A new Florida Georgia Line (yes, I know, really!? but seriously) song has really caught my attention and I feel like it is the anthem of this moment. The song has a pretty simple line that makes up most of the ballad, “If it’s meant to be it’ll be, it’ll be, it’ll be, baby just let it be.” This is my song, right here, right now. I have never been able to just let it be. My whole life has been planned out. That’s who I am, a planner. But, my life, as of late, has gone anything but according to my plan. Now, that’s not to say that life is not great, because it is great, it is just not what I thought it was going to be.
Before June of 2016 I never let it be. But that month life took a turn for the unexpected and I lost control and really haven’t been able to regain control since. After trying to get pregnant for 6 months we were finally 6 weeks along. We were ecstatic that after disappointing months, HSG, progesterone, clomid, poking and prodding, and praying, so much praying here we were, “expecting”. We were cruising right along in the early stages of pregnancy and all of a sudden in the blink of an eye, on June 21, 2016 I was in excruciating pain and rushed into emergency surgery for an ectopic pregnancy.
At that moment we didn’t know the extent of the surgery. We would soon learn that not only did we have to deal with the removal of the pregnancy but also the removal of one of my two fallopian tubes because of the damage the ectopic pregnancy caused. That moment right there was the start to when everything started to go off course for us.
The next few days after the ectopic pregnancy were trying. The next few months were even more trying as we began to heal both physically and emotionally. Obviously the man doesn’t physically go through the pregnancy journey or loss but he still very much emotionally goes through it, and that is forgotten, often. I regularly look at my husband and admire his strength and ability to only look to the future and never look at the past. This man of mine never shows weakness and only shows strength for those around him, it is both admirable and unbelievable.
So, with the help of Danny’s strength and forward looking, we kept healing and enjoyed the Minnesota summer months. We decided that we would start trying again in the fall. I had my prescription of Clomid ready and my ovulation kit on standby. But something kept holding us back. Were we really ready to go down this road again? Are we still healing?
Regardless of what we thought we were feeling, on November 2, 2016, I went in for a routine physical. To the naked eye I was a healthy 27 year old, and had been told that at basically all of my physicals for my entire life, I was expecting to be told the same again this year.
But this time was different. During my examination the nurse practitioner felt a lump on my thyroid. A lump? What does that mean? Honestly, I had little to no knowledge of what a thyroid even was or what it did so how could I have a lump on it? But, here we were, a lump. I was quickly scheduled for an ultrasound. The ultrasound confirmed that there was in fact a lump. A biopsy the next day confirmed the lump was suspicious and in a matter of days surgery was scheduled for December 19, 2016 at Mayo Hospital.
Surgery day came and we waited around for 6 hours until the OR was ready. Danny, my mom and Danny’s parents were by my side as we waited for surgery to begin. One thing I can say is laughter is truly a powerful thing. We were in a tiny room for SIX hours just waiting but we didn’t forget to laugh. I kept looking at Danny, my mom and my in-laws and kept thinking about how lucky I was to have such an amazing team by my side.
Finally it was time for surgery, I wanted Danny to be by my side the entire time until the very last moment so he was with me until the second I was wheeled in to the OR. I went into the operating room, took an anesthesia induced snooze and just like that it was over and I was awake.
Surgery is a crazy thing, especially surgery where there is an unknown. I am the one who had surgery and before I knew the outcome, my loved ones were already informed. It’s probably better that way, so they can cope and grieve first before they need to be there for you. But, a part of me wishes I could have been there for them and we could have all found out together. I wanted to hold their hand when they found out the bad news, be next to them and tell them it would all be ok. But I wasn’t, so I took matters in to my own hands this time around and wanted to know the outcome before I saw my family. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who knows me, as I am a type A personality to the fullest. Well, what I learned from the nurse (who was extremely shocked that I was awake and talking after such a big surgery) was that the “C” word was now one of my words.
I always hear that thyroid cancer is one of the “best cancers” you can get. The survival rate is high and your overall life expectancy is not impacted as a result of the cancer diagnosis. I lose sight of this sometimes because in the almost year following surgery there have been numerous trips down to Mayo, a false all clear, full body scans, ultrasounds, PET scan, thyrogen stimulated scans, blood work, doctors appointments, radioactive iodine, you name it, we’ve done it. Yet, we have yet to get the true all clear. Something in my blood is still showing cancer cells, somewhere in my body there’s something. It’s hard for me to really comprehend that this is going on in MY body. It doesn’t feel like I’m “sick” how could I not be completely healthy when I feel completely fine.
And even though we have not been able to get answers about my cancer diagnosis we have found other health issues that have been fixed in the meantime. Just this past weekend I went in for another surgery that will hopefully help us in our quest to start a family. We would never have discovered the need for the surgery if it weren’t for my PET scan. So for that I am thankful for the PET scan that saw something just a little off that led us to discover this issue.
So here we are, almost two years and three surgeries later from when we first started on the road to begin a family. We are childless, not pregnant and at this time no timeline of when we will be having a plus one join us. We are constantly asked why we don’t have kids and have to laugh our way through a response while holding back the tears because it is just too difficult to talk about. But we are letting it be. We trust our journey and pray that it will be our time soon.
For now, what we have is hope. We have hope that we will get the all clear and we have hope that we will be able to start our family and join, what feels like, everyone around us, on Instagram, Facebook, and the world as parents. We know we will get our time and we will get to hear the magic words “you are cancer free” and later we will hear “you are pregnant.” We know it will come and we also know that our journey is really nothing in comparison to what it could be and what others have gone through.
We also know we are not alone. We are not the only ones going through infertility, cancer or even surgeries to achieve an end goal. Yes, it is a little unusual that we are going through all at the same time but we are not alone. It is incredibly easy to isolate yourself and think woe is me but whenever I reach a hurdle I always remember that it can be worse. I wake up every morning and am thankful for this life I live. It is not perfect, it is not my plan, but it is mine and I love every second of it, even in those not so happy times. This is the life that is meant to be mine. If it’s meant to be, it’ll be. I’m letting it be.