languages, emotions, and other complicated things

A few weeks ago I went for genetic counseling. Both my mom and her mom died from cancer, far too young, and there is a good chance that it has hereditary components. My RE and MFM had pointed this out, but didn’t push the issue when I declined. Basically so far I had taken the very mature head-in-the-sand approach… but I’m getting too old for this (less than 10 years until the age at which my mom was diagnosed) and now that I actually have a living baby toddler I want to see grow up, I finally pulled myself together and went.
The appointment mainly went over family and medical history, and was all in Nordic. This kept my brain busy with the language, so that I didn’t really have any capacity left to get overly emotional or too scared to chicken out of the blood draw. I had previously noticed, in fact often thanks to this blog, how I can speak or write about difficult issues in English much more easily than in my native language, even though I’d say I speak them (almost) equally well. On the flip side, this makes me wonder whether there are layers of unprocessed emotions around, say, the birth of A&C, because I very rarely speak about it in my native language (basically I don’t, other than to H). And, following this train of thought, I wonder how refugees handle their experiences, the unspeakable (!) things they may have witnessed, when thrown into an environment far from their native language, and with many other urgent issues to take care of…
In the meantime, the results came in. I had really hoped to escape this, alas, that doesn’t seem to be so easy. I don’t know any details yet, but they did find mutations, known to increase the risk of cancer. Well, f*ck. I’m all over the place between terrified and willing not to let this control me, and confused. Including the question of how to handle this from a social perspective. I mean, is this something one tells people? Friends? At work? I don’t want to be pitied, and I don’t want endless (or perhaps any) discussions, but if I, say, have surgery to preventively remove my ovaries, then I’ll be away for a bit and may need, or want, to explain this.
Of course another aspect, with an extra sting for the infertile, is that of growing our family further. I would love for SB to have living siblings, and it hurts to see that we may be running short on time. Given that we have several frozen embryos, the ovaries are not even my main concern (although, as you will all know, there are no guarantees). But I’m still nursing her, and she is still very attached to Mama Milk. And I still love it, most of the time, at least – for once, my boobs are doing something useful, instead of scaring me as they have so many years before. But between IVF and my preterm birth history, nursing during pregnancy is not an option. So I’ll need to wean her before any such attempt can begin. And she doesn’t seem ready. But, time constraints, see above. And I would love to nurse her siblings, too.
In time, we’ll know more. I’d just rather go back to ostrich mode.

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7 thoughts on “languages, emotions, and other complicated things

  1. I’m sorry you have this burden on your shoulders–it’s heavy.
    I’m also glad that the miracle of science is allowing you to make decisions and possibly prevent cancer.
    I feel you on not wanting to wean before your daughter is ready, as I also feel pressure to wean in order to TTC. I’ll be thinking of you and waiting for updates <3 XOXO

  2. I had to wean 2 of the 3 for medical reasons and it sucked thinking about it in advance but once it happened it was not such a big deal. (Somethign about anticipation…). I hope it will also be so for you, when ypi get there.

  3. I’m sorry you even have to make those kinds of decisions. At the same time, I am so grateful that we have the science available to us to have the knowledge and hopefully prevent cancer. Those are heavy things to think about. Good luck as you move forward!

  4. I’m sorry you are dealing with this. I know that early detection and genetic counseling are all good things but they are a mindfuck in many, many ways. I hope your medical professionals are helping you to understand this all and that soon you have the answers you need.

    What you write about language is really interesting. I find it easier to speak about it all in English but I suspect that’s because although everything has “happened” in Spanish, when I speak about it with family or write on my blog it’s all in English…

  5. Such a difficult choice. It’s amazing that these days you can find out that you have the mutations for cancer and could potentially do something about it. If you do want another baby, maybe start to see if SB is okay with starting to wean?

  6. I’m so sorry that you may have to make decisions before you feel ready. It seems unfair that these decisions are forced or made for us before we are ready. I guess it is good to have information earlier rather than later, but it still hurts.

  7. Oh, my, that is complicated. The connection between POF and elevated risk of ovarian cancer has always nagged anxiously in the back of my mind, so I can empathize some, though the hard truth of genetic markers must be scary in a much more concrete way. Information is power, though, so at least you are armed to make a decision. XO

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