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Hayley Ziebart

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January 25, 2013
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Hayley Ziebart: Fighting cancer is a lot like being pregnant

So much of this cancer journey reminds me of being pregnant.

Major hormone fluctuations, odd cravings (thank you, drugs), acid-reflux, 'nesting' instincts including that feeling of just needing a major change in life's routine, batter-brain or as my nurses deem it 'chemo-brain,' the need for frequent naps/rest/downtime (even though I rarely meet that need), people asking all the time, "How are you feeling?"

There are days where I am just so frustrated with this scenario. Or maybe the better word is saddened by it. Because at least with a pregnancy, you're likely going to end up with a warm, wrinkly, snuggly little new life in your hands. People have said, "Well, yeah, you technically ARE going to end up with a life... yours."

Sorry if I don't quite see that as the same thing.

Perhaps the most ironic part of it all is what I've read about the chemo round ahead. One of its common side effects is that it makes you sterile... and even if on the off chance it doesn't, I'm 33 and I have to wait a minimum of two years before I would even be allowed to think about a third child.

I just don't see it happening.

Don't get me wrong. I ABSOLUTELY praise God that I had the chance to have my boys before all of this, and I trust and know that God's plan is what it is, that if I'm done I'm done and that's just something I will accept.

But I think every woman out there can relate to wanting to choose when she is done having babies, not have someone tell them.


I do know how silly that sounds because I know that people and doctors telling me my baby-making days may be over is God's Plan unfolding, just the way He intends. But I suppose my mama's heart, which was urging Aaron a year and a half ago to list our house and get things in order for our next chapter (I know, I'm such a woman), can't help but feel a little crushed. I definitely feel a little robbed of experiencing that self-confirmation of, "Yep, I've sewn all the seed I want to sew."

I envy my friends who wholeheartedly laugh out loud when someone begs the question, "Do you want more?" They are so certain, and I admit this part of me is the one that happily said, "Three, maybe even four," when it came to that early-marriage topic.

Perhaps it's also a bit of a grievance for me that this gorgeous, blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl that Aaron and I may have produced together (whom I've literally held and touched in my deepest dreams), will never be. This scenario also doesn't make reading/hearing about babies number 3 and 4 (even some 5s!) for friends and family my age any easier. I'm ecstatic for them, but I won't lie and say I don't want to be them right now either.

Heck, half the time I just don't want to be anything I am right now.

When God moved us from Portland 5 1/2 years ago (and that move really wasn't so much about us, though the blessings have certainly flowed down on us), I just never saw us completely settling in Roseburg. I don't like the limited school options for our kids, and aside from being close to family, it's just not where I saw us spending the youth of our adult lives and raising our children over the long-haul at all.

Of course, CANCER certainly wasn't in my five-year-plan either. I'm pretty sure I've never met anyone who would say, "Oh, and then I need to *insert life goal here* so that next year, I can get cancer."


While I was at Gray's karate class tonight, I started up a conversation with a dad of one of the other kids (his daughter and Gray are in the same kindergarten class, too) and out of left-field he asked me, "So I know you have Gray and his little brother... do you have any more? A daughter, perhaps? Or plan to?"

Insert the top half of this blog and that was most of the unfolding conversation.

But as I often do, I found myself preaching what I needed to hear most.

None of us really has a set plan. I mean, go ahead and try (be my guest!), but we're not even guaranteed our next breath. So why on earth do we (I'm preaching to all you fellow women-folk, especially) feel a sense of control when we lay a 5-year-plan?! And better question: Why on earth do we need/desire that control if we walk around all day ministering to those around us that God is in control of our lives? Seems pretty hypocritical to me!

So in all reality, it just comes back to this - I HAVE CANCER.

That is my "now" journey. What my "next" journey may be? Well, I don't know that. If I'm blessed enough to beat this wretched disease and have a next journey, I will be grateful to have made it so far. It is NOT easy for a personality like me to truly grasp and live by this fact, but I do know it is necessary to my joy, alone, that I tell myself, every day, that I'm NOT. IN. CONTROL. and that THIS moment is what I am living for.

Sound familiar? LIVE IN THE MOMENT?!

Yeah. Amazing how many times I've had to re-learn this, just in these few short months.

Truly, though... this life, these days, this very second did not come from a guarantee, and the next one after it is a gift, too. The future is the future -- A GIFT.

IF it comes.

So for right now, I will embrace this phantom pregnancy -- this pregnancy of cancer, as I've been calling it -- and know that if I never get to be pregnant again in the real sense, maybe, just maybe, by the end of my journey with all these yucky pregnancy-like symptoms, God will have blessed me with a healthy and real detest for pregnancy that will grant me my longed-for confirmation... and, in turn, just give our family more beautiful nieces to fill my current estrogen-void.

Hayley Ziebart is married with two sons. She is battling cancer. Read her Fridays on Douglas County Moms. Check out her personal blog at lifesprom.blogspot.com.

Truly, though... this life, these days, this very second did not come from a guarantee, and the next one after it is a gift, too. The future is the future -- a gift.
If it comes.

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The News-Review Updated Nov 18, 2013 07:34PM Published Feb 5, 2013 08:02AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.