This is a commonly asked question by infertility patients. We feel separate and alone. “Other” as Mel wrote abouttoday. When it happened to me, I couldn’t believe I was in this position. And like so many women before me, and after me too, I asked “Why me?” But then I heard a cancer patient say, about her own situation, “why not me?” And those three words stopped me in my tracks. Why not me indeed? I had no answer. And therefore no option but to accept.
This last week I’ve been suffering from a second attack of trigeminal neuralgia. I wrote about my first attack – vaguely, as I have struggled to “come out” about it – on A Separate Life here. Interesting that I feel more comfortable talking about it here, where many of us have had unfortunately medical diagnoses.. I had been hopeful that my attack two years ago was a one-off. My neurologist said that was possible. But no, it apparently isn’t. The pain is overwhelming, the drugs that deal with the pain take a while to kick in, make me feel dreadful, and now I’m suffering from chills. Ironically, we had one of the best, warmest, finest weekends of our pathetic summer the last two days. And there I was, huddled under two blankets shivering on the couch. Ridiculous!
And so I’m feeling a bit “other” and have a bit of a “why me?” attack. After all, is it fair to have had three rare conditions in my adult life? First, dengue fever. Then infertility – and a cornual ectopic pregnancy that is very rare – and now, as I was trying to get my life in order, trigeminal neuralgia, otherwise nicely known as the Suicide Disease. I’ve looked on-line for support groups, but they’re just terrifying. I'm not ready for them.
And I thought about Mel’s “otherness” post. Reading it, it felt self-indulgent, a bit “woe is me we’re infertile.” When it could be so much worse. I thought of Guiliana Rancic and a friend of mine – infertility and cancer. I thought of another dear friend of mine – infertility and fibromyalgia and lives with pain constantly. I thought of a child who is very dear to me with cystic fibrosis (and her parents dealing with it). I thought of a friend coping with her fathers’ Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. And I thought of all those people dealing with conditions or life problems that make them “other.” And I thought, we’re really not that different, none of us. Then I got to Mel's last paragraph. I should have trusted her (but it’s 3 am and I’m full of drugs and my brain isn’t working very well and I’m exhausted). She wrote, “They had no idea how deeply I felt my otherness, just as I had no idea looking at them how deeply they felt their own othernesses.” It expressed my feelings exactly after a horrible week. And it struck me that the one thing that binds so many of us in this world is our “otherness.” I wish we could recognise that, and appreciate that, rather than just look for the similarities.
PS. I am aware that a 3 am blog post may not be the wisest thing, so come tomorrow in the light of day, and hopefully after some more, peaceful, sleep I may decide to delete.