Back to the beginning – ‘The first symptoms’ Up to – ‘First visit to the doctor’
Back to previous post – ‘Angry lymph nodes’
June is gone and we are now in July.
Unlike the past three summers with their clingy, incessant rains, this one is a beauty. Dublin is sparkling under the sun, the sky is all so blue, birds are chirping a thousand wavering tremolos and people are strolling up and down the roads, throwing away their umbrellas and acting happier.
Not me though.
I can barely walk. Every step I take is painful. Every time I lift myself from the chair, it hurts. Every sudden movement or stretch brings back the pain. The bloated abdomen only grows even more bloated with each passing day.
Nothing gets better, everything gets worse.
Whatever this is, it doesn’t give up and it doesn’t go away. It sticks with me, glued to my body, invading my soul.
And instead of running to the doctors, I hide in a corner and start shaking in my shoes.
Frozen in fear.
I cling to desperate hopes – a urinary infection, a bloating indigestion, a painful hernia.
In reality, all these self-applied medical diagnoses are nothing more but deceitful smoke to blind me away from the truth.
The trick doesn’t work.
Deep down inside myself, I know, I already know, fully know, that this is serious. Much more serious than a common urinary infection. But I’m so frightened, I don’t even have the courage to put together the deadly sentence – ‘This-is-cancer’.
– ‘Go away! Go away!’ – I cry in the silence.
I can’t face it.
I can’t look at it, I cannot hear it.
Denying the obvious, I am now officially entering ‘The ostrich faze’.
Under the vicious attack, I lay down on the ground and frantically start digging a hole. I want to bury my head deep, deeper still, inside a hole so profound as to keep me safe and take me away and afar from the evil malady with sharp claws and malignant cells that lives inside my bloated belly.
I’m facing the enemy I fear the most and I cannot look it in the eyes.
In being afraid of cancer, I’m not alone.
Most people have a fear of cancer; the feeling is normal and quite common.
But I, for one, am not content with simply being afraid of cancer.
Neah, neah, neah!
I am taking this to another level, I am obsessed with it.
This morbid fascination started a long time ago, with the death of my mother.
I was 11. She was 38.
My mother, my hero, was a special person.
An accomplished hydrotechnics scientific researcher, she was highly educated and well-respected. But she was also a kind human being, generous and full of life. Her many friends were constantly calling and visiting the house, chatting over a cup of tea or enjoying long dinners together, late into the night. People naturally gravitated around her, attracted by her kindness and beauty. They loved her.
I adored her.
And you know what? That’s not all.
She was also very beautiful, a stunning young woman, so generously gifted.
It took cancer less than a year to rip all that apart.
One year of suffering, and pain, and the enormous, gigantic belly filled with malignant fluid, the crawling on her knees, and the tears, the cries for help, the desperation and the deep, deep sadness.
In the end she was left nothing but a shadow, nothing but bones, a skull that kept on breathing.
Breathe in and breathe out, you poor, poor skull.
I saw it all.
38 years later, while writing this, I cry in pain.
(Roll down, you teardrop of sadness, go and entwine yourself to my mother’s memory, make her sparkle, bring her my love).
The impact her suffering and death had over me was tremendous. A fearsome blow from which I could never recover.
At 11, a terrified child, I already started thinking of death and wishing for a different outcome.
‘Please God,’ – I would pray, ‘don’t let me die of cancer! Anything else, but not cancer!’
I didn’t know much about cancer, – what it is, or how it works, but I knew all too well what it did to my beautiful mother. The pain and the horrors of the breathing skull would stay, engraved in my blood, with me forever.
Clinching my little fists and with all the might of a soul of a child, I started hating cancer.
Over the years the feelings grew stronger and I found myself becoming somewhat fascinated by cancer. It wasn’t even that hard, given that cancer was everywhere. On TV and in the news, chatting to friends and browsing the internet, it kept creeping back into my life. It seemed that every day someone else was dying at the claws of cancer.
It enraged me.
There we were, more than a quarter of a century after the death of my mother, and people all around me kept on dying at ever-increasing rates, and most of them suffered just as much.
‘How is that possible?’ – I asked myself. ‘For decades we’ve been pouring literally billions of dollars into cancer research and treatments, the financial and intellectual effort is tremendous and world-wide, and yet, we’ve barely made any progress at all! While science is moving at a snail pace, human beings are continuously being reduced to these pitiful bags of bones, walking skeletons who drop like flies!’
It enraged and it intrigued me.
‘What is it about cancer that makes it so difficult to beat?’
Looking for an answer I embarked on a quest. Years ahead of my own diagnosis I started researching, spending long hours deep into the nights, reading books and online studies about the mechanics of cancer.
Not many healthy, free-of-cancer people do that, but I did.
It obsessed me that much.
I got my answers, alright.
I know now how cancer works, and I know why it is almost impossible to beat.
I will tell you all about it at a later date, but for now, just remember this : cancer is a super-intelligent, incredibly sophisticated, natural way of killing us.
By design it was meant to not be easily beaten.
In the above sentence there are a few words that I want you to focus on.
The first, is ‘design‘.
Cancer is not an accident, or a mistake. Cancer is the careful, intentional result of outstandingly clever design and programming. Cancer’s DNA code is so complicated, not even all the powerful IBM servers in the world, united in unison can decipher it.
The second word is ‘meant’.
Cancer is not abhorrent, randomly spreading its enormous cells here and there, wasting precious energy and chancing its luck. Every transformation, every movement, every cancer cell is undergoing follows a plan and meets a purpose.
Cancer is intensly focused and has a clear mission.
To kill you.
In a Universe where everything, (alive or not), has to come to an end, Cancer is nothing else but a mighty efficient weapon to ensure that human beings too, obey the rules and go through death.
One day humanity will win the fight against cancer, (oh yes! we will!) but that’s a special threshold, an enormous step ahead that still alludes us.
We’re not there yet and for now, unfortunately, we just have to keep on dying.
And there I am, standing in the line, waiting for my turn to meet Death and shaking in my boots.
Too afraid to go to the doctors, I’m desperately burying my head deep into the sand. I don’t want to hear what the doctors might have to tell me. I can’t face their words, I can’t listen to their diagnonis!
Once it is out in the air, on black and white and X-rays scans, ‘here it is! You have cancer!’, the doors are bolt shut and there is no escape.
My life, as I build it and know it, will have to come to an end. Ravaged, brutally turned upside down.
But I’m so busy now, so close to reaching my goal of becoming a real person that I can’t bring myself to give all that up.
I deny and delay, and cling to the absurd hope that the urgency to go to the toilet, the swollen groins, the pain and the bloated abdomen are all caused by some mysterious infection that will soon pass.
But of course, it doesn’t.
In the next few days, doubled-up with pain, I will have no other choice but to look for medical help.
The delusional honeymoon will soon be over.
Back to the beginning – ‘The First Symptoms’ Up to – ‘First visit to the doctor’
Back to previous post – ‘Angry lymph nodes’