Knowledge is a Burden, Hope Kills and Intelligence Eventually Leads to Insanity
“You cannot always wait for the perfect time…Sometimes you must dare to jump.”
When is a good time to tell a man you can’t give him a child? “Hi! Yeah nice to meet you too…Yeah you can have my number, yeah we can go out sometime, but I can’t ever give you children!” Ha!
It is hardy an appropriate topic to discuss on a first date. But if you wait a while, get to know each other and something becomes of it. Then you have led the poor guy on and will have to break the news after he has already become emotionally involved! Surely that is wrong?
I have too many questions that don’t seem to have any answers. I have heard so many people complain about there not being a book on how to be a parent but there aren’t any on how to not be a parent either! What about all of those women out there who can’t have children of their own. Can’t give the man they love a child of his own. What do they do? What will they do with their lives after they have succeeded in their career choice or whatever other ambitions they choose to pursue. Family becomes even more important when you are older. When the roles reverse and the child becomes the parent. Who will look after me then?
I get angry sometimes! I will be unable to have a child, not because I am infertile. Not because any of my woman parts don’t work correctly. I am all woman and in perfect working order. I can have children. It’s just that stupid medication! It makes me so angry. We are living in the future now. It’s 2013. Why are there no other options? What they are telling me just isn’t good enough! I am so angry! I hate my stupid crappy heart!
These random childish outbursts don’t help anyone though. Anger is not an emotion to be utilised if a positive outcome is to be expected. I have used anger as a fuel for so many years and the outcome was never pretty. I have faced and overcome many adversaries during the course of my life and as a result I have become a stronger, more resilient individual. Perhaps a little more crazy than your average woman these days but I like to think of that as a quality! This issue will not be my downfall, it will the epitome of me!
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength!”
I like to laugh. It’s part of who I am and I laugh a lot! So it was only natural for me to laugh when the cardiologist looked at me in that almost patronizing, almost caring, almost tearful manner. “So I’m no longer a miracle then?” I asked before another little giggle slipped out.
“I am very sorry” she started. The woman was too close to me. I could hear what she was saying. I guess I already knew but she was just too close to me! I could smell her shampoo and see the beginnings of fine lines around her eyes and mouth. Her lips were stained pink and they twisted as she repeated the words I already knew! I understood every word but I just couldn’t concentrate. Her nose was inches away from my face and I had this awful urge to bite it! It was just right there, in my face!
“Are you ok?” she asked again and again. How many times did I have to say yes? “Are you sure you are ok? This is a lot to take in and I understand it is extremely difficult news for you. Are you sure you are ok?” I noticed the silk of her shirt and the ring on her finger. I wondered how much she gets paid for doing this job. Was the fine silk shirt just part of a casual ensemble for her and was that simple but expensive and classy necklace part of her everyday collection? Perhaps it was a gift..from a man? I wondered when did she last have sex? Did she enjoy it? What will she have for dinner tonight? Does she have kids…or was that taken away from her too?
I realised she was still talking. Still being the concerned consultant. I felt a lump in my throat as pools of water found their way to my eyes. I took a deep breath and told her one final time that I was OK and stood to leave. I was not getting caught up in her moment of feeling emotion for a patient. I was not upset, I had always known this day would come. I just didn’t think it would be today!
There was no new information to be understood or evaluated. I had researched it all already. I had a choice of two heart valves: a pigs valve or a mechanical valve. The pigs valve wouldn’t last very long and ran the risk of being rejected by my body. Major heart surgery is not something I would like to have done on a regular basis, I certainly wouldn’t class it as a hobby! The mechanical valve was more permanent, it would last for the rest of my life. Although this may seem like a ‘no-brainer’, there is however a catch. There is always a catch! To enable the blood to pass through this mechanical valve, a daily anti-coagulant drug must be taken. The particular drug used for this today is known as warfarine and unfortunately for me, this drug will not allow a child to develop in the womb.
So there is my choice; take up open heart surgery as a hobby with the constant risk of my body rejecting the valve, or play it safe, get fixed and forget about ever having children of my own.
As I left the hospital I tried to keep a clear head. I wanted to keep it simple and stay positive. I had two exams in the next week and I was dreading breaking the news to my family. I didn’t have time to be upset or think and rethink my options. I was given six months and right now I had exams to pass and nothing was getting in my way!
“Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength.”
Sometimes I am so scared, I worry people may actually be able to smell the fear coming off me in huge revolting waves. These bouts of fear then lead to shame. It is shameful to be this afraid and I am ashamed of myself for my lack of strength! Just sometimes…
I had my first major operation when I was just a baby. The doctors discovered I suffered from a condition know as Tetralogy of Fallot and corrective surgery was essential for my survival. I have no recollection of the open heart surgery although the regular hospital trips as a child are not easily forgotten. A large scar running the length of my torso is all I have in terms of evidence and that is just the way I like it.
The childhood hospital visits spilled over into adulthood and hospitals have become somewhat of a familiarity to me. Regardless of the seriousness of this heart condition I lived a very active lifestyle, I danced and boxed and even became a personal trainer among many other things. I took on everything life could throw at me and I just didn’t stop. The heart condition almost forgotten, coming to the forefront of my mind only to answer probing questions regarding the scar running down my chest. In which case I would proudly announce “I am a survivor!”
I always knew I would need another operation. Doctors repeatedly told me as a child that open heart surgery was inevitable as I would need a pulmonary valve transplant. I was made aware of the consequences of such an operation and of the terrible choices I would one day have to make regarding having children. I never could decide… The options I was given seemed too restricted and it didn’t even seem like I had a real choice. I decided to cross that bridge when I came to it.
Every trip to the hospital however, seemed to surprise even the cardiologists and I began to think that the inevitable might not be so inevitable after all. I was a miracle! Life took over and I moved around often. As a spontaneous young woman I liked to travel abroad to other cities, sometimes not even bothering to return. Some may call that traveling although many have referred to me as a ‘rocket’. Without reason or any planning at all, I liked to just go somewhere and live for a while.
Many hospital visits were missed and upon my return I was told I was no longer a miracle. I always knew this day would come….