Silent Sorority

Infertility Survivors Finally Heard

August 15, 2014

Blogging From Bed: Is That Acceptable?

It’s past 10 am on a Thursday. I’m writing this blog post in bed.

Acceptable or unacceptable?

On any typical Thursday my answer would be unacceptable.  Not allowed, missy! 

However, I awoke this morning with stitches and pain emanating from my lower left calf.  I softly adjusted my position and gave myself permission to take it easy. This shift minimized the pressure on the troublesome limb — the one that was the focus of a three-hour Mohs surgery yesterday.

The stitches will be in for two weeks. All that will be left of the basal cell skin cancer will be a jagged “s” or “z” shaped scar. The mark will remind me I was lucky to find the skin cancer early — before it had a chance to do real damage. I discovered it by a fluke. I was in to see the dermatologist for what I thought was a problematic mole on my ear. The mole turned out to be nothing, but once there the doctor asked about a pencil-eraser-sized area hidden from my view. I could only see it afterwards by contorting.

“If this doesn’t go away in a few weeks, come back and we’ll biopsy it,” she advised.

It didn’t go away and it got itchy. I went back. The biopsy determined it was basal cell cancer, the most frequently occurring form of all cancers.  (Do yourself a favor — learn more and get regular skin checks).

Out of my normal routine this week and surrounded by reporting on Robin Williams’ death as well as reading the latest in fertility procedure coverage (stranger than usual due to the surrogacy scandal in Thailand), I’ve had more than the usual time to reflect on society’s response to certain topics.

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Acceptable or Not?

Skin cancer – socially acceptable

Mental health issues – socially unacceptable

Infertility – socially unacceptable

As scary as it is to get a skin cancer diagnosis, I can now say definitively that it’s easier to have a socially acceptable condition than a socially unacceptable one.

Among my reading this week: Fellow blogger Nicole writes passionately about her experience with  depression and BBC actress Maxine Peak explains why she is no longer staying silent about her infertility experience, noting:

“I think women can feel ashamed, like they’ve failed or like they’re not a woman somehow if they don’t have kids, and that’s wrong. It shocks me that in this day and age motherhood still often defines a woman.”

Many of us know whereof she speaks. It is not easy to be a woman without children in today’s society. Fortunately, we’re finding new ways to engage and express our varied talents and contributions. Accordingly, we’re beginning to see more open discussion and some change in what’s socially acceptable. If you missed it, check out Jody Day’s brilliant post, Things I Wish I’d Known at 40.

Together we are redefining womanhood outside of the motherhood default.  No woman should have to explain why she is not a mother.

You can share your wisdom

On the subject of mental health, fellow writer Miriam Zoll alerted me that the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology has opened for review and comment fertility staff guidelines: Routine psychosocial care in infertility and medically assisted reproduction – A guide for fertility staff. As current or former patients and health care providers for women and men facing challenges conceiving, your input would be most valuable. Please take some time to share your thoughts on this link.

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News Reports and Studies, Pop Culture 13 Replies to “Blogging From Bed: Is That Acceptable?”
Pamela Tsigdinos
Pamela Tsigdinos
Writer, blogger and, oh, yeah, infertility survivor. My memoir, Silent Sorority, tells the whole story. There's a movie in there somewhere. Given the quirkiness needed to relate it all I'm thinking Jennifer Lawrence would be a good fit.


13 thoughts on “Blogging From Bed: Is That Acceptable?

    Author’s gravatar

    I love that you can find the deeper message in life experiences — like surgery for skin cancer! Jeez! Rest up and feel better soon! xoxo

    Author’s gravatar

    How appropriate – my anti-spam word today is “healing.”

    Even when you blog from bed, you’re good. Not good, great. I will add to the list of socially unacceptable conditions – any women’s reproductive health issues, along with infertility, including hysterectomy!

    I’m glad you referred to Nicole’s great post too.

      Author’s gravatar

      PS. I also wholeheartedly support your encouragement to others to be careful in the sun and look out for skin changes. My father died as a result of metastasised skin cancer, after a lifetime in the sun (he was a farmer). It never fails to shock me to see people using baby oil and getting deep tans. To me, a tan is unhealthy!

    Author’s gravatar

    Oh, Pamela, I’m so sorry that you’ve had to face this, but I’m glad that you caught it early. You’ve reminded me it’s time for my periodic check.

    I think the connection between infertility and mental health is a good one to examine. And here’s to reducing shame wherever possible.

    Author’s gravatar

    Thanks so much for the mention! I am sorry to hear you had to deal with a skin cancer. My mom and my husband have both had MOHs to remove small basal cell cancers before and it heals up amazingly well! So, there should be basically no scar in the end. I hope it all heals up well and that you don’t have any other problems. Having had invasive cervical cancer, infertility and crushing depression – all three social unacceptable things to discuss (people are very uncomfortable with cervical cancer oddly) – I’ve become a big advocate of talking about the unacceptable as I know someone out there needs my words. If I help one person, I feel I’ve made the world a bit better off. Rest up and I hope you are up and moving around again soon!

    Author’s gravatar

    Blog from bed, from work, from the moon… just so long as you’re writing, we’ll be reading. ;) (Behind the steering wheel excepted, lol.) Thanks for the reminder about the importance of getting any suspicious growths checked out (and I love how you still managed to connect this to infertility!). The younger brother of my best friend from high school died from melanoma that started under the nail of his big toe, of all places. By the time he had it checked out & they figured out it wasn’t some kind of fungus, it was too late, and he died when he was just 40. :( I always think of him whenever I put on sunscreen.

    Author’s gravatar

    Loribeth’s comment made me smile (Blog from bed, from work, from the moon… just so long as you’re writing, we’ll be reading. ;)) I couldn’t agree more!

    Wishing you fast & complete recovery. I am happy they caught it early.


    Author’s gravatar

    I agree with the others; I don’t care where you blog, I’ll be here reading. Except maybe blogging from the bathroom. That would be weird. And gross.

    I’m glad to hear that you are on the mend and I’m sorry that you have to go through this. I hope that you’re 100% soon! Most of the time not having kids is really hard, but every so often, in times like this, I’m thankful that I don’t have to take care of anyone but me.

    Author’s gravatar

    Hi Pamela and thank you so much for the mention of my “Things I Wished I’d Known at 40” blog. You’ve been such a brilliant support since the very beginning of Gateway Women and I really appreciate that! Hugs to you and hope you get well soon. Jody x

    Author’s gravatar

    Thanks one and all for your kind comments and good wishes! Will get my one week check up on the surgery site this Wed. The leg wound appears to be healing well. Can’t wait to get back to my regular exercise routine. Laying around is not nearly as satisfying as being active. Be well! ox

    Author’s gravatar

    Pamela, get well soon and thanks for the important links you’ve put in this post. Good to hear that the leg wound appears to be healing well.

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