This week, I had a birthday milestone that has me a little freaked out: I'm the same age my mom was when she gave birth to me, and I'm nowhere near having a kid. To be completely honest, that fact breaks my heart.
I am not child-free. I am childless.
I want to have kids and to be a mother. I love my brothers' children with all my heart, but I ache to have my own child. My Facebook feed is filled with pregnancy or birth announcements, and each time, I feel like I've been punched in the stomach. I scroll down other people's happiness, and I feel this void. I hide the fact that some of my friends' announcements have caused me to walk away and cry. I'm happy for them, but at the same time, I'm sad for me, and I'm angry at my body for failing me.
In a week, I'll be meeting with my oncologist, and I'll start receiving monthly Lupron shots to shut down my ovaries for at least six months. This might happen for a year (that is, if I can tolerate the side effects), ending when I'm 34. Since my breast cancer was so strongly estrogen positive, he wants me to have some estrogen-free time under my belt before I start procreating. I agree with him, as does my boyfriend. We are both 100 percent on board with Unibrow's Death to Estrogen plan. I will never be able to pursue having children unless I give this Breast Cancer Plan B a good try. I couldn't tolerate Tamoxifen and so therefore, the odds of me having a distant recurrence (i.e. metastatic breast cancer) are higher than those who do take the five years.
Because of my inability to take Tamoxifen for more than six months, I often worry about my future, but not in the ways most early-30 somethings worry. Not a day goes by where I don't second-guess my decision about Tamoxifen. I'll feel a pain in my hip or lower back, and immediately think, "Oh my God, what if this is mets?"
Sometimes I imagine there's an alternate Lara, one who has never had breast cancer, out there in the universe. I imagine she's happily married (to my boyfriend - what a whore, I should beat her!) and has one, maybe two little rugrats to take care of. She's traded in her reliable four-door Sedan, and she's driving around the suburbs in a used mini-van with a kid-friendly iPod playlist. This alterna-Lara doesn't go to the hospital or regular doctors' visits - she goes to playdates. This Lara doesn't suffer from depression and has to talk to a therapist every other week just to be able to deal with day-to-day life. Alterna-Lara looks at her daughter with love and pride, not fear and trepidation that a horrible disease has been passed down to her.
This isn't my reality, and I'm losing faith that this will ever be my reality.
File under: things I need to bring up to my therapist.