The ostrich

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.
I’m terrified.
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.
The ostrich.
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’

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9 Responses to The ostrich

  1. Bonnie Dean says:

    My prayers are with you. Please read John 3:16, 2 Timothy 1:7 and Philippians 4:6-9.

    • Cancer By 2 says:

      Thank you, Bonnie :)
      One of the things that cancer took away from me is my faith. I lost the peace that comes with prayer. I’m bitter and frightened and with so much cancer to deal with and so much pain, I feel abandoned. By all and by God.
      It’s a lonely place, the place I’m in :)
      This is why I am so grateful when somebody else, with a kind, forgiving soul and a better relationship with God, offers to pray for me.
      I’ll pick up the Bible tonight, look at the chapters you’re mentioning and see if I can find a moment of peace.
      Thank you again :)

  2. Gaby says:

    Hola! Me ha impresionado muchisimo tu historia! Hace mas de tres horas que estoy leyendo lo que escribes en tu blog.Estoy un poco confusa,pero muy impresionada por el gran poder que tienes de luchar con una fastidiosa enfermedad que se llama cancer. Eres una luchadora! Tienes que ser fuerte y seguir luchando y al final venceras! Muchos besos y mucho animo!

    • Cancer By 2 says:

      Hola Gaby :)
      Yo non hablo espanol muy bien, pero puedo entender.
      Muchas gracias por tu visita and por tus palabras :)
      Ahora non me siento muy bien, pero non puedo hacer nada, que luchar e esperar.
      Muchas gracias Gaby, you made my day :)
      Thank you :)

  3. Gaby says:

    Hola de nuevo Andreea! Perdona que no te he contestado antes,pero es que me he dado cuenta que me has contestado un poquito tarde. No me tienes que dar las gracias por la visita en tu blok,las gracias te las tengo que dar yo a ti por la valentia que tienes en contar tu historia.Eres una chica estupenda, has luchado mucho en tu vida pero la ultima lucha la ganaras. Animate y si te apetece hablar conmigo podemos conversar en eskipe o yahoo messenger. Aqui tienes una amiga! Y por cierto! Hablas muy bien el español FELICIDADES! Te mando muchos animos y muchisimos abrazos! BESOSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!

  4. Gaby says:

    Buenas noches Andreea! Espero de todo corazon que estes bien! Rezare por ti! Ser fuerte que bales mucho! Animo! Besossssssssssss!

    • Cancer By 2 says:

      Hola Gaby :)
      es dificil para mi de escribir en el Espanol, pero yo quiero que tu sabes que tus palabras son importantes para mi, and help me feel better :)
      I can’t write in Spanish :) I used to be better, a long time ago :)
      Non me siento muy bien, I’m in pain and I vomit all the time, I have a huge belly and enormous legs, and they hurt me a lot.
      On Jueves – 6 of October, me voy al hospedal.
      Surgery. My second surgery, on a second tumour.
      Por favor piensa a mi :)
      Keep your fingers crossed :)
      If everything goes alright with the surgery, I will be back to talk to you, and tell you all about it, in the next few days.
      If not, well, that’s life, that’s cancer…. A lot of cancer.
      Thank you Gaby, for the kindness in your words, it shines through and it shows that you care.
      It’s much appreciated.
      Thank you :)

  5. Anonymous says:

    Buenas noches Andreea! No hace falta que me escribas en español,escribe en ingles que no pasa nada. Siento muchisimo que lo estes pasando tan mal. Pero los medicos que te dicen? No tomas nada para el dolor?Me gustraia habar contigo mas y que me expiques de que se trata. Yo vivo en España y si te hace falta algo o necesitas algo no dudes en pedirlo. Si hay algo de medicacion que te puede ayudar y no puedes comprarla en Irlanda dimelo. No tengas verguenza! Aqui tienes una amiga y en este mundo estamos para ayudarnos. No se donde te podria dejar mi mail para que lo tengas y que podamos tener conversaciones en privado. O si queres que te llame por telefono y hablar un ratito si lo necesitas dimelo. Yo te llamare.Des del dia que he leydo tu blog no he dejado de pensar en ti.Me gustaria ayudarte pero no se como,no se lo que necesitas! Asi que el jueves tienes que pasar otro mal trago! Lo siento muchisimo! Ya veras como todo saldra bien! Tienes que tener algo de suerte en esta vida. No puede ser todo tan cruel. Yo estoy segura que saldras victoriosa de esta lucha. No dejare de pensar en ti y tal como me pediste cruzare los dedos para que todo salga perfecto. Hay que tener fee! Rezare por ti! Querida amiga te deseo que todo salga bien! No tengas miedo! Te mando mucho animo, fuertes abrazos y muchos besos! Esperare noticias buenas tuyas! BESOSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!

  6. Gaby says:

    Buenes noches Andreea! No he dejado de pensar en ti! He rezado y he encendido velas para que todo salga bien! Estoy segura que lo vas a conseguir porque eres una persona estupenda con una fuerza impresionante. Hay que vencer esta maldita enfermedad! Espero que cuando estes bien tenga noticias tuyas! Te mando mucha fuerza y un abrazo muy fuerte! Espero pronto noticias tuyas! Besossssssssss y ser fuerte!

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