If you are going through hell, keep going !

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It’s chemo time again !

Time passes extremly fast … Tomorrow it’s gonna be the third out of four red chemo … Then twelve weekly taxol, but that is supposed to give less nausea and side effects … I hope so !

Before the surgery I felt like the treatments and everything were endless, now I have realized that it’s only a few more months … This thought gave me a lot of strenght and helped me to go back to my normal life, which felt so, so good.

I showed to a friend a picture of me with ice on my head after using the cold cap and she told me I looked like Elsa from Frozen, that really made laugh ! It was also very appropriate ….

I often say that this experience ,the first surgery, the chemical menopause, the second surgery, the chemos, somehow liberated me -of course I wish it happened another way but … it is what it is!- now I feel like I can speak my mind freely and even though I still worry about hurting other people feelings, I worry more about my feelings, and I am much more able to express them … which makes me feel closer with my friends and family.
I will keep this attitude for the rest of my life but don’t get me wrong: I will never thank cancer and I think that “finding something good out of it” is somehow a strecht ( if the expression makes sense… ) and I don’t feel comfortable with this.

Anyway here I am quoting a disney movie … I think the song lyric’s it’s perfecf …

it’s funny how some distance, can make everything seems small. And the fears that once controlled me can’t get me at all. it’s time to see what I can do, to test the limits and break through. No right, no wrong, no rules for me… I am free. Let it go, let it go
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go.That perfect girl is gone!
Here I stand,In the light of day
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway!”

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Let life make you better, not bitter

I think we can all agree that having (had) cancer and dealing with all its consequences, surgery and therapies, it’s quite challenging.

I love life, and I love to live it fully. I love to exercise, I love my yoga, I love my work, I love to cook, I love my friends, I love the weekend and  I especially love the night, may it be clubs or parties or dinners with many friends and many people, I love that moment when you find yourself talking to a perfect stranger about life and thoughts, or when your friends start to be extremely honest cause it’s 4AM and they don’t have the energy to pretend anymore (and you don’t have it yourself as well, so what started as a simple dinner ends out helping you more than a thousand-year of therapy… ), I also love myself and I know that right now I can enjoy many of these things just not as much as I used to, and, if I do, I have to deal with the consequences… so the past weeks I had been really good with food, eating fresh juices and steamed fish, but then this weekend I was out ’till late for a couple of days in a row and I had  too many drinks… and of course right now I feel terribly, I can not even climb stairs without getting out of breath …. so this is challenging to me. Either I stay in bed (basically only the days after chemo) or I just live 100%  until I am completely drained.

BUT what I find more challenging about the current situation is…….. trying not to kill the people around me.

Ok, well… maybe that was a little too dramatic but……. there are two different attitudes that really bothers me…. one it’s my fault as I am supposed to be a better person, and I strive to… but sometimes I just can’t. It’s difficult to me to deal with all those people who just complain about nothing, and at times I just wish I could shout: ” you are wining like a little baby over your broken nail, but hey… what if you had a real problem? what would you do?! ” and also I really don’t like the hypocrisy of those who ask me how do I feel but they just want to hear me saying I am ok, because they don’t actually want to deal with the reality that life is not all fairies and unicorns pooping rainbows…

Here a list of the most surprising things I heard about my cancer so far

1) While I still was in hospital after the mastectomy the mum of a friend told me that her daughter complained, because now that I had boobs she was the only one left without.

( also, there is nothing wrong if someone decide to have their breast augmented when having surgery to remove  cancer, but that wasn’t my case as I was worried only about having it removed completely – this is why I opted for a mastectomy instead of a lumpectomy- I just wanted my boobs to look normal )

2) “at least you had your boobs done”

3) A friend of mine asked me why I postponed my bachelor’s degree and when i told him that I had been in hospital because of breast cancer he looked at me and said ” well, but come on… you are not dying ! ”

4) Another one when I found out I had a recurrence – before I had all the body scans done told me: ” life is strange, today you are here and tomorrow… who knows!”

