Posted on 1 Comment

6 Requirements of My Husband

It’s always been my hearts desire to have a family- to fall in love, get married and have children. I have spent years imagining what my husband would be like, what he would look like, what his career would be, his hobbies and personality traits. I have prayed for him, that the Lord be crafting together a man specially designed for me and that he be equipped with certain characteristics. It’s the prayer that all us women pray: “Lord, I pray that he is kind, thoughtful, smart and generous. I pray that he can always make me laugh and that we never run out of things to talk about. I pray that he is my best friend, travel buddy, and lights up at the thought of watching documentaries. Let him treat me with the utmost respect and love me as Christ loved the church. Allow him to be extra fine, chocolaty and attractive. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.”

Breast Cancer has altered this prayer somewhat. I’m realizing just how amazing my husband would have to be to handle all of this cancer, sickle cell goodness. His tolerance for all things medical is a must, and his compassion level must be a 10. The following are a list of things that I am now praying for, criteria that my husband must meet.

He must not mind a deformed boob.

Bonus points if he actually prefers it! Does that exist? Anywho, in its current state my right breast is one large wound. It has no skin and is bloody and gross. I have to change my wound dressing everyday and while you can make out what it is, its’s not the most attractive breast you’ve ever seen. Once the wound has healed, I’ll be eligible for surgery, in which I will get both breast removed. So if he is a breast man, this is not going to go well for him. I need a man who doesn’t care if they’re dented, scared, or missing a nipple. I need a man who despite this will still look at me like the sexy vibrant and exciting women that I am. May he come home at night still craving the cleavage I have left!

He must be okay with hospitals.

My husband must be okay with the occasional hospital stay. Now, visiting a loved one in the hospital is very different than being a care provider and staying with someone in the hospital. My husband will find himself responsible for making sure I don’t send embarrassing text messages while on morphine, keeping track of all medications given, advocacy work (which may include telling a doctor off), delivering food cravings to said patient, selecting riveting TV movies to fall asleep to, be the main source of contact for our family, friends, and employers/employees, act as a nurse when they’re nowhere to be found, and attempt to sleep in semi comfortable recliner chairs while machines beep in your ear. I can’t control when I may be ill, so he must be okay with the possibility of spending a major holiday on the inside, or missing the Mavericks game which he bought tickets for months ago. Sigh. Now it’s, not all downhill! I typically have an unlimited supply of graham crackers while in the hospital, which I’m more than willing to provide you with. Just call me the graham cracker plug.

He must not be attached to hair.

Chemotherapy and radiation has taken my hair twice now. While it’s currently attempting to grow back now, I’m never certain how long that will last. I’m very bald and he is going to have to be okay with any hairstyle I bring to the table. Whether I’m bald, have short hair, choose a wig or am able to grow long locs, he will have to accept me for me. Now, as a black women I’m not asking for anything out of the ordinary as we stay changing our hairstyles. I just ask that he comes knowing that “no hair, don’t care” is always an option. Who knows, maybe we will be balddies together! Sexy.

He must have an understanding for the need to nap.

I don’t plan on ending my love affair with naps, despite our committed relationship. I. Must. Sleep. While I forsee having to take naps less as my healing progresses, I don’t anticipating living life without it. I take emense joy and pleasure in my Sabbath Hour everyday, and pray my husband won’t mind spending a little downtime with me. Do I like to turn up? Heck yes! I love me some adventure time! Just give me a heads up so I, like a toddler, can plan my nap accordingly and be ready to go!

He must be flexible with the idea of parenting.

I have always wanted children. I desire to experience pregnancy, birth, parenthood- the whole nine yards. I went to see a fertility doctor when I was first diagnosed with cancer. My doctor wanted me to know my fertility options being that chemo can cause infertility. I was told by the specialist that with cancer and sickle cell combined, I have little chance at getting pregnant. That even when I beat the cancer I should wait five years before getting pregnant. He suggested that I consider freezing my eggs for in vetro fertilization, a possible surrogate or adoption as possible avenues. I was crushed. Then I was reminded that God has the final say in this matter too. I didn’t freeze my eggs; it felt like a decision that I wanted to do with my husband. I’m open to God’s miracles, including adoption. My husband must understand this and be onboard for it. Our family could look unconventional, and he must love it all the same!

He must have faith,

This is of utmost importance to me. He is required to believe in my complete and total healing. I need him to remain unwavering in this, not only for me but for himself. This is for the benefit of our peace, joy and hope in the forward progression of our lives, marriage and family. I’ll need the occasional reminder of just who God is, when I’m in the thick of medical storms. He will too and I pray that our faith is such that we will be able to uplift and encourage each other in the Lord. He must be able to look at me and at any obstacles that come our way and say, “God is good and this has already been conquered.”

