Last week I had to have an ultrasound done on my pelvic region. I have always had very difficult periods, so my family doctor finally sent me to have some tests done to rule anything out (such as an ovarian cyst). The tests sucked for a multitude of reasons. Yes, the internal ultrasound hurt but that wasn’t the worst part of the exam.
Rewind to a few months after being diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. I was sent to an obstetrician office to discuss birth control methods.
The office was not set up to welcome a patient like me: A patient who just found out they had pulmonary hypertension. Someone who just found out that they had a lackluster life expectancy, and felt like a carton of milk that was starting to stink. Someone who was just given so many losses by a disease that they had never heard of. I had to say goodbye my career, after just starting it, just after finishing five years of university. I learned pregnancy would more than likely kill me. In an instant, everything I had to look forward to was gone.
I sobbed in the waiting room, surrounded by pictures of babies the doctors had helped to deliver. I cried in the office talking to the doctor about my birth control options. Did most people who came to her office need permanent birth control options? All the women I watched come in and out of the office were pregnant. I cried on the way home. I went home and curled into a little ball and tried to mourn my losses.
That brings us back to last week. My doctor sent me to a fertility clinic to have my tests done. I sighed as I looked at the advertisements for the clinic on the waiting room TV, watching a pregnant woman waddle out of the waiting room. Here I was, surrounded by people who were pregnant, or were taking steps to get pregnant. One of these things here doesn’t belong, and it’s me.
I went back to the dimly lit exam room. I stared at the ceiling and teared up while I had my exterior ultrasound. I thought about how most people at this office were seeing their babies growing within their belly. I was there to make sure I don’t have ovarian cysts.
When I’ve expressed to a few people that not being able to have children is a very difficult topic for me, I’ve been asked “you’re not over that yet?”
No. I am not.
PH is the reason ‘pregnancy is a void in my life’
As a young adult, I worry that this loss might ache more and more, like a tooth that needs to be pulled, as I watch more and more of my friends grow up, get married and have children. I am not over it. I’m not sure when, or if, I will ever be over it. Pulmonary hypertension took away my ability to make many important choices in my life. What kind of house I will live in. Whether I will have kids. Whether I will feel guilty being in a relationship. When I will retire. Whether I will have children or not.
For me, pregnancy represents a massive hole in my life.
It represents all the losses pulmonary hypertension puts upon my life. It is the agent for not having any permanent roots. I feel like I am like a leaf blowing through life, instead of a mighty oak tree firmly planted in the ground. It signifies all the losses in my life. I’ve lost my career. I’ve lost the future I had worked so hard to obtain. I’ve lost many of the goals I was working toward. I’ve lost the ability to plan my life, or live my life, as a normal 20-something year old.
Adoption, something I longed for, has now become a giant question mark, because I don’t know where I will be by the time I am ready to have kids. I also don’t want to start a family and have my body crap out. Do other people my age have to worry about whether they will be alive or not within the next several years? Pulmonary hypertension is like a hurricane that went through my life and left a colossal void among the wreckage. I’ve tried my best to repair, but of course I wish things could have been how I thought they would be. Part of me still aches and optimistically hopes that my life still can be.
It’s a lot.
I’ve tried very hard to adapt to my new life, but no, I am not over it. Not yet, anyways.
Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.
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