After being married for years, I wanted to have a child with every fiber of my being. Trial after trial, treatment after treatment, miscarriage after miscarriage: it was just not happening. Still, I was not ready to give up hope for a child. I was determined to fight until I could not fight anymore. I wanted to be a mother; I wanted to have a child.
So, the fight to be a mother continued. There were more and more tests being administered. Finally, a test showed that something was off.
My name is Cathy McKinnon, and this is my Kintsugi Story.
I had a doctor who was digging deeply to assist me with infertility issues. This was the doctor who discovered a tumor on my thyroid. It was completely unrelated, but we explored the tumor and found it was in fact cancerous.
At that point, I was spiraling down into depression. I did not know what the cancerous tumor meant for me, my future, and my fertility issues. I felt that I was being punished left and right. I was feeling that I had been kicked in the gut, hard.
At 30 years old, I had already gone through so much. My friends were having children, and I was receiving invitations for baby showers to celebrate their pregnancies and babies. Why couldn’t I do something so natural like have a child? Why is my body failing me? These questions filled my mind.
Luckily, we had found the tumor early, and it was contained. I had surgery and radiation treatments. After radiation, it was a full year until I could safely contemplate having kids again. The year passed. We quickly started trying again, because I wanted nothing more than to become a mother.
My world was getting darker and darker.
I got pregnant.
I lost the baby.
I suffered one additional miscarriage after fighting off cancer.
I blamed myself; it must have been something I did wrong. Around me, all my friends were having babies. I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong and why I couldn’t I fix this problem. There was no quick answer for my circumstances. I am a fixer type of person; I always find solutions for issues. How is it that I could not fix this problem? It was the biggest problem I had encountered in my life.
Finally, I became pregnant again. This time, I carried the pregnancy until the end. I had the most amazing, beautiful, lovable boy that I had prayed for so much and for so long. He was a healthy baby, and I was cancer free. Unfortunately, my marriage did not last. Today, I am a single mom and living my best life.
Fertility Struggles Saved My Life
If I had not struggled with fertility and taken so many tests, we would not have found the cancer early in its progression. I had no other symptoms to indicate I had a cancerous tumor. No one would have caught it if it weren't for my difficulties in having a baby. Today, I clearly see that there was a reason for my struggles with infertility. It was a long run: it was hard, it was devastating, but I am here healthier than ever.
Once the thyroid is removed, the body experiences tremendous changes. I had to get acquainted with my body all over again. My metabolism totally changed. The energy levels that I have currently are nothing like the old me. I had to re-learn how to maintain weight. This was something that was not so hard before cancer, but now it was a completely different ball game. All the quick tricks for losing weight didn’t work for me anymore.
I realized that I did not have enough body awareness. Before the tumor, I just went through the motions because it was working for me. It was a frustrating process, but it ultimately gave me a stronger self-awareness. I have made huge changes to my lifestyle. I realized that I can’t do as much as I used to do. I have to protect my energy and incorporate yoga and mindfulness to alleviate stress. Anxiety is very common when taking the kinds of medications that I take and will need to take for the rest of my life.
I never had an anxiety attack prior to my thyroid tumor, and I had to learn to navigate this new territory. Today, my son goes to yoga and does meditation with me. We have a much calmer and joyful life because of it.
We have routines and rituals which we integrated in our lives. We schedule everything, and we are very mindful and protect our energy. We step back, and we pay attention to what we do very consciously. He does it along with me, so I am teaching him a very mindful way of life from the get-go. If we are burnt out, we cut back and decline engagements as needed. In our society, we feel we need to be super human and say yes to everything, every opportunity. Maybe because of FOMO, maybe because of what others will think, but this is not a healthy way to live.
Aside from being a mom, which is my most important job, I am a project manager. I also coach women, and I do so because they asked for it. They used to wonder how I do everything. Then, I broke it down for them that I simply don’t. This realness made us connect very strongly, and the coaching side business was born.
I am here to support other women, because when I was going through my ordeal, I did not have support. My family is Irish-Catholic. My grandmother had 10 kids, and they could not understand why I couldn’t have one. I thought that it was my fault, something I did. I had these feelings, and they were not helping.
It is so important to have a non-judgmental support structure when going through life's ordeals. It helps so much. Sometimes, you have to create that for yourself.
My name is Cathy, and #IamKintsugi.
Cathy is a #1 International Best Selling author with her chapter in “ Silent Grief, Healing and Hope” where she bravely ,alongside 14 other women, shares her infertility journey. The book is a compilation of TRUE stories! Stories that will inspire and touch hearts everywhere! You can purchase a signed copy of “Silent Grief, Healing and Hope” from her website www.wellnesswarriorcoaching.com
“I hear you, I see you, I feel you, I AM you!”.
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