I don’t remember the details of that day, I only remember feeling. I don’t remember what my neurologist told me, which examination room we were in, or even exactly which month it was. I think it was April. My mind was still ‘foggy’ and I was still extremely dependent (not that I’m not dependent now). All I knew, and all I can remember, are the feelings from that day. I had shuffled in with my walker, taken a seat, and at some point near the end of the appointment, I was told that I couldn’t have children.
I didn’t think about it. From then on I made sure to tell Brain not to think about it whenever anything remotely related to children came up. Don’t think about that, Brain. We’ll figure it out. Don’t worry, we’ve got this. For a while I would shut down a part of me when I’d see my niece or nephew. I wanted to enjoy being around them without the sadness. The sadness eventually goes away, right? Please?
I was so jealous when one of my closest friends told me and Adam that she was pregnant. I was angry. Sad. Relieved. Hurt. Angry. Hurt. Angry. Numb.
Then she had a miscarriage and I cried. She was so sad and so I was sad with her. It took a little while for it to sink in that, while I was sniffling into my pillow at night, I was crying for both of us. I cried for her and the baby who hadn’t lived long enough to meet his or her wonderful parents, and I cried for the baby I would never have. It hurt, and I still shed a few tears when I think about that period of time and the children I’ll never meet. So I tried to accept it, that I would never be able to have a baby. It had never been an issue in the past. It wasn’t an issue until I was told that I couldn’t have a child. I was sorry for not being able to and I don’t know why. And I was angry.
Last month I was told that I had misunderstood. And so I became angry again.
I had only recently begun to accept that adoption or surrogacy were my options if I wanted to have children. What the fucking fuck did you do to deserve this? Why didn’t you understand the first time? Why didn’t you ask more questions? I should have been happy, relieved…right? But I wasn’t. Not when I had only recently come to terms with the idea that a baby wasn’t in my future. Why wasn’t I happy?
And so I can have children, at a high risk. I don’t want to risk missing anything, though, should another stroke happen during or after pregnancy, and so I don’t think that I’ll have a child. I think that I’ll adopt a child in my city and go from there. I think. I don’t know.
I thought that I was done with the surprise newsbombs, but I wasn’t.
A few days ago my neurologist called me directly to let me know that she had referred me to a cardiologist for an evaluation and final decision on a heart surgery. I stopped paying attention to what she was saying after that. I mean, I heard what she said and I responded, but I just remember the ringing in my ears and the beating of my silly, silly, defective heart. You see, the
transcranial doppler (TCD) I’d had last year had revealed a defect in my heart, a PFO.
The birth control that I had been on the year of the stroke had been ruled out as the cause of the stroke and the PFO was the only remaining possible contributor. Closing it should be a good thing. Right? It’s so hard to trust myself and what I feel and think since the stroke, though, so I don’t… know. I’ve visited my neurosurgeon. I’ve been stuck full of needles on my head and in my throat during acupuncture. I’ve looked at the ground while sitting and become so dizzy that closing my eyes made it worse. I’ve been scared of rain, shadows, sleeping and wondering if I’d wake up, never being able to lift my head without assistance, falling, never again running, becoming too fatigued to remain sitting upright, never regaining my eyesight, never recovering, always needing assistance, always being left behind by people I never thought would leave me behind, always being a burden, always needing. And I’m so angry.
But I got through all of those things, or at least a good deal of them. And this heart surgery? Bah. This heart surgery is nothing compared to what things like Ben and Cecilia, two friends from the stroke groups at TIRR, have been through. Multiple major brain and heart surgeries, strokes, TIAs, a Moyamoya diagnosis… I have it really good. It’s a very minor procedure in comparison. I shouldn’t be freaking out. But am I freaking out about the surgery or am I freaking out because I thought that I was done with procedures?
I don’t know. I just don’t know.