So, I know this topic will seem a bit out of the blue, but it’s one of those topics that I felt I needed to add b/c not many women talk about it. And so far, none of the blogs I’ve read have ever mentioned it either. It’s regarding children, or rather, the choice of not having children post-transplant.
A song came on the radio the other day where the man sang about seeing the future of his and his lover’s lives together (with children, etc.) in her eyes (Damn! To have THAT skill…), and it stuck with me and kind of made me giggle. What if he was singing that to me, all romantic and mushy, and I had to cut him short and be all “Um… can I stop you there? Sorry, we need to talk.”
See, I’ve chosen not to have children biologically. There are a number of reasons why I’ve made this choice, but it seems to be a topic that most women in my situation are shy to say out loud because it can be so controversial. I have had a couple of boyfriends break up with me because they thought I was “unhealthy” or because I was not willing to have “his” children. I’m not sorry they are no longer a part of my life b/c it’s obvious that they were never meant for me to begin with. I’ve even heard someone say, in so many words, that a woman’s life is “worthless” if she doesn’t have children. I’m sorry that these people feel so strongly for such a shallow point-of-view, and that is why I’m writing this post.
I’ve watched as my friends and coworkers have expanded their families and raised beautiful children of their own, however, whenever the tables turn and I am asked the question that all women without children get – “So, when do you think YOU will have kids?” – I’ve noticed that sometimes when I responded, it was almost apologetically, as if I had to be ashamed of that choice, as if I was embarrassed to go against what society seems to expect of me as a woman to do because I have a uterus. (I promise, I’m not launching into a woman’s lib speech, bear with me!)
A lot of my choice is based on my medical issues. While I’ve never been the type of girl who’s always dreamed of giving birth to my own army, it was a big punch in the gut when my doctors – one by one – began telling me how high of a risk I’d be should I ever try to have children. They all basically told me that if I REALLY REALLY wanted to have a child, they would find a way to make it happen, but they strongly advised me against it saying it could very possibly kill me.
As a woman, the idea of having the ability to give life taken away from me was very sad and disheartening. It was so final, and yes, I even struggled with the whole “isn’t this what makes me a woman?” question. Luckily, the feeling was short-lived. It became just another one of those choices I’ve had to make in order to maintain a healthy life and…well, to actually STAY alive. I’m not saying that women can’t have babies post-transplant. Not at all. A lot of women have successfully had children post-transplant, and a lot of women with Type 1 Diabetes have successfully done the same. It’s the combination, however, of having Type 1 Diabetes, a transplant, heart issues, and Celiac Disease (which I’ve been reading can sometimes cause infertility), that makes for a very life-threatening situation that I am not ready to risk. I fought too hard to KEEP this life, I’m not about to lose it any time soon!
Not only that, but most of my health issues are hereditary. While it’s not guaranteed, I don’t want to take the chance of passing any of my health issues on to a child if I know I have the ability to prevent it. It’s one thing for ME to have the strength to go through all this, but I would not be able to stomach watching an innocent child suffer through what I had to. Nope! Not for me.
Every person is different and it is a very important and personal decision to make. A human life is not something I’m willing to gamble just for the sake of genetics, or to fit into society’s idea of what my role in life should be. I HAVE a family. A WONDERFUL one that consists of my parents, my sister, my relatives, and all of my friends who shape my existence and give me a very fulfilling and purposeful life! Deciding to be childless post-transplant has been promising for me b/c it’s giving me the opportunity to spend more time with the people I love, and I am not sorry for that. If this is your decision too, I hope you feel just as confident being able to say the same. 🙂
Things I’m thankful for today:
- I have a strong circle of child-free girlfriends who keep me from feeling as if I’m the only person alive not having babies.
- I’m thankful to have parents who have never pressured me or guilted me into feeling as if I had to give them grandchildren. They love my kitties just as much as I do. 🙂
- Excited that in a month, I’ll be in Austin getting to visit with friends whom I haven’t seen in WAAAAY too long!
Wow… ok, so much for my New Year’s resolution about sticking to a more consistent blogging schedule! LOL! Maybe my new resolution should be to work on better resolutions! I’ll add that to this year’s list. Jot that down.
So, I am going to justify my “leave” by saying that a ton of stuff has been going on this year that has kept me insanely busy – to the point that I have not stopped to give you the time you deserve! So, let’s take a break, grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and curl up on the couch to catch up. Actually, my couch doesn’t fit that many people, and I’m not a fan of PSLs, so how about I just blog about it? 😉
In order to not overwhelm you with the many new updates of my increasingly ceaseless lifestyle (yes, I’m being totally sarcastic…kind of… it HAS been busy), today, I’m only going to focus on the biggest recent change – travel. I say “change”, but really, it’s a return to my life pre-transplant/sick-time…just different. On one hand, I’m absolutely LOVING being “on the road again”, however, the highway is less straight and wide open than it used to be, it’s now filled with twists and bumps! Before I got sick, I used to travel a lot for work. I loved it! I was adventurous and fearless trying new foods, meeting new people, dancing till my feet would literally throb… anything that created the most fun and crazy stories and memories! These days, my travel has a completely different feel. I’ve become this overly cautious grandma! What??? What happened to me? Who am I?