5) my favorites are all about the hair….  Many friends complained with me after they decided on their own to cut their hair shorter and some also found the gut to tell me that they, quote, can not recognize themselves anymore ….

I am actually happy with my shorter cut and happy that ,so far, it looks like that the cold cap it’s working, but when I am asked ( and I repeat: when I am ask, I never go around telling people how the cut made me feel, if I am  asked then I answer ) I usually answer that I am sorry that I don’t have my beautiful long red hair anymore, which is ok, it’s life, it’s not the end of the world and I never say it like it is, but anyway I am usually answered that “they will grow back”, and I know it’s true, it just drives me crazy that someone can tell me that “no problem, your hair will grow back, don’t wine about that” and after tell me that they feel bad about a cut they freely decided to have done !

…. So what I find difficult is to understand, to feel compassion, mutual understand, to not give in to anger and the instinct to just asks people to shut up. I want to be a good person and I try to be a better person… And I also honestly believe that experiences like this can make you better or can turn you into a hater… so…… let’s life make me better and not bitter, it is challenging but I hope I can do it…

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Post Scriptum :

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Back on Track

I am gonna be plain honest: I had a few rough days. I was a pain in the ass, to the whole world and to myself as well…I felt a lot of nausea and horrible pain in my stomach for a few days and I was also in a very bad mood cause I was missing all the fun of the new year celebrations, which is something most of the people hate but I actually adore… … I think my inner child loves new year eve the way the others inner children love christmas eve, sooo… let’s put it this way… It wasn’t me, I wasn’t bitchy, it was my very very disappointed inner child !

So… It’s late but I am gonna do it anyway

5 thing I loved of 2014

1) I graduated from university ( we say better late than never… )

2) I opened a yoga studio

3) I moved in with my boyfriend

4) I got three cats

5) I learned many asanas ( aka yoga postures )

5 things I hated of 2014

1) the first six months were difficult because I was still adjusting to living in menopause at my age which wasn’t really natural to me (BTW everyone was like: at least you are not having chemo, now I can say it: chemo is worse, but I still sincerely hate hot flashes with all my heart!)

2) when I started to feel normal again here it was… a recurrence… and from now on it’s an easy game

3) surgery

4) no yoga for 2 months after surgery

5) this is really easy: chemo

5 things I look forward to in 2015

(and this is what really matters, the five things I should repeat to myself every time I feel overwhelmed … )

1) I want our ( I opened it with a partner ) yoga studio to be super successful and to have tons of clients!

2) I want to start in september the class to become a yoga teacher myself !

3) I want to go to Greece, seat at a bar outside, during the sundown drinking a beer and eating saganaki (amazing fried cheese )

4) I want to go to the carnival of venice in a full typical gown

5) I would add a baby here… but there’s no way this is gonna happen any time soon, and adding a cat just would sound really silly… so… I write poems, and I hope at some point during the next year I will surprise myself sending one of my poems to a contest.

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BTW The asana in the picture is a Bakasana, is not a complicated pose, but after the axillary dissection I wasn’t sure if I could have ever done it again (actually I did it like, 30 times in a row the day before the surgery, just in case…) and here I was today less than 3 months later doing it again ( not perfectly, but still… ) …. Often the things we love teach us something about life, I do love yoga, and yoga today taught me yet another time that I have to be faithful in myself and in the process as well….

So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

We live in a world made of opposites.

From Parmenides, an ancient greek philosopher, who tried to divide the world into couples of opposite elements to the Taoists with their beautiful theory about the yin and the yang, going through many other theories that I surely ignore…

To describe myself I use to say that I am a walking oxymoron, so this theory applies to me as well…

Lately I have been thinking a lot about those contrasts in my own life, and in the reality that surrounds me… so here I go with a little list ( I absolutely love lists )

I hated every single second in which a man (a complete stranger of course ) opened a little my chest to put a piece of metal in it. At the same time I am so very grateful for the chance to have a piece of metal inserted in my chest so I won’t have to go through huge pain again, while a nurse desperately searching for a decent vein in my arm or hand.

