It's been a gorgeous few days here in NYC. We're getting a little preview of Spring. Saturday was in the 60s and sunny. David and I went to Astoria Park for a little bit. Of course we had to drive there because 7 blocks would knock me out. The park is on this giant hill that slopes down to the East River. It's a beautiful park at the most Western edge of Astoria. It sits under the Tri-boro Bridge (I refuse to acknowledge the name changing to RFK Bridge) and the Hellgate Bridge with Randall Island and the Upper Eastside of Manhattan as a backdrop. It has a couple of huge lawns, a playground, an olympic sized pool that's open during the summer, a track, a skatepark, and amazing views. Aside from being one of my favorite places in the city, it is also where David proposed to me.
We often go for walks there when it's nice out. One Wednesday night during the summer I got home from work and he had dinner ready and suggested we go watch the sunset after we ate. We went for a walk down to the river and sat down on the grass to watch the sun go down. He was behind me so I didn't see him get down on one knee. He said, "You know I love you and you know I want to spend my life with you, right?" I turned around and he was on one knee holding out the ring. I said, "NO WAY!" and he said, "Will you marry me?" and I said, "Are you sure?" and he laughed and said yes, so I said yes too. We agreed to just let it be our night and to not tell anyone until the next day. I called my mom the next morning and found out that not only did he "ask" my dad at a Fourth of July bbq earlier that week, but he'd also shown both him and my mom the ring. AND THEY DIDN'T TELL ME. Traitors. We started planning the wedding the following weekend.
So I love that park. We usually go there, wander around the paths and just walk all over, but I get too tired for that now. We get halfway up the slope and my legs turn to lead. So lately, we've been driving and bringing a blanket to sit on. Saturday we found the best spot ever. One of the "feet" of the Hellgate bridge is built into the hill. So the back of it is ground level and the front of it is about 3 stories higher than the road below it, overlooking the river. You can walk along the ledge of the bridge, which is about 30" wide, around to the front and without any climbing at all, sit in a quiet, secluded space high above the people and cars below. It's awesome. We sat up there and enjoyed the view and talked and watched all the other people enjoying the day. It was so nice to spend some time outside, not cooped up in the apartment in bed. Check out the view:
Nurse Nicole said to go for walks if the fatigue is persistent, which it is. She said to get up and move- not crazy amounts, but basically to not give in to it or stay in bed the whole time. Yes, rest and sleep when I'm tired just don't become a slug. I can't believe how much I used to take my body for granted. I can't stand that I used to hate my legs. I used to think my hair was too straight. I used to think my eyelashes were too short and my eyebrows didn't grow right. My stomach was never flat enough. My hips were too wide. Now, I'm grateful when I make it up the hill or one flight of stairs. I thank my legs. I thank my eyebrows for still holding on. They're thinning, but they're there. I thank the few eyelashes I have left for sticking around. And I apologize to my body again and again for ever thinking it wasn't good enough.
It's been strange watching things change and even more interesting watching my reaction to it. I meet new people and I want to say things like, "I don't usually look like this. I don't usually have all these freckles, " or "My nails are usually longer and not so discolored." These small side effects from the chemo that bother me- I'm so vain to think people even notice or care. And what's funny is that it's not as if before I had any say over how many freckles I had or the color of my fingernails. As if before was how I chose to look, and now is how I am forced to look. It's not correct. That doesn't make sense. I can't be embarrassed about the facial discoloration now any more than I could have been proud of my thick, full eyebrows, previously. I had nothing to do with either. Vanity is a silly trait.
The last thing that's been weighing on me is about that other thing no one wants to ask about. I guess it'll come up because it's one of the first things people like to ask you after you get married. The short, short answer is no. No, I can't have kids now. And it's okay. We're okay with it. To be honest, I was never set on having children. It's not something I was sure of the way other women are. I guess I always thought it would happen organically and I'd have a baby and then end up absolutely loving motherhood and wanting 5 more. But I never saw myself purposely getting pregnant or deciding to make a baby. Does that make sense? I never thought I'd choose it for myself. I thought it would just happen and I would be a happy, great, mom. The doctors offered me a chance to freeze some eggs before I started chemo, but it didn't seem like a good decision. It would have delayed treatment, and my cancer was growing quickly. My eggs were already 37 years old, which would make the IVF process hard. I've seen a few friends go through the heartbreak of unsuccessful fertility treatments and miscarriages. It's not something I'm willing to put myself through. There's a good chance I would have had to have a surrogate carry for us anyway. And it seemed like a bad idea to put my body through more stress right before I started chemo. So we decided against saving eggs. No going back now. Since my cancer is hormone driven, when treatment is over I'll start a drug called Tamoxifen which will put me into early menopause, reducing the chance of it coming back. The day I started chemo is the day the ship sailed on me ever having my own children.
It does make me a little sad. Not devastated. Just down and a little like I screwed up by waiting so long. Like I said, I wasn't set on it anyway, but I guess there's a difference between deciding not to and being told you can't. I just never expected the door would be totally shut so soon. So the full realization that I'm not going to carry a child has been creeping up on me. Lately, it's been a little difficult being around children (but I still want to be around them!), and at the park Saturday, I got a little lost watching the kids play at the playground. It kind of feels like a club I was just shut out of. And I know we still have options. If there comes a point when we really want children, we'll adopt. I bet I could love any baby and I could still be a great mom. We could even foster, which really calls out to me. I don't know. I guess, like everything else, we'll see what happens.
Tomorrow is round 2 of the AC combo. Six weeks of chemo left.