Well, I’ll tell you what happened… my “new life” happened. I once had a panic attack in the middle of one trip fearing what would happen if I got sick while in a “strange” city. Who would know what all my “issues” are if I couldn’t speak for myself? Where is the nearest hospital/ER? Would they be able to treat me? (In one case, they even admitted they couldn’t!) No one knows me or would even know what to do to help!
I am still going through a lot of changes post-transplant that require adjustment. And that’s how I’m regarding this… an adjustment. It’s all about being a boy scout. (Not literally… I have no desire to be a 7 year-old boy!) I have to be prepared. I have to think 10 steps ahead of everything I do, and I’m learning more with each trip I take.
When I fly now, I have to be very careful of the recycled air and germy, nasty fold-down tables in the plane b/c of my low immune system (yes, I pack clorox wipes for this reason). I have to take into consideration where I travel – no 3rd world countries – so even some work trips are a no-go. When I am in a new city, I have to do extensive research on where I can eat due to the Celiac disease (there’s an awesome app for that – Find Me Gluten Free). When I’m in large crowds, I have to be aware of who’s coughing, what I’m touching, where the nearest “exit” is in case I get glutened, and so on and so on. It’s exhausting, but I’m learning to adjust to this “new life” one step at a time (as are my very patient friends – God bless them!).
Now, back to my resolutions… with this blog, I thee vow that I am making progress on my “accepting my new self” resolution. I am no longer the same carefree Cameron Diaz character I once liked to believe I was, but I’m able to go out and see the world again and if that means I have to be more Howie Mandel with my actions so I can do so, I’ll gladly take it! 🙂
Things I’m thankful for today:
1. Getting to spend an amazing weekend in Nashville with my Jersey girls – Jen and Carm! It’s so glad to see that sometimes some things don’t change. 🙂
2. Luck! After accidentally taking a big bite of a panko-covered fried banana (I thought it was a GF cheese bread ball), I did NOT get sick from being glutened!
3. Virgin Airlines – they have a fun and modern take on the flying experience, AND they offer safe GF food/snack options in-flight! Woohoo!
4. All beef hot dogs – for when there is nothing else in an all-fried/deli-filled food court to eat that’s safe to eat.
5. That my mom’s foot is healing better after her 3rd foot surgery within the last few months. Mom, your new toe will be something to show off in sandals for our Hawaii trip! 🙂
6. My new gray sweater/cardigan – definitely the most comfy, squishy, warm sweater I’ve ever bought! It’s like the perfect blanket for all those freezing planes (and meeting rooms).
7. Shout out to my friends Elissa and Nick – they are going to have their first baby this Christmas! Congrats to you both! 🙂
Happy New Year 2016!!!!
I have said this once, and I’ll continue to say it until I’m blue in the face, but I LOVE the holiday season! No, I’m not saying “holiday” to be all PC and such…I say “holiday season” because I include New Years Day in this beautiful package. Not only have I been able to spend some good quality time with my favorite people, watching as they thoroughly enjoy their blessings, and personally benefiting from the amazing sales this month (75% off??? Hello new wardrobe!), but I’m also able to take the past year and relish in what I’ve gained…I’m able to look back over the year and see exactly what I have to be thankful for and how I’ve grown. New Years Day is also a huge inspiration and symbol of hope for me. It’s a new beginning and a way to start fresh with anything and pretty much everything.
So, using the lyrics of Great Big World’s awesome anthem to New Years, (go ahead and listen to it while reading…give it a sec, it’ll put a smile on your face!) I’m going to breakdown my resolutions for this year!
“Say everything you’ve always wanted”
This year, I vow to be a bit more strong in my message. I have always been very careful when talking about things I’d like to promote for fear that it would offend someone or put some sort of label on me. (Then again, you can’t post ANYTHING these days without offending someone!) I don’t usually post any of my support for JDRF, American Heart Association, Celiac Disease Foundation, and many others on social media because I fear becoming a “poster child” or “that girl” who’s always pushing her health agenda. I have no intention of being a poster child pushing any type of agenda, but I should not fear being supportive and helping when/where I can! From now on, I won’t hide and instead will be more openly vocal about my involvement. After all, how else does awareness work if you don’t say a word?
