By Guest Writer - July 13, 2020
My husband and I had not made up our minds on whether we wanted children or not. I guess I was waiting for that "biological urge" that I was told would happen. I imagined it would be like a switch that turned on and all of a sudden I would definitely, without a doubt, want to be a mom. I was still waiting for that feeling when I was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma in 2013 at 32-years-old.
Out of nowhere I had to make a decision. For my husband, it seemed easy. He wanted me more than anything else. His words and love filled my heart. For me though, it wasn't that easy. This was my job as a woman. I was supposed to further the family line and time was not on my side. I quickly contacted the University of South Florida for fertility preservation options. They were very informative and compassionate, but the price tag sent me into sticker shock. On top of that, I did not have the right type of cancer so insurance wouldn't cover any of it. That’s when I realized the decision had been made for me.
I did not get to make my own decision. That made me angry. I was angry at everyone. The one thing that I could do, that I could bring into this world, wasn't mine to do anymore. Never would there exist a unique little person made up of a little bit of me and a little bit of the most awesome man I had ever known. People eager to help me feel better told me I had options. I could have someone else carry for me or adopt someone else's child. The suggestions came pouring in and I hated all of them. I was disappointed in myself for being angry at people that were just trying to help and for hating the idea of adoption. So many children are in need of good homes. It didn't matter though. Reason didn't matter.
I had to focus on something I could control. I moved on to the next important decision I had to make... go forth with treatment and stay positive. It became my job, and for the next year I thought about little else. Our lives revolved around my treatment. Even when we tried to do normal things, like having dinner with friends, my situation was always the elephant in the room.
Once I was on the other side of treatment, the decision hit me again. I threw myself into the 'what-ifs.' What if I tried harder to come up with a financial plan; what if I missed a way to get insurance to help; what if I had said no to treatment altogether. It wasn't a healthy road to go down. It wasn't until after I had finished beating myself up that I let myself grieve a child we would never have. I imagine he would have dark hair and hazel eyes or if we had a girl, she would have long wavy hair, tied back in pig tails and she would say the cutest things.
It’s been more than five years since that decision. I joined a Facebook group for Ewing sarcoma survivors. Occasionally, someone will ask about fertility after treatment and dozens of comments come back with ages of children conceived after treatment and how well everyone is doing. I love reading through all of those comments. It gives me hope. I don't know if I can have children at this point. I have not pursued the answer to that question. I have not asked myself why that is.
This year, my husband and I celebrated our 39th birthday and our ninth wedding anniversary in April. We have three furry, four-legged children and an amazing network of family and friends. We travel when we can. We spent three beautiful weeks in Europe last year. There is no adventure or challenge I wouldn't accept (except jumping out of a plane... pretty sure I would not do that). I've climbed walls of ice in Colorado, backpacked through Montana, camped in South Africa and dove with sharks in Gansbaai. I love my life. I am happy, and I am grateful to be alive.
This article was written by Moffitt patient and cancer survivor Megan Wing.