One hundred and eighty-eight days since I was diagnosed with metastatic (already spread to lungs) uterine Leiomyosarcoma. Palliative.
One hundred and eighty-seven days since I:
> stopped my coach and storytelling practice to pursue a new purpose and find renewed ikigai – a new reason to get out of bed in the morning. And, find my own kind of spirituality.
> started on my sugar-free, red meat-free, low-carb eating habits. No fleeting diet but rather a new and natural way of eating. My brother asked me two days ago if I was still on my diet or had stopped. I realised that in normal everyday life it is hard to relate to what I am doing to improve my chances of living with cancer. It is not just a diet decision, it is about life and death choices.
> started writing and documenting this journey of mine while seeking to find meaning in doing so. In the past 6 months this has become my path and I have been able to support and help women with the same disease thanks to my website www.waheeda.nl. This was my goal.
> started out on my complementary path with vitamins and minerals infusions, genome testing, natural supplements and mushrooms.
One hundred and fifty-three days since I had a full hysterectomy.
Since I lost the uterus which not only gave me my magnificent and loving son but I believe, also stored generational pain and trauma. I believe that losing my uterus and my ovaries symbolised getting rid of all the shit that hold us women down. Let me keep it close to home, freeing myself from my own mindfuck. All the shame, insecurities and the “what will others think” chains we use to tie ourselves up. It is maybe a harsh thing to say but this is my analysis of my loss.
One hundred and five days since I had my first chemotherapy with the “red devil”, doxorobucin. A whole other ball game. Making that difficult choice to have your body bombed every three weeks, within a period of four months, with medicine that is so toxic that:
you cannot share a toilet with your husband and son for a week,
are not allowed to visit pregnant women or babies,
have to avoid crowds because your immune system has shut down,
continue to wear mouth masks while others don’t,
you have trouble sleeping,
concentrating, writing, finding ordinary everyday words,
see your nails, tongue, back turn blue,
lose your hair, eyebrows and eyelashes,
lose your appetite but eat anyway,
get mouth sores and run fevers,
feel month after month the energy leave your body,
feel increased nausea due to smells, sounds and stress.
Tomorrow is my last and sixth round of chemo and I guess I am writing this to purge my system. Because tomorrow I enter a new phase. That of “let’s wait and see”. On July 5th we’ll have the scan that’ll disclose if the chemo has done what it is supposed to do. If all the discomfort has been worth it. For the first time I will have a few months of nothing regarding my conventional path. Unless the scan is bad news. Then…? Even though I have a thick genome report waiting with more options I still have no answer to that. Nothing is predictable. Let’s wait and see.
What I do know is that the past 6 months have taught me to:
> be more and more me,
> shake off all shame in my walk and talk,
> time and time again refocus on that what is truly important, my loved ones and that what makes me honest to goodness happy,
> acknowledge that my writing is helping others to fight their own battles. Whether with themselves or their ailments,
> be and stay in tuned with my body and be loyal to what I feel,
> appreciate the incredibly, beautiful and loving women around me, my sister, my sisters-in-law, my aunt, my mother, my amazing girlfriends, acquaintances who all empower me with their presence or abscence, … forever letting me be and holding space,
> be grateful for my strong, loving and ever present husband who has been my rock, my driver, my sounding board and unconditional partner in crime during this whole ordeal. Not once complaining,
> be amazed by my son who massages my feet like no one else can, helps me with cooking and in any other way possible while living his life and doing an amazing job as a Math student and at his parttime job,
> appreciate my brothers and brother-in-law who stepped out of their comfort zones to help me and be there for me,
> be grateful for all the health professionals who are doing their best to make life easier for me,
> accept that I exist in an in-between reality, that everyone is moving onwards and I am in the now,
> surrender to the unknown and to accept that this is where I am and even though I am ill, I am still worthy.
Tomorrow is the first of the rest of my life living and loving in times of cancer while in my in-between reality.