Keep Calm and …

Just kidding … chemo will be next monday because my white cell count was too low ….

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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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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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Champagne Supernova

This week was really intense, I felt good since Tuesday and had been a hurricane since then…

This was my main problem also last year when I started the tamoxifen… I felt so tired all the time but apparently I am not mature enough to accept my limits, I just keep doing a million things until I am completely knocked out ! I didn’t change much since then… 

I stopped buying christmas presents a couple of years ago and instead I bake cookies for my friends, which is a little bit more stressing, but at the same time I enjoy the cooking part and is a nice gesture of love! So I spent my friday baking cookies and buying christmas decoration for the christmas party I hosted with my boyfriend at our place….

Since the chemo I started to eat only natural organic foods,almost no meat, mostly fruit, lots of fresh juices, veggies, soups  and fish (I am a former vegetarian so I also like to eat that way ) I need to take care of myself in this moment, try to exercise and eat properly, maybe in this way  I can go through the treatments with less side effects. …  so now I feel  guilty for having had too many drinks and for eating maaaaaaany unhealthy foods during these days  but since my next chemo will be on the 29 I guess this week-end included my celebrations for the new year as well ! And by the way… I had so much fun …totally worth it ! 

Also… tomorrow I will have a small surgery for the port which is a little button put under skin near the clavicle and is used to access the vein for the chemo, I am not exactly thrilled to have another plastic piece put in my body but I also realize that it will really be useful, temporary and bla bla bla….

” Friends are therapists you can drink with “

 

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Question is

Does having a cat seated on your stomach help with post-chemo nausea? actually not, but he’s not ready to accept it ! ( the hot pillow actually helps though … )

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Anyway is almost Christmas time and I really don’t care about chemo or other stuff, we are organizing a party with our friends for next saturday and is gonna be amazing and fun ! ( Actually mostly I am seated on the couch making phone calls to have everything delivered at our place for fhe party ! )

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If I never go to sleep, could tomorrow never come ?

So tomorrow is my first chemo day, shit about to get real.

I feel a million things all at the same.

Part of me is definetly horrified and is planning on escape.
Part of me is OK cause this is so much like when your parents slapped you on your face as a kid: at first you hate them but in the long run you realize it was for your good.
Part of me is feeling really ironic cause I will be seated the whole day with an iced cap on my head and this is sad but also weird and somehow I still manage to find it funny.
Part of me is scared because I still don’t know if I want to do a port, a so called “pick” or a regular IV but none of this seem realy appealing to me… A tiny little portion of me feels curious like ” ok we have been talking about this chemotherapy for a while now, let’s go and se what we were talking about! ”

Whatever …

Here my prayers:

Please Universe, God, Ganesh, Nature, Whatever Energy is there outhere:

1) kill, destroy, defeat, kick the ass of every single tumoral cell that may be left in my body. I hate it and I am definetly willing to give it/them a one way ticket to fuck-you-land

2) help me keep a good attitude and continue doing many many things during these months

3) dont let this horrible moment ruin my relationship

3) let me keep my hair, or some of it and let me keep my eyelashes because I want to look cute ,as silly it might sound, but also because people are stupid and I am fed up with questions


OK, I am about to take a hot bath with a glass of red wine listening to some good music… find a second to cross your fingers … I’ll cross mine for you all …

When you set out for Ithaca
ask that your way be long,
full of adventure, full of instruction.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon – do not fear them:
such as these you will never find
as long as your thought is lofty, if refined
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
savage Poseidon you will not meet
unless you carry them in your soul,
unless your soul raises them up before you.

Ask that your way be long.
May there be many Summer mornings when,
with what gratitude, what joy –
you shall enter first-seen harbors;
may you stop at Phoenician trading centres,
and to buy good merchandise,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensuous perfumes of every kind,
sensuous perfumes as lavishly as you can;
to visit many Egyptian cities,
to gather stores of knowledge from the learned.

Have Ithaca always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.

But don’t in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaca to give you wealth.
Ithaca gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She hasn’t anything else to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca hasn’t deceived you.
So wise you have become, of such experience,
that already you’ll have understood what these Ithacas mean.

Constantine Kavafis