On that note, here’s my first step… Jan 5th marks my 2-year kidney-versary!!! Kirby will have been living strongly within me for two years and I plan on celebrating this every single year in honor of his/the transplant team’s success and the life of my precious donor. This year, my mom, my sister and I all had our nails done to celebrate Kirby and my donor, and when anyone asks me what the green ribbon is for, I will gladly tell them. 🙂
“Be not afraid of who you really are”
Part of my resolution above fits this piece of the puzzle. However there is another shallow part of me that also needs some work. I had dinner with a very good friend the other night, and as we talked, I was reminded of my flawed self-perception. I always believed that I was a pretty strong person with a good sense of self, however with every word that came out of my mouth, I realized I still have many improvements to make (don’t we all???). He helped me see that most of my insecurities were things that are unimportant. I speak of vanity and my self-confidence. I have many reasons…no, I rephrase…”excuses” that would justify why I feel the way I do about myself, but I have THOUSANDS more reasons to squash those excuses into dust. I have so much more to offer than a few wrinkles on my face, some chubby cheeks that show up at odd angles, or a few years that have crept up on me all too quickly. I have fought some pretty big battles and won them (health and otherwise). I have made my career my own. I have never stopped going for what I believe in and have always (eventually) come out on both feet. Why should I feel bad about those few shallow things I see in the mirror when everything else is so much cooler than that? 2016 will be my year to finally accept myself as the “me” I am now and not the “me” I used to be (who I kept striving to be again). There is nothing wrong with a smarter, wiser, healthier, and albeit a few years older Nachomama! 🙂 I won’t lie, I will still be attempting to improve my fitness routine in order to look better at an upcoming beach trip, but I also plan on focusing more on the health benefits this time rather than the vanity. Baby steps…
“‘Cause in the end we have each other…and that’s at least one thing worth living for.”
This resolution is a bit different, and it’s something that has been bothering me for awhile. Yes, I try to volunteer for various organizations because I believe in their goals. However, there are times when I still feel as if I can do more. How can I make a more direct impact? What do I have to offer? All I have is what I know, and I believe that we are all encouraged to help others using even just that. This year, to further my pursuit in philanthropy, I plan on using what I’ve learned via my experiences and knowledge to research how I can further help make a difference. I will post more on this as I figure it out!
And that, my friends, is my list of resolutions for 2016. Wait, I have a few more smaller goals (I have to publish them so that you will all hold me to them!):
- to learn a new culture (I kind of already do this whenever I choose a new book to read, however, it’s fascinating and I plan to do more via travel as well)
- to lower my A1C score to below 7
- to be on a more consistent schedule with my blog…hee! (maybe I’ll even take off the “snow” that has been falling on this blog continuously for two years! hahaha… after winter is over, though, of course.)
So, to summarize this exciting initial blog post for the year, I’ll again quote lyrics from this post’s song:
“Another year you made a promise
Another chance to turn it all around
And do not save this for tomorrow
Embrace the past and you can live for now”
Truer words never spoken. 🙂 Can’t wait to hear what your resolutions are!
Things I’m thankful for today:
1. My kitchen is starting to finally feel like a REAL kitchen! Santa brought me some amazing foodie-gadgets that I’ve been eyeing, and one of them was a Kitchen-Aid mixer!!! WOOHOOO! If you have ever tried to bake anything from scratch using a mediocre hand mixer and/or spoon, you will understand the excitement. Thank you Santa! 🙂
2. A very dear family friend of ours has generously blessed us with the use of their vacation home in Hawaii, so my family is going on its first trip to Hawaii this year! I’m so excited I could spit! (I won’t… I’m not a camel…) However, you can absolutely guarantee I’ll be on the search for Alex O’Loughlin the entire time I’m there! 😛
3. Vacation time. For the first time ever, I took off work for the week between Christmas and New Years. WHY have I never done this before??? Sleeping in, cooking all my meals (ie. not having to eat out all the time), getting errands done… finally, relaxing, binge-watching all my shows on Netflix/DVR… yes, I believe I have finally learned the appreciation of true vacation time. Now, I’ve got to retrain my sleeping schedule so that I can get up for work next week. Ugh…
4. Christmas decorations. I think I post this every year, but this year was the first time in 4 years I’ve been able to pull out all of my OWN Christmas stuff to decorate my apartment. I love evenings with the Christmas tree lights on, the fireplace all done up with our stockings, the goofy elf feet and Santa hats I have all over the place! It’s impossible to come home and NOT feel happy!
5. My dad has finally found a doctor who could help him with his ankle. He’s been in tons of pain and has not had an easy time getting around due to injuries that were caused years ago. Now, hopefully, he’ll be able to walk without pain or a limp! Yaay!!! Mom, you’re next! 😀 #TakingCareOfBusiness #TakingCareOfFamily