Thursday, January 12, 2012

Taken from the community

I belong to an online group of adult congenital heart defect patients. I rarely put in my two cents or create a topic of my own but I do pop in from time to time, especially when friends of mine post. There was a topic that came up recently - the original content is irrelevant and a private matter I'm not going to hit the spotlight with right now - but the topic, as always, derailed as people started talking about themselves (as we are all wont to do) and bounce from subject to subject.
I had my own thoughts on some of the side-topics that came up, however, I'm one whose eyeball twitches when the discussion I pose goes off topic and I did not want to be a hypocrite and do that to someone else, so I decided to bring it here.

One topic that came up was the idea of dating a person with a CHD.
I was never attracted to the idea of dating another CHDer - I have enough drama in my own exam room, I don't want his as well. I had enough problems just making friends in this community and allowing myself to give a crap & care and all of that vulnerable junk... I didn't have the luxury of Camp del Corazon (though I could have...Loma Linda *glare*) nor friends outside of the hospital with a similar condition. I never grew up realizing how difficult it is to love someone with a serious illness, to allow them into your life and potentially have to lose them. I know, I know, ANYONE we let into our lives has the potential to have a piano fall on their head and leave us prematurely but death from a betrayal in our own genetic code/failure of science or whatever is just shit. Plus, and I know it sounds egotistical, but it makes us dwell on our own mortality and raises fears & questions nobody wants to face.
In the subsequent years following my entering the CHD community (by way of volunteering at camp) I have lost a couple of people. Children, in fact. That shit stings like a wasp with your name tattooed on it.
So it was never even a consideration or a fleeting thought to date another CHDer. I don't want to go through what my mom, my brother, my friends and my boyfriend have gone through. I don't want to feel what they feel when I go to the emergency room. I don't want to have the scary thoughts about losing someone I love. I dealt with that once - when my brother was in a car accident. I never want to look at a loved one in a gurney again.


Another topic that came up is a super sensitive, highly individualized one: reproduction, what we believe is best for ourselves (as individuals) and how it is approached in a relationship.

I'm not saying this to brag but my guy helped me find the strength to go through with my recent partial hysterectomy. I don't believe in risking the chance of a pregnancy - that small chance of a "miracle" just wasn't that alluring to me. I get the smug satisfaction of adoption instead - but I also had the good fortune of having the idea planted in my head as a small kid. I've elaborated on that before so I won't go into it again but the point is I found a guy who didn't give a damn that I won't bear the fruit of his loins. Some other broad can do that for the right price! I don't even want to use my eggs and thank goodness my guy is with me on that front too because genetics are not in my favor. I want my potential future baby to have a fighting chance, health-wise, and if I have to get a little Gattica about it, so be it.

Aside: I resent the word "miracle" being thrown around when describing the ability to give birth. That's not a miracle, that's science. Miracle by definition is an unexplainable phenomena, usually attributed to supernatural/religious forces. The female reproductive system and gestation of a fetus to infant is perfectly explainable. It's an insult to the technological advances of science through the laborious work of scientists, researchers and doctors everywhere that someone would wrap their hard work up in a tidy word like "miracle." Unless, of course, you just mean it as a synonym for "marvel" as in "the miracle of science." I'm cool with that.