Every time I look at that picture of Lynne I think to myself, how did I ever score such a hot woman?? I’m sure you are all thinking the same thing!! Well whatever I did to win her over I’m extremely grateful that she came into my life.
I know that this sounds cliche and all but I have to say it. Without her, I really think my cancer journey might have ended short. If I can attribute my success to anyone, it’s her. The universe works in mysterious ways and I think it brought Lynne into my life to provide me with an example of pure strength, compassion and determination. Her experience with infertility really taught me a lot about how mindset, lifestyle changes and faith can drastically alter the course of your health.
She has also taught me how to be real. How to express emotions. Dream. Live fully. And how to write in short sentences!
A lot of the attention is directed towards me and sometimes I feel that she is forgotten. Her journey has been just as difficult as mine, if not more. However she continues to put her needs aside to keep me moving forward.
The intent of the Ten Percent blog has always been about sharing not only my story but also the story of others who walk a similar journey. So far I have journaled a lot about my experience but very little about Lynne’s. So today I thought it would be appropriate to share Lynne’s perspective on the infertility and cancer paths we have navigated together.
As we near the launch of the apparel I realize how I am more excited about what that launch will do for others. The Ten Percent Promise has been created to help alleviate some of the stress that cancer creates for a family like ours. Lynne talks about how we have been blessed with amazing friends and family who have helped us along the way. We now feel that it is time for us to keep that energy flowing and give back to others who are walking a similar path. We hope that you will be as excited about this as we are!
Everyone has a story. Ours just happens to involve fertility struggles, two miscarriages and once I was finally 3 months pregnant, a cancer diagnosis. Mark was given a ten percent chance of making it.
Growing up I was dismissed by doctors and told to wait until I wanted kids to look into some of my symptoms that weren’t normal. I later found out I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. At the rate I was ovulating, I had very little chance of conceiving naturally.
And so I embarked on a journey to find methods to heal my body. At first, I felt I could control the outcome. That if I did everything right, I would have a baby and become a mom. Which I wanted deeply.
The thing is, I learned along the way, that although we do have some responsibility and choice in a situation, we don’t have full control or certainty.
That was hard. It still is. With Mark having cancer and waiting for scan results and whether one form of treatment or another will work this time, is dealing with a whole lot of uncertainty. And although we have a whole new level of uncertainty tolerance, I know it can be hard.
The hard truth is that this is part of life. There’s always going to be a certain amount of certainty and uncertainty.
And although we can’t ultimately control the outcome, there are choices that we can make to help. Personally, I choose to take care of myself, to feel my feelings, and to reach out for support. To listen and communicate what I need. To be in the moment as best as I can. To cry. To be mad. To trust. To remind myself, that no matter what, I’m going to be ok. I can do this.
I feel like going through my fertility struggle, I learned the process of approaching things holistically and I felt what it felt like to go through the whole journey up until surrendering. Not giving up, but allowing what is. Accepting.
It is the same with Mark. And with our kids. Acceptance. Trust. Surrender.
One of the biggest and hardest things for me since Mark’s cancer metastasized to his pancreas in 2011, was asking for help. Both financial, emotional and practical help. All of it. Crying on a friends shoulder. Admitting that I was struggling. Choosing to move on from full-time work because it was too much. Allowing myself time and space to heal. Receiving donations to cover Mark’s health expenses.
These moments of reaching out and allowing to receive support, have been transformational for me. Although it was uncomfortable and scary, it felt so good to know that we were being held by others. I literally felt like we were being carried and lifted up.
Often I felt like we were just barely hanging on. I know how hard it is to struggle. To feel alone. To feel pissed off and question “why me?”.
Although we’re still dealing with the cancer, it has sort of become a something in the background. We’re acquainted. We have time. It doesn’t control us. And we’re ready to give back.
There’s a time to allow and receive and there’s a time to give.
So many friends, family, neighbours, strangers and colleagues have lifted us up. This is what community is about. Whether near or far. Supporting one another is how we get through the ups and downs of life.
I give back in my own ways as an Occupational Therapist working with families who are overwhelmed. And honestly, helping others is very healing for me. It is part of my life’s purpose and gives me tremendous meaning.
However, I know all too well, that sometimes when times are tough, it is an act of kindness and gift of money that is needed.
Our desire is to give unexpected gifts to families dealing with fertility and/or cancer. Because not all things unexpected are bad. I believe that we have all chosen our lives and for whatever reason Mark and I have chosen this one. We intend to do the most with it and seek out our true purpose. Sharing our stories is definitely part of this purpose we are seeking.
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