A relatively benign bit of news

June 10, 2014 1 Comments

I’ve wanted a baby for a long time. Somewhat incongruously, I was never the kind of little girl who dreamed about having children of her own one day. I just kind of figured I would get married one day and my husband and I would start a family because that’s just what people do.

But one day, something changed. I don’t remember which day it was, or what we were doing, but I was looking at my husband and felt so full of love that it almost kind of hurt. I wanted to have a child to share all this love with, to grow and to nurture, and I just knew that it was time for us to start a family.

(Please note: My husband was totally on board with this entire process. I don’t want to leave you with the impression that I was starring in my own weirdo Lifetime movie about a woman who ensnares her husband into her web o’ deception with a baby.)

So, we tried, and tried, and tried. Trying is lovely (don’t get me wrong!) but the process of trying can be, well, trying. (Sorry/not sorry. I can never resist a good pun.) When it became clear that trying in and of itself wasn’t working, we tried just about everything else… fertility drugs, special diets, acupuncture.

All I wanted was a baby. Instead, I got a brain tumor.

Wait – what? < insert needle scratch >

Actually, Arnold, it IS a toomah.

Actually, Arnold, it IS a toomah.

As it turns out, the reason my body is not cooperating is because I have a brain tumor. It’s big and it’s ugly and I’ve named it Murgatroyd. (Don’t ask. Seriously. Just don’t.) Murgatroyd is a meningioma, which is a largely benign type of tumor that grows off the meninges surrounding the brain. A cautionary note for those of you who ever talk to someone with a tumor: “Benign” does not mean “awesome”. This m-fer is wrapped completely around my carotid artery, crushing my pituitary gland, and compressing my optic nerve. It could ABSOLUTELY be a million times worse, but “benign” is not exactly the word I would select to describe its impact on my life.

As you might imagine, many things have happened as a result of this scientific discovery. I’ve laughed. I’ve cried. (So hard, in fact, that I burst a whole bunch of blood vessels in my face. Sexy!) I’ve imagined every single “What if?” and then some: What if I die during the surgery? What if I go blind and/or have a stroke? What if the radiation gives me the ability to shoot lasers out of my eyeballs?

But, the very best thing has happened, something I never could have imagined: What if I discovered how much I am loved? It’s happening right now, and I’m learning how to process it. My husband, my family, my friends, my colleagues… I am unable to coherently and appropriately express how grateful I am for the kindness and love people have given me over the past few months. I am the luckiest woman in the world.

Lest you all think I’ve morphed into some navel-gazing, flower-sniffing softie – rest assured that my snarkiness is still alive and well. It has taken an immense amount of restraint to not bodyslam colleagues who bitch about the selection of (FREE) Greek yogurt in the office, and to not sharpen my claws on the Facebook walls of every person who posts something along the lines of “It’s Monday again?!? FML!!!”

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I also discovered a few shitty people in my life. These were the people who judged the treatment plan my doctors and I have chosen, or when/how/with whom I chose to share my situation. I suppose it’s a bit like telling people the baby name you’ve picked out: For every “Oh, that’s so lovely!” you get, there’s always some a-hole who says “That’s the stupidest name I’ve ever heard!” A special shoutout goes to the person who implied that the only reason people share news like this is to get sympathy. I’m typing this paragraph with my middle fingers in your honor.

I’ll tell you this – I waffled on telling people I work with, and in the same vein, the world through my writing. Ultimately, though, it’s my story to tell. I didn’t want colleagues, who I genuinely care about, to wonder why I was suddenly no longer in the office. I didn’t want rumors to start. I didn’t want someone else talking about my “medical issues” in hushed tones like I had some sort of communicable disease. I didn’t want people to wonder what the hell I had been doing all summer long when I show back up in the fall with chunks of my hair missing. In a time where I have extremely limited control over my body, telling people myself has been empowering.

Long story short: I’ve been trying to get these thoughts out of my head for a while, and I already feel a little better. Writing has been difficult as of late, especially when being alone with my thoughts has been something I’ve avoided over the past few months. (I wish I could blame the lack of blogging on the tumor, but I’ve only known about him since April.) I’m looking forward to getting Murgatroyd out of my head as well. I could use the space to come up with future baby names that I’ll be keeping to myself, thank you very much.

1 Comment

  1. Reply

    Cheryl Loring

    June 11, 2014

    Caitlyn – I love you and you are in my prayers, especially today! WE need you for a reunion Trivia night – and you are THE MAN – so to speak – when the music questions start. See you soon!

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