I was really scared of today. The reason wasn’t an uncomfortable treatment or stuff like that (although I will get one today). The reason was, that it’s my birthday.
Now you are probably asking yourself: Why would you be scared of your birthday? Well, I’ve been asking that myself the last few weeks. But actually I couldn’t find a logical answer to that in the first way.
The last years I’ve always been looking forward to October 12th. I was happy to share this day with people that I like and celebrate life. I never threw big parties. For my 18th birthday for example I spent the evening at home with a small circle of friends and tons of cake. I can’t even remember about my 19th birthday. Well, for my 20th I threw a big party actually. But all the years after were really chilled. Not many people, delicious food, relaxed evenings. Sometimes I was out of the country. And all my birthdays were perfect the way they were.
But this year it should have been differently. When I got diagnosed with cancet beginning of May, it was a matter of life and death. Since the tumor was so big that the blood in my head got stuck, I was a couple days away from getting a brain stroke. (You can read about it here). Within a minute my whole life changed. Nothing was the same anymore. If I would be able to celebrate my next birthday was written in the stars. I didn’t even know, if I would see the next week.
When I started my therapy, they explained me everything and of course I started to count the days. How long will it take until the therapy is over and I will be healthy? My first result: end of July/ beginning of August. So it was clear: I will throw a big fuck-cancer-party for my birthday. Healthy.
Unfortunately I had to learn that in cancer treatment things barely happen as they are timed. Bad blood results were the reason why some chemo therapies were delayed. Meanwhile it was already beginning of September.
Next thing that would encumber everything was radiation therapy. What doctors did always mention as „closure radiation“ (we thought it would be 2-3 radiation sessions) was actually a 15 course meal. That was definitely not what I expected. Last day of radiation: October 11th.
I’m not really spiritual. I’m not religious and I didn’t grow up with superstition. But since I was a little kid, one number always showed up in my life. 24. I wouldn’t say that it’s my lucky number, but it was just omnipresent. The fact that my whole treatment was supposed to end one day before my 24th birthday was a good sign. With 24 everything should have been over. Cancer should have been gone and a new, healthy part of my life should be waiting for me. Call me crazy, but this thought gave me a lot of strength.
If you did read my last post, you might remember that it was really complicated to get accepted as a patient in Heidelberg. And of course something had to go wrong. Somebody interchanged an important CD, which was the reason that I my treatment was postponed. New last day of the treatment: October 16th. I really had to fight with accepting this fact.
Of course, it’s just a few days. But my new beginning, my clean cut, my healthy start into the 24 was gone. My birthday, a day like all the others. Hospital visits and zero normality. Or in fact a (now) normality that I don’t want for anybody out there. And on top of that I’m only allowed to go home on the 13th. Means: I can’t even spend my birthday with my whole family and friends. I’m in Heidelberg with my mum (who is of course an amazing company) and will even get a radiation session at the Uniklinikum. That’s the biggest difference to my intended fuck-cancer-party and during the last days I couldn’t really get over it.
But then (with the help of a book that I’m reading at the moment), I was reminded on something.
On May 3rd I didn’t even know if I would survive the next week. Now it’s October 12th and I’m still here. I’ve been working the whole year. Took pictures at almost 20 weddings this summer, taught most of my dance classes, still did shootings for projects, had my first ever intern. And all of that in spite of the chemo treatment, the side effects and the ongoing disease. I didn’t pause my life for cancer. The world continued turning and I woke up every morning and bitchslapped this fucking cancer. Day by day.
Now I’m 24. But my last birthday isn’t a year ago. My last birthday was on May 3rd. Since that day everything did change. I’ve changed. I grew a lot this year. More than I could have imagined. I’m more disciplined. Braver. I’m trying new things. I’m not looking for excuses anymore. I trust myself. I enjoy silence. I know what’s good for me and what isn’t. I’m living more. But I’m also expecting more from life. I’m not settling for mediocrity anymore. I try to only see the positive things. I’m thankful. But most important: I know how to appreciate life, cause I don’t take it for granted anymore.
Today I’m especially thankful for the number 24.
Although my treatment and my journey with cancer are not over yet, I know that the next year of my life will be one of the best. Maybe even the best I’ve ever had. With all the things I’ve lesrned on this journey so fat, I will continue to grow everyday. I will wake up thankful every morning and enjoy every day like it’s my last one. Today I’m not scared anymore. I’m looking forward to the next year and I’m excited to see what life will provide for me. It can only get better.
Not the lucky ones are greatful. There are those who are greatful, who are happy.
– Francis Bacon
Peace & #fuckcancer,