Monday, June 20, 2011

Love For The Childless Fathers

Yesterday, as I was driving home from Portland, I started thinking about all of the men that never get the chance to be fathers. I'm not talking about the men that don't want children, I'm talking about the men that yearn to find the right woman, or right mate, who due to lack of fertility or life circumstance, are childless.

Before I was diagnosed, Danny and I had talked about the concept of having children. Not a talk about getting started quickly, but in the way you joke about it. I have a mini puffed-up-arm-muscle-flexing caricature that I do whenever we mention children. I've always teased him about what a little Danny would look and sound like (the cutest imaginary boy in all of the land), but when you're not expected to live much longer than five years, your life choices and dreams change. Life becomes fluid, in fact, you become fluid.

Expectations change and your definition of happiness evolves. Instead of figuring out when to start a family, you wonder if you should start a family or if you will ever be able to have children. It's not a simple choice. Danny constantly tells me that his number one goal is to keep me healthy and alive as long as possible. He has reassured me that he's not worried about the lack of children, but I know he grieves for the alternative future, one that wouldn't include the brain tumor.

It's scary to think about getting pregnant. What if the tumor grows and doctors want to administer radiation, but can't because I'm pregnant, leading to an earlier death. What if I die and leave a child behind. What if I'm unable to care for the child because I deteriorate. How could I care for a child if I have to do another craniotomy and relearn things. All those thoughts swirl around our conversations when we talk about children. There's a lot of joy that comes with parenting, and yet there's insurmountable sacrifice and both physical and emotional exhaustion.

If anything goes wrong with my health, how could I expect Danny to care for me, and children. He's only one man. Whenever this tumor monster grows, I would have to be selfish and take care of myself first, but, how could I choose my heath over my child? I don't think I could. Other than a healthy diet and exercise, the doctors continuously remind me to rest, sleep as much as possible, and avoid stress. I think you can read between the lines.

When everything's up in the air, it's impossible to plan or know the right decision. I could die in two years or fifteen. My expected survival is a crap shoot, but at the same time I can't disregard it.

Danny and I are constantly weighing our choices. We're playing the guessing game of outsmarting this tumor. There are genes involved, and fate, there's food choices and exercise, there's rest and relaxation, and there's also the unknown.

On Danny and my first date, we were driving across the I5 bridge, the University of Washington in the distance. I remember looking over at him, and I thought to myself, "Wow. Danny, huh? Here I am with a guy I've known my whole life. How did I not see it. Now this is a man that I would actually love to have little babies with, and grow old together." It was a shocking thought for me. It hit like an epiphany. So simple, yet so profound.

I know that things will unfold and work out. I'm not going to guess what will happen, I'm not even going to wish one way or another. Everything in my life has genuinely worked out perfectly. Definitely not what I imagined, but it's more than I could have ever hoped for! I'm grateful for an earth shattering, move mountains kind of love, and although I wonder about normal things like children, I'm happy to have Danny. If my whole life remains just as it is with a magnificent man, a fantastic family, and truly the most amazing friends available, I will say that my life was fulfilling and happy. That's a very powerful thing.

1 comment:

  1. No one can imagine the complexity of the tornado you and Danny are living in. It's extremely powerful when you write: "Everything in my life has genuinely worked out perfectly."

    It's a factual statement like that that show us how you continue to pick yourself up and keep on keepin' on, as well as keep the faith. We appreciate how you share your courage with us. Our positive blessings for you keep on keepin' on too.


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