It’s been tougher than words can say. A long, uncertain journey, that brings the prospect of a (mandatory) inner transformation, but painful, really painful. Friends, family and co-workers have been amazingly supportive (and, actually, even strangers), and I’m thankful for being surrounded by love — but in the end this is a solitary route. Fine, that’s supposed to be kind of an Enhanced Existential Principle, like, we’re all alone etc, but right now… OH BOY WHAT A SCARE.
It hurts in my heart, in my ghost tumor, which I currently don’t know whether is still micronavigating somewhere in my body (noooo), and, actually, it hurts all over. Each physical or emotional pang, twitch or goosebumps rings the red button in my cracked head. Is it it? What is it? I’m getting used to that “C word”, that taboo word, that everybody-looks-down word — Cancer. Qué más da. I’m a warrior, I’m a chicken, I’m a warrior, I’m selfish, I cry some more. I’m a wreck right now, I Can Everything, I’m lost. I breathe, I concentrate, I meditate, I cry some more. I get ashamed of crying, I say to myself I’m brave, then I weep like a child at hospital corridors, public bathrooms, bank queues, my pillow at night.
And the things I hear. Ouch. I know most of them are well-intentioned. What would my comforting words be if it wasn’t with me? Tough, I know. But guys, #justsaying: please, as much as you can, try to acknowledge what a cancer patient (and, actually, anybody who’s having a really tough time) is going through. No, my cancer is not “easy”. It isn’t “nothing” — I feel it, I’m sorry, I honor my pain. It often feels like a nightmare. On the other hand, I know one’s got to #riseandshine (my new puppy mantra) and be strong and positive, cause — I do believe too, I’m trying! — that’s the right thing to do. Ya. I feel you. It’s getting hard. ;) Finally, please, don’t tell me about the cousinofthewifeoftheneighbour that passed away from cancer. And, please, try not to cry or act desperate/dramatic to show your sympathy, cause deep inside this only makes me sad (and desperate and dramatic, for I’m a sponge for emotions lol). I know you care.. If you can, please, send me cute cat memes instead. Let’s talk about life.
Hm errm right.
I’ve been saying to my dear ones: please, don’t worry about the right words. Just be with me. That’s so important. It’s usually so hard for me to ask for help (I know I know I’m terrible). And, also, as I said, talk about life. I want to know your stories and your fears and happy moments too. Don’t reduce their importance, thinking oh, she’s got cancer, nothing compares… Nobody compares to nobody. We’re so unique. I’d go mad if I thought that.
I was supposed to get some results last Thursday, when I had my first appointment with the oncologist. I like her (a relief, cause we’ll be seeing each other for quite some time). Practical and attentive. Maybe too practical. I got no further answers from what I’ve already been told — I’m a stage 1a (good), grade 3 (not good), HER2-, PR+ ER+ (super hormone positive). Instead, she sent me to some CTs, bone scintigraphy, (more) blood tests. Also, we’re sending a paraffin-embedded sample of my tumor for a MammaPrint genomic test in Amsterdam, and I went in person to pick it at the hospital and take it to the clinic. Walking around Sarrià on a sunny autumnal afternoon with Mariah in my bag, what a blast.
The delay on knowing what’s next kills me sometimes, but I’m slowly learning how to cope with uncertainty. And whenever I feel weak and weary, I remember the radiologist’s words, one day after the diagnosis, as he performed a lymph nodes echography on me (while I sobbed and stopped, self-punishment style): don’t see this is as a problem, but as the beginning of the solution.
Yoga, respiratory exercises (thanks to my wonderful personal coach and sister rubita TM) and love from dear ones has been my medicine. I got beautiful flowers from work, lots of lovely hugs, comfy food and deep, heartwarming conversations.
What about love for myself? I find it easier to pity than loving myself, but I’m learning. I’ve been playing around with some post-surgery selfies, and I like it, and this in turn is giving me one or two ideas for the near future. <3
I’m also connecting with some amazing women who are facing BC or have been through it — and more. Cancer is closer to a chronic disease than ever — that means that treatments are improving patient’s lives and life expectancy, but also refers to the fact that the fear of recurrence is real, and long-term. I’ve been meeting wonderful beings who have been through an awful lot. Each experience is unique. I’m learning with them, and with mine.
The other day I had a normcore dream, like, just a normal day in-the-life, I mean, for some of you, cause to me it’s a dreamday, a cancer-free, care-free day, with normal errands and normal rights and wrongs like not long ago, and, well, when I woke up it took me some moments to realize my real non-normcore reality, and when I did it felt like a Full Shock from fringe to toes, THIS CAN’T BE.
But hey, acceptance and warrior spirit are coming in waves.
I’ve been to four hospitals today, between transporting tumor samples, explaining my breast cancer to a team of gynecologists so they could tell me whether public health could fund a cryopreservation of my eggs (errm?), plus CTs with contrast (yey, signing papers where they warn you that you’re about to receive the equivalent of 900 x-rays and, hey, THAT might increase your risk of getting cancer, ora ora) and some paperwork. I went through the day without freaking out, kudos for me. (nonono, Susana, it’s just what you’re supposed to do now, be brave, be positive, you can, feel the love, focus etc) (I hear this all the time, but I’m my toughest couch). And then, at the end of the day, while I nonchalantly explained all this to my bf I went: wow.
And wept some more, this time on my (medicinal, inspiring, really brave) boyfriend’s shoulder, cozy as an autumn evening, a Friday evening, never again trivial………..