I don’t ask or expect perfection. How can I, as I’m not willing to attempt to be perfect myself? But I do ask the Lord to send me someone who sees me, and sees past all of the obstacles before me. I ask that he see my destiny and the miracles before me. I pray that he believes in me; believes I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me. I pray he sees the God in me, and falls madly in love with Him. I pray that all of my new cancer insecurities will mean nothing to him, and that he will respect and love me more because of them and not despite them. I pray for bravery and vulnerability for both of us. I pray that God is molding the perfect human just for me.

I can’t wait to meet this piece of awesomeness!

Posted on 8 Comments

Fertility


I’m the only single person in his waiting room.

There are two couples in the same room as I, one to my left the other to my right, both holding hands and whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ear. They could have been cussing each other out for all I know, but all I see is love and hope for a family, and all this perceived love blinds me to their pain temporarily. All I see is bliss.

The fertility clinic’s website is plastered with photos of babies, families and flowers- all things specially designed to make you ovulate upon viewing. After laying 3 eggs, I scroll through the feed in disbelief that life has brought me to this place. I’m 30, single and contemplating having my eggs frozen because chemo may leave me infertile. Because cancer.

This was a discussion and a journey I was suppose to have with my husband, and in some odd way I feel as though I’m steeling that from him, like I’m envisioning our children way too soon and inadvertently leaving him behind. It’s a carriage before the horse situation, and I feel forced into it. Robbed of the “natural” process. I realize that this may be a feeling that I should get use to, and perhaps embrace.

While waiting between love birds in the waiting room, my mind swirls around the oddest thoughts:

– I would never freeze my baby, so why is freezing my eggs okay?

– Can you freeze chicken eggs?

– I wonder who’s sperm will eventually fertilize these things?

– I wonder if a doctor has ever dropped someone’s eggs on the ground. I’d be so pissed.

– Is there an expiration date on eggs? God I hope it’s longer than what’s in my fridge ( which is currently spoiled I’m sure).

– Can they accidentally squish an egg when harvesting them? Is so, could that produce a lumpy headed baby? I mean, I’d love him anyhow.

I watch couples leave the waiting room to meet with doctors and find myself alone with my thoughts for a while. I use this time to dream, to hope, to pray. I vividly imagine having my own family- a husband, 3 girls and a dog. I’ve always had an unexplainable desire to have children, to have a full family, to be a wife and mother. I can get lost in these dreams for hours if I allow myself too. I do.

It wasn’t until one of the couples who moments ago had looked so joyful, walked back into the waiting room in tears, was I pulled back into reality. It was then that I realized that this is simultaneously a place of hope and shattered dreams. Everyone is here because it didn’t work, something went wrong and there is a heart wrenching desire to fix it. Some leave in joyful anticipation of newborns, becoming parents and developing family. Others, like me, have their dreams deferred. I feel foolish for my envy and bitter thoughts towards them. They’re hurting as I am.

The doctors prognosis is bleak- a combination of Sickle Cell Anemia and Cancer makes my chances of having children of my own small. The doctor forces me to think about fertility treatment, egg harvesting, sperm donors and surrogates- a conversation he starts within the 15 minutes I have with him, and doesn’t have the time to finish. As I’m processing all 245 of my options, I’m told that it’s somewhat of a moot point because I must wait 5 years after remission to have children (provided that I can). Five. Years. I quickly crunch the numbers in my head- I’ll be 36 before I can consider having children of my own. At this very moment in time, I give up. This was the icing to my crap cake. It is now abundantly clear that the narrative of my life isn’t and will never be described as normal, predictable, explanatory, “natural”, simple, “correct” or any other peaceful adjective. My life is quite the contrary: unpredictable, unrelenting and messy. At this moment I’m forced to drop any fantasy of life becoming simple and reconcile with these truths: you’re 30, single, living with your sister in an apartment, in the second year of your career, with breast cancer. It’s an odd and striking reminder that you didn’t fall in love with your college sweetheart, get married, buy the house, pet the dog, climb the career ladder, and have the beautiful children by the time you were 30. That didn’t happen. It won’t happen.

It’s clear I’m like a unicorn- special and a little off. I make the decision to embrace this.

Naturally not immediately. I left the clinic feeling destroyed. The labored conversation around my eggs, uterus and lack of sperm has left me disappointed and drained. All of the options the doctor presented to me isn’t for me. A viable option for someone but not for me. It’s hard for me to explain exactly why. I just know that my spirit is resolved to stop this fertility journey here, for now. So I cry. I cry from Dallas to Arlington where I find cute earrings to make me temporarily stop crying. They’re really cute so they get me to shut up for the rest of the day.

The next day I make the decision to embrace my life in the package that it’s in, to fully be content with how my present came to be and how my future will unfold. It’s all trivial, compared to the life I know Christ has for me, the life I believe He is preparing me for. Because Jeremiah 29:11-12. Because what could man possibly say to me that would shake me loose from the goodness, grace, love and kindness of God? What diagnosis could snatch away hope rooted in Him? None. Because Jesus.

These two things remain true:

God is Good

God will receive the glory