– I am so incredibly grateful for the chance to cure myself, and to have these thousand (that’s what they seems to me) cycles of chemo and to wake up in the morning thinking that in a year this will be history (then I start to think about future and bla bla, but that’s a whole different story!) . At the same time … it sucks. and there’s not really another way of putting this down.

I honestly don’t care that I had to cut my hair short, and I really don’t care about scars, fake breasts, and bla bla bla… at the same time I miss my hair. I miss the delusion they gave me, that feeling of being young and healthy. the way I used to trust my own body.

– I live in a world where it is it what it is and it’s ok, but at the same time sometimes it is not ok at all

– I live in a world where I hear my boyfriend saying in his sleeps that we will fix everything and I will be fine, and my heart just broke a little, but at the same time … thanks god.

Last, and this is one of my sweetest (well… bittersweet, but still… ) memories…

Right after my mastectomy in june 2013 I was sitting in my parents’ garden during one of those super long days in which I was waiting for the results of the histological exam, and there was this incredible smell, all the flowers blossomed, and overall around me there was the smell of the magnolia, and I couldn’t help but think, and feel, how weird it was that I was living in a world where there was cancer, actually a world where I just had cancer, which is very, very different, but in the same world there was also room for the magnolia, and its incredible smell ….

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There is no Place like Home

I am at the airport about to go back home, these days were nice… I had some very beautiful moments and very hard ones.

I had eggs in every possible style and shape

I shopped at the union square xmas market while sipping hot apple cider and all my friends are getting apple-shaped ornaments for their trees this year –

I had too many margarita and many beautiful talks with my friends

I got a beautiful tattoo

I couldn’t wait after Thanksgiving to go back home beacause I need to go to the doctor and have my armpit medicated after the surgery (actully they have to drain the fluids but no one need these details I guess 🙈 ) it’s a pity cause I think in hard moments it really helps to seat down and count your blessings, they might be few or not even closely balance out your hardships but there must be some, somewhere.

I feel blessed that I am going home actually. I used to travel so much when I was younger, I never missed my country, not even my home, I never missed my friends, I never missed anyone… I was such a different person back then.

Now I can’t wait to be home seated on the couch waiting for my boyfriend to arrive while sipping red wine, tv on, under a blanket, with my cats sleeping on my legs.

Maybe I’m getting old, maybe when you are broken you just want your home and all the people that love you around, but for sure I also didn’t have a lot to go back to at that time…

“she knew she loved him when home went from being a place to being a person”

Crazy Cells, Crazy Life

So I found myself walking in the streets of new york at 6.AM – in my PJs- trying desperately to call a doctor that e-mailed me asking to call at 12.00 PM ( which is exactly 6 AM in NY ) so I did it…

of course no one answered as he was very busy and I spoke with yet another unpolite secretary ( I am getting so mean with unpolite doctors, nurses and everyone involved in the tiring burocracy of hospitals …. I don’t need someone to hold my hand, but I definetely don’t need someone to scold me because I called the wrong number either ! )

anyway I ended up with a cup of coffe at central park…

Life really is a beautiful struggle …

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PS. to anyone wondering what Love is I think that my boyfriend searching the whole internet ( after a full long day at work ) to understand what a cold cap is and how it works and how to get it, well… I think that might be an answer. I am so thankful and so deeply sorry at the same time !

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What’s up with cold caps to prevent hair loss during chemo? is that all bullshit ? I don’t mind spending the money or going through pain ( I mean… I do, but I don’t… ) … but I’d love to hear from someone with a first hand experience. I looked it up on the internet but could’t really get a grasp of it. Anyone out there ?

When I was a child and my nonna – grandma- brushed my hair she used to say “ chi bella vuol apparire un po’ di male deve soffrire” which translate to ” In order to look beautiful you have to go through some pain”. Not that keeping my hair on my head is a pure matter of beauty actually, but it really has a different meaning now… I wish she was still here now for a huge hug and some hot chocolate.

PS. consultation in Boston was really helpful, love america more then ever right now. and women make much betters doctors… now on my way back to NY

V