And I obviously liked it so much that during those 7 years, I had two cancers, the last one with metastases.
Actually I did not like having cancer but I can’t help it. I have to make fun of it because otherwise I would go bonkers.
I remember my favorite joke... lame joke, I know.
In France, people are crazy about their horoscope, maybe not as much as our Chinese friends though... So every time I would be asked what sign (of the zodiac) I was born under, I’d answer: ‘Well, I’m Cancer with Cancer ascendant.’
‘You can’t. It’s impossible.’
‘Oh yes? Let’s then say that I am Cancer with cancer.’
Now I hate myself for joking this way. My poor excuse: I do not believe in signs of the zodiac. And at the time, it was obvious something was wrong with me. Like wearing a (non Islamic) head scarf when it’s really, really hot outside. Or not looking good after all!
People, open your eyes! And don’t ask stupid questions.
Now that the nightmare is getting more and more distant (44 months since last chemo, in April), I go through less check-ups... One every three months.
I try not to skip them. Sometimes I do. Oops!
I will not forget the last one, this one. The March 2011 one . Blood test as usual. MRI and CT scans. The whole work. Very important and scary.
Because yes, I still get scared.
I spent the previous week making my family and my friends very miserable.
‘What if? What if?’
Well, I was feeling pretty miserable too... (and very selfish and very stupid... because I needed to hear those words: ‘Everything will be fine.’ I needed to hear them again and again even though I did not believe them anyway.)
During the week of the check-up, it did not get any better.
I got so scared that even when my favorite radiologist who is so good and talented and so straightforward, looked at me with a big grin on his face and told me that everything was ok, I did not believe him.
I told everybody everything was fine but I did not believe it.
I went home and read every one of the reports. I always found one word or two that could actually mean something was wrong, really wrong. This was the way my distorted mind kept working night and day and day and night.
On Monday, Popeye and I, we went together to my appointment with my oncologist.
We were in this big waiting room along with another woman. Obviously in chemo (wig and harassed look).
I wanted so much to talk to her except that this new waiting room makes it hard to bond with people.
She was called into the doctor’s office. By then I was a total wreck and I had the hardest time understanding why.
I had been told that my MRI and scans were good. My blood test was excellent. Why was I feeling so stressed?
The woman came out, looking very tired and depressed. The oncologist was very nice to her, which is always a sure sign that something is really wrong. I’ve lived through this, remember.
Then he turned to us, a huge grin on his face: ‘Well, there you are! Come in, come in, both of you.’
A big hug and then I felt like crying. Stupid me. Why had I been so stupid? Why had I spoiled my loved ones’ life?
This man is very bright and intuitive. One look at me and he said: ‘Oh no. You did it again. You are a fine photographer. Keep to photography. We are doctors. Trust us and let us decide whether or not you are fine.’
Then he laughed and said that I’ve always been as stubborn as a mule which is also probably the reason why I’m still alive, after all!
He ended up scheduling the next check-up in September. Quite a big change. Six months from now. Amazing.
Cancer is already going away from my mind and will stay away for many months now.
I only loose my head at check-up time...
And you know what? If the oncologist had told me that cancer was really back, I would have looked at him: ‘Back to fighting again. When do we start?’
This is really crazy, I know but I can’t help it!
I’m not flawless after all.
*Good Luck, and Good Night*