As my journey with infertility is ending, my friends journey with breast cancer has just begun. I know it is not the same and you cannot compare the two, but it reminds me that you never know what path life will take you.
I endearingly call this friend whom I am referring to as “baby momma”. She is our friend who was gracious enough to be our donor 2 years ago. Even though a pregnancy did not result, I will always lovingly refer to her as baby momma. She was willing to sacrifice time off work for doctors appointments, endure months of shots, and drive to another state to sign legal documents; in the hopes that Josh and I would know the joys of parenthood. She has earned that title. The fact is she would do it for anyone she cared enough about, so they too could know this joy. That is who she is.
My friend is now on her own life’s journey. Following a routine mammogram, she was diagnosed just two weeks ago with breast cancer. She is only 38. Finding a mass in her left breast, she leaves this week to go to Vanderbilt for a mastectomy, followed by chemo in two-three weeks. She has given her blessing on sharing this information so that other women may be aware that it can happen to you at any age. Had she not requested a routine exam, and waited until the recommended age of 40, it could have been a much different outcome. As of now, the cancer is contained in one breast, and has not spread to her lymph nodes.
I am reminded that women going through infertility often delay some of these routine exams. We are so focused on getting pregnant, that we may neglect to request some of these diagnostic test. Many infertility clinics require routine exams as part of their protocol. Some do not. I have been to both. Infertility can be grueling, it requires a lot out of you. It is up to us to make sure we don’t neglect other aspects of our health, becoming entirely focused on getting pregnant.
Tomorrow, I will meet with my friend at the hair salon to support her as she gets her hair cut. Trying to make things as normal as possible for her 4 year old, she wants to cut her hair in stages so that when it starts falling out, her daughter will think it is just another cut or style.
My friend is amazing, and her journey has just begun. She is strong like many of you. Infertility is not for the faint of heart. I encourage you, as we approach Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October to schedule your routine mammogram, if you have not already had one. My friend requested her mammogram, and luckily, the cancer was found early. After I deliver my baby, and the doctor gives me the go ahead, I will schedule mine too.