Things are slowly starting to return to normal around here.
After about a week of drowning my sorrows in wine, homemade french fries and chocolate, I realized that a) junk food wasn't actually making me feel any better and b) I had put on three pounds. So last Monday I started working out again and slowly weaning myself off my newly reinvigorated sugar addiction. Work was busy, which kept my mind occupied, and the pity party crying jags have steadily become fewer and farther between. While we're both obviously still sad about what happened, and pretty far from making any kind of decision about what we want to do, we've started laughing and joking again too. Valentine's Day provided the perfect opportunity to go out for a nice dinner and remind ourselves of how we used to be before all this. Not to mention giving us the little nudge we needed to...ahem...resume our marital relations (which were prohibited post-FET, and then just didn't happen because no one wants to have sex with a snotty red-eyed mope). It was sex without pretense or purpose other than to be close to the one you love, and it was wonderful.
Then, something else happened that could (should?) have knocked me back down. A few weeks earlier my mom had had surgery to remove a suspicious lump in her breast that had been inconclusive after a needle biopsy. While everyone in my family had pretty much resolved ourselves to getting the bad news that it was cancerous, we hoped that the doctors would tell her that they had gotten it all and only minor follow-up treatment was required. Unfortunately, it turned out that the margins weren't clear and although the cancer is small and low-grade, they will need to operate again to either remove more tissue, or possibly the entire breast. Radiation and/or hormone therapy will follow.
Admittedly, when Mom first told me the news I had a brief moment of thinking "nothing goes right for our family, I can't take much more of this, when will something good happen for us?" But then I strangely started to realize that, in the grand scheme of things, it could be an awful lot worse. So far we have no reason to think that this won't work out much the same as it did for M's mom, who went through a very similar diagnosis in the fall and just last week got the all-clear from her radiologist that she doesn't need any more treatments. Hopefully my mother's situation will be much the same. But even if it's not...being miserable isn't going to help anyone. Right now the last thing that my mom needs is to worry about me when she should be focusing on herself. And I can't support her if I continue to be so self-absorbed in my own problems.
I also started to think about people who get really bad news, like a terminal cancer diagnosis. I found a few blogs of people who have been living with terminal cancer for years, and who are still doing everything they can to extend their lives even if it means painful treatments and surgeries and pretty much daily agony. I wondered how I would ever cope if I was in that situation. Would I just give up and wait for everything to be over, or would I somehow find it in me to forge ahead and wring every last drop of enjoyment out of life while I could?
At the end of the day, what's happening with my mom provided me with a pretty much-needed lesson in perspective. I hate to use the old "other people have things so much worse" argument, because infertility brings its own unique kind of loss and grief that no other condition does. It's world-shattering and life-altering in an incomparable way. Being miserable is the easy thing to do in response. It's so much harder to force myself to look beyond it and appreciate all the things I do have to be grateful for. A wonderful husband, a beautiful home, a loving family, a cuddly dog, a solid job, and the health (mostly) of people I love. My mom's news was the slap in the face I needed to look at these things again and really see them for the gifts that they are. I guess that's what they call a blessing in disguise?