same thing.  I found the one that was ranked the highest and made an appointment.  It ended up being really great!  The dentist and dental assistants, even the lady at the front desk, all listened to me and explained things when I told them if I knew what was coming I wouldn’t jump.  It was a really positive experience.  That turned out to be good because I’ve seen a lot of them since then and I will continue to do so.  When you don’t go to the dentist for 5 years or so except for that one root canal you couldn’t avoid… your teeth will probably need some work.  My cracked tooth needed a root canal.  I knew that going in.  Turns out the tooth cracked because of the way my teeth connect and I also need another root canal on the same tooth on the other side of my mouth!  That one doesn’t look cracked but actually is down between the teeth.  Oh good… I finally decide to take care of business and now I need $4400 dollars in dental work.  My husband still says it was the right choice.  I’m not so sure.  Meanwhile, I’ve completed the one root canal on the cracked tooth.  It was my third and it was the best root canal I’ve experienced! When my husband gets a job I will schedule the other one.  Right now we just can’t afford it.

So I dealt with my teeth.  The next step is going to a regular physical check up.  I don’t feel quite up for that so I scheduled a lady doctor appointment.  I was only marginally less terrified of this doctor visit then of a normal physical.  I have only seen an OBGYN once and that was eight years ago.  I conducted research to find the best doctor covered by my insurance.  Then I needed to decide if I wanted a doctor that was just a GYN or one that was also an OB.  I decided on the OB because if we decide to have kids and I like the doctor then I don’t want to have to get a new one.  So, I went to that appointment today.  It was not nearly as awful as I was afraid.  I cried twice when I asked the Big Questions that have scared me for years:

1) Do I have the breast cancer gene?

2) Can I have children?

These questions have plagued me for years and I have been too scared of the answers to ever ask them.  The good news is that I can have children! The other good news is that it seems unlikely that I have the breast cancer gene because of our family history.  The bad news is that to really be sure I will need to ask my mom to get a genetic screening and then get a screening myself for comparison.  That doesn’t seem likely because of her own relationship with doctors.  The other questions I had the doctor answered as well.  In fact she took the time to go through each question on my list I brought and patiently answered everything.  In my experience doctors seem more apt to prescribe a pill, let the pharmacist go over it with you, and move on then they are to sit down and talk with you about what’s going on and what to expect.  Key take away from my visit:

Condoms are only 85% effective!

WTF?!?!?!?!  I told the doctor that I thought they were 99% effective and she smiled and asked if I liked the show Friends and learned that from Ross and Rachel’s experience.  (I DID! AND I NEVER KNEW THAT FRIENDS WAS WHERE I HAD GOTTEN MY CERTAINTY THAT CONDOMS WERE 99% EFFECTIVE!!!!) So, turns out we’re REALLY lucky that we haven’t had a pregnancy “scare” because, you know, we use condoms.  Speaking of babies…

My husband almost caused me to crash my car when we were driving back from our honeymoon last November because he said he could picture us having kids “next year.”  For the record, that “next year” is five months away!  With that comment he had moved from how we had been talking about kids: “someday, maybe if we have kids” to the concrete near future certainty about kids: “I can see us making a baby at this time next year.” That was a big startling revelation in our relationship and we have been having an ongoing conversation about kids since then.  It’s like suddenly with that one conversation he gave me Baby Fever!  I had never been partial to babies, not that interested, babies were still hypothetical in my future.  Suddenly I see babies and I’m like “AAAAAWWWWWWWWWW! LOOK AT THE WIDDLE TOES!” It’s been a struggle to keep my anxiety and fear at bay because they are so wrapped up in my thoughts about having kids.

Since I’ve always believed I would get cancer, I haven’t wanted to have any children because I don’t want to put them through what I had to go through and I don’t want to put my husband through what my dad had to go through.  Also I’m terrified about how the world is a dark and scary place and how can I bring an innocent child into that?  And what about if the child has a birth defect or a disability or grows up to become a serial killer?!?!?!  And what if I go crazy and then everyone has to deal with crazy me?  And what if something bad happens?  Or what if the baby gets cancer?

I’ve been carrying around all these worries and what ifs for years and I’ve never let myself really consider having a child because all these dark thought were between me and the thought of me having kids being possible.  My husband has dutifully talked through all these fears and more with me and even brought up some of his own… what if our parents try to move in with us to “help,” what if our puppy doesn’t like the baby, what if we lose our jobs and have a baby, what if we want to travel or move across the country?  So we talked about those things as well… and we’ve been talking about these things for the past 7 months.  Finally today I let all the fear and anxiety out at the doctor’s office and shared them with the doctor.  She explained what she could and then patted my hand and told me “you can’t live in the world of what if.  You can’t live in a world governed by fear.  You’ve had some bad things happen in your life.  Some really sad things you’ve had to deal with.  You could use some joy in your life.  Babies bring lots of joy.  It’s ok.  You are a healthy, young, responsible adult in a healthy relationship: go make babies.” And then we smiled at each other.  And I felt this dark creeping cloud that’s been hovering for years just raise up off me while I can still feel it hovering, waiting for me to descend into the dark pit of worries and what ifs, for the rest of today I’ve just been smiling.  I was waiting to make a decision about “the whole baby thing” until I had a sign from the universe.  I don’t know how much more clear the universe can be then having a doctor tell me to “walk thirty minutes a day, take a multivitamin, and make babies.”

