Every participant at the Miraval conference had a uniquely powerful story of loss and redemption, despair and hope. Some of the most poignant stories came from young women who underwent cancer treatment that saved their lives but impaired or destroyed their fertility before they'd ever experienced motherhood.
I can't possibly know what that is like. But my underlying philosophy of Healthy Survivorship holds true: Knowledge, hope and action (KHA) can help you get good care and live as fully as possible. KHA can help these women make their lives the best they can be, and then accept what is.
One such woman is Michelle, who told her story in Mamm magazine a few months ago. After completing her cancer treatments, her only hopes of having a child with her genetic material hinged on seven frozen embryos (and now hinges on the four remaining embryos).
It's a tough balancing act - hoping for the desired outcome and accepting the unfavorable odds. As a Healthy Survivor, right now she can put her energy into trying to realize her slim and strong hope that one of those embryos becomes a baby one day.
Meanwhile, she finds comfort in knowing that her marriage and overall happiness don't depend on this one hope being fulfilled. Her hopes of an enduring love with her husband and a life filled with joy - no matter what happens - are broad and deep. They sustain her.
My hopes and prayers are with her.