July 23, 2013

As much truth as one can bear

That is actually the title of an album by one of my favourite singers yet to be released. However it seems fitting for this post.

Life after chemo has been hard on me. With a sad face I want to pout, 'Herceptin isn't anything like they promised it would be. You liars, it reminds me way too much of chemo.'

I know I always described chemo as my black hole. The darkest, coldest, loneliest place on earth. But this weekend I think I hit rock bottom. It was freakin' hot and sweaty with lots of salty tears.

I have been feeling so sad for the last couple of months. My heart aches. I am nervous about everything. Everything. I seriously do not have any control over my nerves any more. I don't enjoy the things I used to. I'm so sad about everything that has happened to me. So scared about everything that is still coming up, the Herceptin I won't finish until January 2014. I see bears on the road everywhere. I'm done. It's been over a year and I'm done. I could not make it one step further.

So there I stood... in the middle of the room with my hands clinging to the dining table. Crying uncontrollably and screaming out loud I was going crazy. With my dad on my right side and my mum on my left side. Holding me.

I broke. 

So it's time. To reach out. I realized I can't do this all by myself any more.

So we called my oncologist and his secretary forwarded my appointment to next week. I am going to tell him how I feel and that I'm ready to see a psychologist.

Advice is like snow - the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper in sinks into the mind. 

Yes. I finally made my decision and I realize that I won't be healed in a week or forgotten everything after a year. No this will be my bagage for the rest of my life. So I better make sure I give it a nice place. A little corner. Because I deserve that.

July 12, 2013

Fuck cancer

So there are a few terms in cancerland I really loathe. Today is the perfect day to explain myself and let you know why I feel this way.

Let's start with Cancerversary. Because after all today would be my one year Cancerversary. Really?! A Cancer-fucking-versary?

An anniversary is a day that celebrates a past event that occurred on the same date of the year as the initial event. 

I'm sorry but the appropriate response to a "Cancerversary", is just NOT “congratulations”. There is nothing good about having cancer. I get that some people see it as a date to celebrate life and the fact they pulled through. I don't feel like that. Maybe when I am done with treatment and step by step putting this behind me, when I will feel 'whole' again, like a person. A new me. Better, stronger and improved. Hell, maybe even carefree some days. I will celebrate that new woman's life and enjoy every single minute of it. But I do not need a stupid fucking Cancerversary for that.

The other term I'm really uncomfortable with is survivor. Just like Cancerversary it's just not something we use in my language related to cancer. Yup no concept of “cancer sur­vivor” in Dutch. Maybe that is one of the reasons why I would never call myself like that. 

Survivor is someone or something that still exists after an event that could have killed or destroyed them.

Last night I was watching Homeland (great show) and Brody said, "Don't call me a hero, I was captured and shoved in a hole and all I did was not die." And I could relate to that. Maybe I don't give myself enough credit here. Maybe it's unfair to all the pain I felt and am still feeling. But what word do we have for the people who fought just as hard and didn't make it? And why only cancer? We don’t say the same thing when someone has con­gestive heart failure.

So today I cried. Bawled my eyes out, exactly like one year ago. Only this time it's because I'm so sick and tired of everything cancer. 
"Remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be. "

July 5, 2013

How are you

It's always weird when strangers confront you with your illness. I mean seriously, I know I would never do that to a person I do not know. But apparently there are people out there confident enough and see no problem with it. I was with my sister at this health store buying Weleda products. I was wearing my hat not my wig.

The lady at the counter asked me whether I used these products before. Yes yes I'm a fan. She then asked me whether or not I tried the pomegranate line. I told her I'm not familiar with those products. She then said, "I'll give you some samples, may you use lotion and oil products? I ask because I have a friend... and well I know there were products she couldn't use during treatment."

Okaaaay. Weird. I felt weird. A little uncomfortable. There were people standing in line behind me. Quickly I told her I already finished chemo and I can basically use anything. "Oh gooood", she said, "and your prognosis?" Wow. Really. "Yeah I'm fine, everything is fine!" I said.


Truth is. I'm not fine. I'm having a hard time lately. Three months since my last chemo and I have been crying for the last two weeks. It just takes me off guard sometimes. These feelings. My head becomes a dark hole. My heart weights so heavy. The pain is intense. I do not have any control over my nerves. The tears just keep coming and coming.

I think I have accepted these pretty pretty tears by now. It makes sense right?! After all the shit I've been through, I also have to go through this. I have to process what happened to me. I was worrying so much about not knowing how to pick up the pieces but I'm not even there yet. First you mourn I guess.

So yes I have been thinking about seeking help or reading a book about dealing with cancer. But again: not there yet. Today I realized I need to seek distraction in things that aren't cancer. Things that make me happy such as art, being creative, shopping, bunnies, books, TV series.

Since my hair is working hard on a serious come back I decided to dedicate a page to it. You can find it on the menu on the right or just click here. I will update this page every month.