Most of the time, infertility can completely consume you. There are moments when life can feel like it’s standing still and all you can do is watch others living theirs. To me that’s the hardest part of being on this journey, feeling like your life is on hold. Wanting so much to focus on other aspects of your life and plan accordingly. Now after Phil’s diagnosis it feels even more like our lives our on hold……if we allow it.
I was reading Red Magazine last month and there was a great guest speaker, Elizabeth Day who wrote about how she turned her fertility failures into her own version of success, giving her a stronger sense of self which lead to new pathways of friendship. This really resonated with me as for the longest time I have always seen my infertility as my biggest failure. I am not hugely ambitious, but not being able to fulfil my dreams and complete our family is something really quite hard to get my head around. Most things in my life I have wanted have been pretty obtainable. I wanted to study Psychology at university so I did. I worked hard at my A’ Levels and was offered a place. I wanted to study for my Masters so again I worked hard to achieve one. But with infertility, it doesn’t matter how hard you work or how much you try, sometimes it just can’t be obtained. Which to me seems incredible cruel.
I’ve never really thought of myself as particularly strong or resilient but both journeys and Elizabeth’s words have reminded me that I’ve taken a really shitty situation and made it into something far more positive than I could ever have imagined. My blog makes me incredibly proud. I would never have imagined sharing such personal and sad aspects of our lives online! But there have been some amazing campaigns that I am so proud to be part of and I am reminded why I started this blog, why I feel so passionate about sharing our story, including all the “failures” we have had along the way. Success comes in many forms, it’s important to remember that you are on your own path and the focus should remain on you. You won’t always get the job, the grade, even the life that you desired but actually it’s what you do with those change in circumstances that really counts. Whatever path you find yourself on its important to try to find the happiness and motivation to keep going and striving for that success, however that may look or change?
The idea that possibly our greatest difficulties in life bring us on the most beautiful journeys and change our perspectives really resonates with me. We have a slightly different story now, one that involves cancer alongside our infertility. But……that doesn’t mean that we stop living, stop enjoying life or striving for success. That success will just look slightly different now and Phil and I made a pact that his diagnosis won’t influence too many of our decisions. It is very easy to throw caution to the wind and have a “fuck it” attitude but that to me is not the key to our happiness. We do fear less though, there are elements of our fertility journey that we will now acknowledge in a very different way. I feel stronger in many ways, I feel more capable of enjoying life if that makes sense?
Last week we sat in front of Phil’s neurosurgeon to listen to the biopsy results from his craniotomy. We feared the worst, that we were dealing with a high-grade malignant tumour. To our surprise and that of the neurosurgeon, Phil’s tumour is low-grade, still malignant but prognosis is far more positive than we ever imagined. Tears fell very gracefully down both our faces as we were told. But ordinarily the news we received last week is still devastating. Phil has cancer, it’s not curable and will shorten his life. But in relation to where we were 3 weeks ago this news is extremely positive. With the right treatment plan Phil will be with us for a long time and who knows what advances in medical science will happen in that time? I will always believe that he will beat this.
I am incredibly proud of my family and all that we have been through in the last 18 months. Despite some of the difficult, painful pathways we’ve taken, some have led to beautiful destinations and ultimately our own versions of success. Whatever your version may be and whatever path you find yourself on there is always an opportunity to try to succeed.
Thank you Elizabeth for the wise words and inspiration, for allowing me the opportunity to recognise that maybe our “failures” will lead to our greatest success. After all what is more successful than living?