Woolsey Family Chronicles

Documenting the journey of raising triplets and their wild big sister

Cancer Vs. Infertility June 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Hip Mothership @ 5:06 am


I like to read memoirs.  I think many people’s lives are just as interesting, if not more, than the stories that some authors conceive of in their heads.  I am in the middle of reading The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan.  I just got finished reading her short light read called Lift that my mom got me for Mother’s Day.  It was short and sweet and just a little glimpse into a woman’s experiences as a mom, written to her two girls.  There was one line that made me really think though.  She says on page 11:

Dad and I were still opening wedding presents when I started to think about getting pregnant.  I’d watched so many friends struggle — Tracy’s seven in vitros, Mary Ann’s three miscarriages, Kristi’s baby born still.  Dad and I were lucky, if lucky is a big enough word for it.  Another way of putting it is that we were spared years of torment.  Here’s a third way of saying it: I’ve had cancer twice and if I had to pick one fate for you, cancer or fertility problems, I’d pick cancer. 

Now, I am capable of respecting a lot of different opinions, but when I read that, I was shocked!  I, being in that category of people who was not spared the “years of torment” from infertility, cannot imagine in a million years choosing cancer over infertility.  My god – with infertility there are so many options that can solve your problems even though the process is indeed painful and frustrating.  There is of course the amazing fertility treatments available to us now, then there are donor eggs (using your husbands sperm and buying an egg off of another woman and carrying the baby in your own womb), surrogacy and last but not least, there is the wonderful option of adoption.  With cancer, you could very well die.  And once you die, that would be it for you – no babies, no motherhood, no sisterhood, you would no longer be anybody’s friend or wife — you would be dead.  There are definitely a few similarities between cancer and infertility, like waiting by the phone or in the doctor’s office with your heart pounding waiting for that gut wrenching news.  Or being poked, prodded and violated in order to get your desired positive outcome.  There are all the drugs you have to take in both scenarios.  Yet, after one ectopic pregnancy that resulted in an embryo growing on my bladder and requiring surgery to remove, and four miscarriages, along with a few IUI’s and a few IVF’s, and many calls to adoption agencies, I cannot ever say I would’ve wanted cancer instead. 

Maybe Kelly Corrigan feels that way because she is a survivor.  Maybe I feel my way because I am also a survivor.  She beat cancer and did not die.  I beat infertility and I have four beautiful children to show for it.  Maybe it is the fear of the unknown . . . I can’t imagine having cancer and going through chemo and radiation and feeling sick everyday and losing my hair and worrying that I will die while Kelly can’t imagine having to work so hard to maybe or maybe not have a baby of her own, enduring the painful emotional rollercoaster that entails.

In other news, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the company Chris has worked for for the past 11 years, has laid off more than 1,000 people in the past two weeks.  They announced impending lay offs a month ago and since then employees from the very top to the rep level have lost sleep and been stressed and filled with anxiety.  All of the employees in the field found out today whether they would still have a job.  Chris didn’t sleep at all last night.  Everyone was at risk and vulnerable to termination.  At 11am today Chris got the call that he would keep his job.  Sadly, many of his friends that he has worked since Takeda began 11 years ago, were let go today.   Chris and I have definitely had a year filled with some downs that I have left me wallowing in the mire, but strangely I was not worried about a possible job loss.  I said to Chris last night, “well Chris, if you lose your job tomorrow, there must really be a force out there that feels there is something better for us to be doing”.  A rare moment of positivity and spiritual thinking by Megan.  I don’t know why I wasn’t worried, seeing as we have a mortgage, car payment, bills, massive groceries and four kids to take care of, but I just wasn’t.  In the end, Chris has kept his great job and we can move forward in life and maybe I can bring some of my powerful positivity with me. 

Until next time, the mothership is signing off.


3 Responses to “Cancer Vs. Infertility”

  1. Emily Says:

    Ditto Megan! Even after all our years of struggling I would still choose infertility over cancer! There was plenty of heartache but I wasn’t fighting for my life. Now, with three children it all seems like so long ago…

  2. So glad Chris got to keep his job! I hear ya, Will has been laid off 4 times already, always due to economy, so I never get worried anymore. The good ones always land on their feet 🙂

  3. Chris Woolsey Says:

    What a great post Megan. I loved reading it, every word of it. Your writing is always a source of inspiration for me and this post is no exception. Love you.

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