Tomorrow (10/12) is my birthday… And as my birthday approaches, I have been struggling more and more with the fact that I am not where I expected to be at 27 years old.
If you had asked me asked me 10 years ago where I would be today, I would have said that I would have graduated from college at the age of 22 with a bachelors degree in nursing and would be working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at one of the local hospitals. I would have probably guessed that I would be engaged if not married. I would have said that we would be living in a beautiful two story house in the woods in the country and working on starting our family if we hadn’t already started our family.
I would have NEVER guessed that a year after graduating from high school my (step) mom would die unexpectedly rattling our entire family to the core…
I would have NEVER guessed that just two years after that a single dose of Depo Provera, which we were using to treat my Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, would cause a chronic, debilitating, neurological condition.
I would have NEVER guessed that 9 months after that I would be diagnosed with hypothyroidism.
I would have NEVER guessed that 6 months after that I would be diagnosed with Primary Adrenal Insufficiency.
I would have NEVER guessed that 6 months after that I would start breaking out in hives daily which would result in a diagnosis of Mast Cell Activation Disorder.
I would have NEVER guessed the diagnoses would have just continued to come.
I would have NEVER guessed that I would 6 months before my 27th birthday I would lose my ability to drive due to seizures.
I would have NEVER guessed that at almost 27 years old I would still be living in my childhood home, still sleeping in my childhood bedroom every night.
But I think what surprises me most is that I find myself comparing myself to my friends and peers and what I find most painful lately is that I haven’t (and probably never will, for several reasons) married and started my family.
I find that I go through cycles… periods of acceptance and then cycles of longing & grieving the life that could/should have been.
During the periods of acceptance I come to the realization that in order to get pregnant, it is likely my body would have to fight like hell because I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome… And if I were able to get pregnant… my body would have to fight like hell to stay pregnant. It would be dangerous for me and the baby. Not to mention it would be MISERABLE. I would have to come off of a lot of the medications I am on that provide me with any semblance of a quality of a life… Without those medications I would become bedridden due to pain and vomiting before the morning sickness even set in.
It’s also during these periods of time that I come to the realization that If I were to bear a child of my own… they would have my genes which would mean that they could wind up with any of the lovely genetic conditions that I have… And I would NEVER wish that kind of pain and misery on anyone, let alone my own child.
But then I circle back to the period of longing & grief and all rationality flies out the window…
And it’s during these periods that I see pictures of my friends happily married on Facebook and my heart hurts because I am 27 and alone. My heart hurts because I every. single. time. I meet a guy and he finds out that I’m ill, suddenly I am no longer worth his time. It doesn’t matter how I approach it… I can be honest from the beginning, work it into the conversation wherever it naturally fits and his interest will last as long as it takes for it to organically come up in conversation. Or I can hide it from him until we have formed a bond and I know him well enough to trust him… and his interest will last as long as it takes for me to get the guts up to tell him… or rat myself out… because I have a bad habit of entering the text feature and just typing away to whoever I was texting before without checking to making sure I am texting who I intended to text now.
As this birthday approaches… A time generally spent celebrating, I am trying to process a wide array of emotions, but none of those emotions are quite the celebratory emotions you would expect, but this too shall pass.