I talked with my husband as soon as I got home and told him everything.  We both just smiled at each other and decided: it’s time to invite more joy into our lives and stop letting worries and fear make our decisions for us.  We’ve decided we are going to have a child and now it’s a matter of when, not if.

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Alzheimer’s and Dementia

My mom met with the assisted living car facility today about my grandparents.  I was too nervous to call and see how it went.  It is a terrible situation and I grieve for everyone involved, even myself. My grandparents both have Alzheimer’s and dementia.  What is unusual is that they share the same delusions though.  They literally are in their own world.  Since my cousin has gone away to boarding school my grandparents and my parents have reconnected.  It quickly became obvious that all was not well.  My grandparents…. it’s just such a mess and I think only people who have experienced a loved one go through the trials of Alzheimer’s and dementia can understand how vulnerable they are now.  The worst part is that I miss them so much because even when we are together, they are not the same grandparents I used to know.  Sometimes they don’t even remember who I am.  I wish there was more I could do to help.  I just love them.  My parents are doing their best to help but they live 45 minutes away in another city.  They keep driving down to help twice a week but the rest of the week is consumed with worry about them.  The assisted living facility is only a block from my parent’s house and is super nice.  I used to volunteer there when I was in high school.  I hate the thought of them going to live somewhere like that because they’ve always been so independent… but I hate the thought of them alone in their big house more because at least in this place they will be safe and will have positive social interaction with people who won’t try to steal everything they have.

I pray for my parents and grandparents.  I hope that whatever happens the family will embrace my mom with love and support instead of blame, anger, negativity, etc.  I hope they disprove my fears and expectations.  People are SO awful!  Especially family!  I feel so helpless.  I just send positive thoughts and prayers their way and hope it is enough.  Still no job update.  Running out of money still.  I need a job before May 1st so I need to get an offer in the next couple weeks.  I will keep praying for the best and trying to brace for the worst.

 

Time to Share the Writing

Today I took a step towards publication!  I have trended towards writing and keeping ti to myself, especially since the hyper competitive realm of being an English major.  I haven’t really shared any of my writing since… well it’s been a while!  I’ve shown Fiance my BigStory and talked about it with a couple other people but I haven’t’ had the trust to share it.  It takes a huge amount of trust to share your writing with someone.  You have to trust that they won’t steal it and that they will give you honest feedback.  I’ve reached a wall with my story.  I’m at a point where the outline is done.  There’s been major behind the scenes development of the world and the cultures of its people.  I’ve done character development.  I’ve written pieces scattered through at least four notebooks and across two mediums.  I need to put it together finally.  I need some direction.  I’m thinking I need a fresh pair of eyes to help me round out my narrative.

So, my mentor at work and friend outside of work, NK has been published.  He’s published a fiction novel.  In fact, he’s working on his second novel currently and he’s asked me to be one of his readers.  He’s also been pressuring me to share my writing with him.  I talked it over with Fiance and he told me to go for it.  He pointed out that I can’t get published if I won’t let anyone read my work.  I’m secretly terrified I write poorly, or worse- that I write drivel!  I don’t think I do, but I also don’t think I’m actually as good as I believe I am.  Well, all I can do is move forward and try and keep on revising.

So, I found the cancer story and read it and retyped it.  It’s good and with some polishing it could maybe get published.  I sent NK three of my poems and one of my short stories.  He said it was very nice and good stuff.  Today was riddled with anxiety but I did it.  I’m trying.  We will see how this whole sharing thing goes.  Head up and get it written so the world can see.  It’s just hard because I write my heart onto paper…

 

Choose to Dwell in Smiles

Past, faraway past lingering no more

The darkness of the world scares me.

There’s a shadow on my heart from you, for your

I don’t want to dwell in silence.

I don’t want to let the darkness in.

The light inside shines too bright to hold

this fear inside.  I let you go to free myself

and dwell in smiles.

The memories ache and hardly seem to fade

but without you I’m better off.  I’m free to be.

I wander seeking happiness, the lights to keep

away the dark.  I don’t see you.  I don’t need

you.  I am wrapped in light with no room

for shadows on my heart.