I’ve always wanted to be a mom, but at age 40, I had unsuccessfully frozen only three eggs after two procedures. The paltry result led to surgery, for what was believed at the time to be my prior endometriosis condition. It turned out to be a rare ovarian cancer called Granulosa Cell Tumor. I had an unexpected radical hysterectomy, oophorectomy, and woke up barren and devastated from my surgery.
Everything happened really quickly after that. My port was placed a week later, and chemo began ten days after that. I traveled cross country for my chemo treatments. I didn’t think I’d get through it.
What frightened me most was the hair loss, as I had just started a new relationship and already felt like so much less of a woman. After chemo was done, I found a group support group which helped me process, talk about, and confront emotions and experiences I had bottled up inside to get through that whirlwind of a life changing time.
I still remember having to turn back on my way to the airport because my nausea would creep in as I was on the phone with the airline to cancel my flight. Or holding onto my puke bag and somehow holding out until the last minute when we touched down…and then promptly filling two bags. My relationship fizzled, and I felt like there was nothing left to lose, including my hair.
But wanting to move forward with life, I went on dates wearing my wig in the hot humid summer months. I actually dated more that year of diagnoses and post chemo than I had the three years prior. The most powerful thing I learned was that while I really didn’t want to accept things, everything was part of my life story now. As I accepted this was who I was now and where I was at, I was surprised to find that none of the guys I liked most rejected me for having had cancer or being infertile. One year out, I am finding changing normalcy in today’s altered world. I am dating a wonderful man who walked 4 miles with me to my doctor’s appointment when I was scared to take public transportation. I am finding new joys in living moment to moment and letting go of a picture of what I thought life would be.
I’m still not sure what the future holds or why this all happened, but I’ve come to accept this is my journey, and I’ll do my best every step of the way. We each have our battles. Hang in there, everyone.
By Jupiter Lee