Hello there, remember me?! I wanted to write another update to tell you about my progress. Because I hate blogs that aren't updated anymore and you never know what happened to that person. I just hope one day, somebody reads this and feels a little less lonely. That my words or photos will mean something to just one person. That be enough.
When I started working again last year, at the same time one of my former bosses found out he was sick. A melanoma spread to his brain and lymph nodes. I was his secretary for about 4 years. So I sent him a card and in January I wrote him a long email. He wrote me one back and was so happy to hear from me. We chatted about our treatment, hopes, distraction, loving family/friends and photography. He knew he wasn't going to get better, but there were still lights of hope. He had surgery and was going to start immunotherapy... but it wasn't meant to be. He got partly paralysed because of a cerebral hemorrhage and died at home with his wife and twins.
I really felt the need to be at his cremation. To be surrounded by people who knew him. I have been thinking about him a lot. Mostly happy memories of a secretary. The cremation was intense, sad and personal. Music was our 'thing' and we always talked a lot about concerts.. he even gave me a CD for my birthday once. So when I heard James Bay, Venice, Dotan & Coldplay... it was just perfect.
Afterwards I went up to his wife who also spoke during the cremation. What a beautiful soul! What a gorgeous strong person. It's strange how people you barely know can touch your soul like that! Wow. I told her my name and she said her husband showed her my photo series of the Chemo Chronicles. She gave me a tight tight hug.. and she said, "But look at you now, you're still here.. you're still standing strong"... and at that moment I realized what the term 'survivors guilt' really means. But don't get me wrong I'm really really glad I went. It was a powerful goodbye.
I have slowly started to cut back on the antidepressants. Well at least one of them, the ones that are making me fat and hungry. I'm still taking the Citalopram, but I kept gaining weight on the Mirtazapine. I'm a vegetarian but I felt like I could eat an entire horse every night. It really got out of hand and it made me sad, which is exactly the opposite of what its suppose to do right?! I took a 1/2 pill for 3 weeks, and now I'm on 1/4 for the second week. I have had some withdrawal symptoms but I'm determined to quit this happy-but-fatty-pill.
I have been seeing my physiotherapist twice a week. We are working on my muscles, strength, condition, balance, flexibility etc. It is hard work! He makes me sweat like a pig.
I am currently working 5 hours on three days.. and I also work a couple of hours at home. It still is a struggle.. mostly the fatigue and joint pain. But I enjoy being among colleagues. People seem generally happy to see me, I still get hugs and kisses when they see me. I started working as a project assistant for a pretty big project and that is something I have always enjoyed. I'm still not sure what is going to happen to me, because I'm reintegrating and I don't have a permanent job, I'm surplus. But I try to not to worry about that, and have faith what will meant to be will be. Also I might have to work as secretary again.. and that feels like taking a step back. Being back at work you see people with new jobs, who have developed and educated themselves. I talked about this with my psych and what matters now is I will feel better about going back to work. Finding back my confidence, a daily rhythm. I am still young and I have plenty of time to find out what it is I really want.
My company doctor. Oh my, don't get me started on this guy. He actually told me.. and I quote, "Compared to other people in your situation, I think you can't do anything." Are you fucking kidding me?! I was so pissed. I told him about how hard it was for me to look at the things I have achieved and that I am working every fucking single day to look at the positive things in my life instead of the things I have lost. I was really emotional but determined! In Dutch we say, die heb ik een poepie laten ruiken.. I kicked his ass!
So from that point on my appointments are a little more pleasant. He actually gave me a compliment last time we spoke. Ha! So always, ALWAYS stand up for yourself... but also realize you never EVER have to apologize for the way you chose to survive. Don't abandon the person you used to be.. but carry her! Be brave, be strong!