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“Cancer has you backed up against a wall.”

 

This is what my uncle said after I told him about our session this week with my medical oncologist. Couldn’t have said it better. The Cancer is moving faster than I am and every time I think I am in control Cancer overtakes. There is no outrunning it, there is only dance and rhythm with Cancer leading and me following. Are we one and the same? One of the reasons why I refuse to say I am a Cancer patient. I have Cancer I am not Cancer. My greatest fear is losing Waheeda. My name means unique, only and one in Arabic. My greatest fear is transforming from a unique person into a unique type of Cancer. Being outrun and crushed to meaningless.

A few days before this I received a phone call from a government official from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour. As a coach, I had taken part in a government-subsidised career development project. From 2020 to 2021 I rendered personal and career development advice to approx. 87 clients. Intense and meaningful. Free for my clients but paid by the government.

“Good afternoon ma’am you are speaking to… We are conducting random checks of the personal career development advices you did last year.”

Oh ok

“We want to check 9 projects”

How do you propose to do that?

“I will send you an email and request information. We need IDs and the labour market scan you used.”

Are you going to email me the names of 9 people?

“No 9 projects.”

What is a project?

“There can be 5 people in a project.”

What?! Just a quick calculation… 45 people. There and then I realised she wanted me to provide information on 45 coach clients who had recieved career development advice. Perfectly normal and, they had all given me permission to do so, but to someone in my situation, it felt like yet another cruel joke. A lot of work and a lot of movement for someone who feels like the space to move in keeps narrowing. Now I truly feel backed against a wall. I hear myself saying while trying to stifle tears:

That’s a lot of work and bad timing. I am terminally ill. I have Cancer. The diagnosis was made in December 2021. I am in a palliative phase. I really don’t know how to do what you are asking me. I am on sick leave. 

With these words I took the random out of random. I became a person of flesh and blood. I can feel her discomfort without her saying anything. My voice stops and tears flow. There is continuous silence on the other side.

“Oh ma’am I am so sorry! I didn’t know.”

That is understandable but I really can’t deal with this right now.

“I understand, please let me talk to my supervisor and I’ll get back to you.”

Ok.

The only sound my brain can produce the only sound that came out of my mouth. 

She hang up. A few minutes later she called and said her supervisor was going to call me.

That morning, I was my fairly cheerful, practical and down to earth self. Talking with colleagues about how to best continue my storytelling and coach business and online academy without hassle and headache. The only work I have picked up after my operation is the practical side of my new vacation rental business, Steal Away (website and buying). We hope to open on March 1st. My colleagues and friends, most of whom are coaches, have come up with the idea of carrying on my practice even after I pass away. I am amazed and deeply touched.

I walked in the dunes with my husband. Lots of space and an overwheming feeling of hope. As if the open and empty space around me broadened my possibilities. My head was empty and then as if with a click of fate’s fingers this phone call bashes my head against a wall. 

A wall of harsh reality, sadness, frustration, powerlessness . I fall and within minutes, I am fine, transformed into: I am not fine, even though I may look and sound it. Even though I seem strong, tearless and fearless I am far from fine.

Resolution?
Be pliable,
lean against the wall,
rest aginst the wall,
let the wall carry me,
sit against the wall.
Be fine or not fine.

Seventy-three days since being diagnosed with stage 4 (palliative) Uterine Leiomyosarcoma with lung metastases. Since living with Cancer in times of Corona.
Feel free to comment and share.

 

Love and light,

Waheeda
Aiming to move, mobilise and motivate with real impact stories.

 

 

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