April 12, 2011 at 11:24 am | Posted in Infertility, IVF #5: This is IT., The End of Trying | 6 Comments

I have a good friend who was diagnosed about a year and a half ago with Stage IV breast cancer.

Her cancer is estrogen-based and aggressive, but it’s been responding REALLY well to hormone therapy. She is nearly cancer-free right now.


Despite that, the cancer IS still there, present in her life. Every three months, she goes back for a PET scan. She takes daily medications, and will for the rest of her life.

And she recently told me that her focus right now is how to assimilate her cancer into her life, without making it her FOCUS.

Because if she got involved with every crusade against cancer that’s out there, she’d spend all her energy on that and never actually LIVE her life.


I know it’s different.


I’m starting to feel that way about infertility.

A few weeks ago, in the middle of an argument, J told me that he felt like I focused too much on infertility. That I was letting it define me.

At the time he said it, I was angry. Really angry, actually. Because I felt like he was PRESSURING me to be “over” infertility. Because it’s been clear that for a while now, he’s been done with treatments. And I know that doing this last cycle is for ME moreso than him, the cycle where we can say that we’ve tried absolutely EVERYTHING possible before we walk away.

I don’t want to wake up 5 years from now with regrets. I already have enough of them – I don’t need to add MORE to my list.

But when I really thought about what he said, I wondered.

What if he’s right?

What if I’m letting infertility be too much of a focus of my life?

Honestly? J is kind of right. I HAVE been defined by what’s going on with my life at the time. First my career. Then unemployment. Being engaged, getting married. Trying for a family. And yes, perhaps now I AM defined by our infertility and being a mom.

But, you know.

This is our last cycle. Ever. When I say EVER, I mean EVER. We’ll freeze extra embryos so that there’s potential of MAYBE an option in the future if we end up feeling differently, yes.

But we walk away if this one doesn’t work.

And I owe it to my family to really EXPLORE being done. That means being happy with our family as it exists TODAY, not some pipe dream of what it might be.

I can’t hold onto something I haven’t got.

So what I’ve really been trying to do, with this cycle, is work at having it stay the background. I do my shots every night, I will go for bloodwork and ultrasounds starting on Thursday morning.

But I’m working hard at making sure it’s not my FOCUS.

It’s been not THAT hard thus far, partly because the invasive-needing-to-schedule-stuff is still ahead of me.

But it’s work that I need to do.

Because, by damn, I WANT MY LIFE BACK.



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  1. I understand. I feel like it’s impossible for it NOT to be part of my life. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve figured out how not to make it my focus. And then something sets me off and sends me into a tailspin of depression and anger. It’s a vicious cycle that I can’t quite figure out how to escape from.

  2. These are wise words that your friend said… it got me thinking as well. I let so many things be the focus and the have been overtaking me lately. Maybe we will find that balance soon. HUGS

    BTW, what are the 3’s going for O? has he started pre school yet? How Potty training and big boy bed? Is he talking a lot?

  3. I understand … and I like the Mary Oliver quote that goes “what will you do with your one wild and precious life?” Imagine if each morning we woke with the purpose of answering that question …

  4. Finding balance can be tricky. I hope you can find it for this cycle and leave it, however it turns out, with no regrets.

  5. Balance is hard to find, even if you aren’t dealing with a medical issue. Throughout our lives we are constantly looking ahead: wait until we graduate, can’t wait to get married, can’t wait to have children, can’t wait for that promotion! It’s really hard to look at what we HAVE and be happy.

    Because in the end, you don’t want your causes to define you.

  6. {I was letting it define me. I felt like he was PRESSURING me to be “over” infertility. Because it’s been clear that for a while now, he’s been done with treatments. }

    Sister…I have walked MILES in these shoes. Infertility can reek havoc on a marriage. Truthfully….many many years (I’m talking 20+) after we were “done”, during an argument my husband brought up our seven years of trying. Not only did what he say blow me away….but the fact that it was SO LONG after. There was some resentment that was obviously buried in regard to what we both had wanted. It is a complicated subject.

    I just recommend HONEST talking. It’s okay if you don’t agree….just be sure that each of you are expressing how you really feel and not saying what the other wants to hear.

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