I know, I’m kind of late with this blog post, but the last few weeks have been the most stressful time of my life. Inbetween all this emotional stress, my job, doctor appointments and preperations, there was absolutely no time to write. And it was also nice, to not think about all of this for a second.
But since so many of you are asking and I’m tired of giving short answers, here comes my little life update. Chemo is over. I got my last chemo treatment on August 9th. After that, I got antibodies twice. Since then I’m waiting. And you have absolutely no idea, what this is doing to me. Why I’m waiting? On what? It’s complicated.
My tumor is still the same size as my heart. But most of it is not active anymore. Usually they start the radiation therapy a couple weeks after the chemo is over. A normal radiation is done with super strong x-rays. They should destroy the genetic material of the cancer cells so much, that there is no chance for recovery for them. But during the treatment, the x-rays will also destroy a lot of healthy body parts. In my case, the heart, the lungs, the esophagus and the mammary glands (and breast in general), are right in the radiation zone. The more healthy parts are in this radiation zone, the higher is the chance of getting another tumor there in a few years. To minimize my risk of coming down with breast or lung cancer or heart Problems, my doctor recommenden me to do the radiation at the teaching hospital in Heidelberg. They are offering a better therapy, in cases like mine.
In Heidelberg, they are not using x-rays, but protons. I’m definitely not a physics genius, but what I did understand is, that the protons are way more precise. Only 1mm of healthy material around the tumor will be rayed. Mostly kids and teenagers are getting this kind of treatment, cause their expectation of life is longer. And of course you don’t want to trigger a second cancer diagnose. There are only a few places in the world which are offering this way of radiation. Which is pretty obvious if you realize that the machine did cost 120 Million Euros, needs as much power as a small city (protons are accelerated up to 75% of speed of light) and its own building.
Only 700 People are getting this treatment in Heidelberg every year. You can probably imagine, that there are many more who are applying for it, but are rejected. By the way, you don’t feel anything of the radiation. Depending on which Body parts are rayed, there are some possible side effects. In my case only some tiredness and a little „sunburn“.
The normal radiation in Krefeld should have started beginning of September already. But my doctor wanted to send me to Heidelberg. Unfortunately I had to wait almost two weeks, to get their invitation. Last week I had my appointment there, to talk about everything and radiation (15 treatments in total) should have started on September 25th. Way later then usually. But my doctors were sure, that it would be better for me in Heidelberg. Even though there is this risk of my extreme fast growing tumor to gain size again until we start the radiation.
But of course, something had to go wrong. I drove all they way to Heidelberg, but the informations I had to hand over to the doctors where wrong. Somebody actually gave me the documents of another patient. (I’m still super mad about it.) And since now they had to send the right documents by postal service, my therapy got postponed even more. The day the will finally start, will be more than one month later than standard.
Okay, real talk. I’ve always told you about the positive sides. Which is good like that. But I also want to tell you, that there are negative days. I’m being honest with you: 90% of the time I’m thinking really positive. The little impact I still have on my life, is my mood. And if my mood is also helping me to stay fit or even advances the whole healing process, even better. According to the principle: If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But sometimes this drink is really sour.
The constant fear of dying, is the craziest stress I’ve ever had. All the waiting until the treatment continues, the medicine which makes you super weak and tired, the limitations in your everyday life, the never ending hospital visits, blood draws, pain Killers, CTs, MRTs, … And then still having a normal life. Work, dance school, friends and family. Even the thoughts about an „healthy“ future are driving you crazy. Will the tumor come back? Will it go back at all? Will there be any long-term side effects? All this overthinking, no sleep. And you are not even looking normal anymore. Soon there will be no more strength.
I’m trying to distract myself, but my subconscious mind is doing what it wants. Usually I’m not the type of person that is psychologically unstable. But the fact, that my cancer is left being untreated since several weeks is terrifying. I’m subliminally nervous all the time. And the fact that I can’t do anything about it myself, besides staying positive somehow. Even in moments when I’m not thinking about it, my throat suddenly tightens and my heart beating like crazy. Almost, as if my body is defending itself. I never had feelings like this, but extreme situations are causing extreme reactions. I can’t concentrate, without taking tranquilizers. And I’ve never needed stuff like that before in my life.
I had to learn, that there is no sense in staying postive all the time. The constant running away, hiding from the truth, avoiding thinking and distracting is only causing more pressure. And one day it will all collapse. A friend of mine told me something really important a while ago. Something that I had forgotten during the past months:
If you want to be strong, you have to be weak too.
It reminds me on the saying: Where there is light, there must be shadow. Good times will always meet bad times. How to handle this should be up to oneself. But it’s a fact, that it’s not good to ignore the negative feelings. Sometimes you gotta find a way of releasing the pressure. Even, if this means to have a „weak“ moment and just cry like a little baby.
Right now I’m just looking forward to next friday. As soon as I realize that the treatment is continuing, I will feel much better. I’m incredibly happy, that I got accepted for the radiation in Heidelberg. The department of radiation and the chief doctor are some of the best in Europe. It’s a privilege to get the therapy over there. An unexpected blessing in disguise. Even though I will only be home on sundays for three weeks in a row, I can’t wait.
I’m still ready to kick cancers ass. No matter what.
Peace and #fuckcancer,