I was never 1. A Patient, 2. Patient. Yet, I’ve never understood the concept of never saying never so strongly, because I’ve never thought cancer would happen to me.
But well, it did. And with the diagnosis, in a blink:
The plans that were not much long term but anxiously waited. The to do list and the mail inbox pending, meetings and calls scheduled — all the work I used to live by. It’s gone.
The routine of walking out of your house to the outside world. See the rush on people’s faces, the traffic and the noise, get annoyed and sweaty by the heat. Choosing from 10 different restaurants what kind of food to order. Also gone.
And I shouldn’t even start speaking about the privileges of walking by yourself, washing your own hair with that shampoo you really like the smell of. Gone, gone, gone.
Nothing is really permanent, is it?
And here’s the thing: it is happening right now, with me, at the age of 22. I just got diagnosed with leukemia. How does that sound?
Most people would say it sounds brutal, “not fair” and “not right”. That’s what the minds of a generation that believes life will go on forever for ourselves and people of our age does. We are healthy. We are everlasting.
We are not patients.
The trick though, is that it is completely fine to think like that. What messes things a little up — and I’m gonna challenge Simon Sinek here — is to ask for the “why”.
It’s not the right question to start with, not in this case. For sure there is a greater reason for it that I’ll come to know one day in my life, or in the next one.
But losing myself in the loophole of trying to understand the reason of it, means judging myself, my actions, my choices (for the good or for the bad). It means making assumptions that right now are worthless.
Being a patient requires patience.
I’m not sure if I got the time to digest this. But there are two things in my mind that are giving me the most strength so far — along with the infinite love from so many people fighting this war with me.
- I’m not unhappy. I’m not even less happy. If one thing, cancer so far gave me clarity about the essence of my happiness. I am happy not because of things, rather inspite of things. Which one are you?
- I understood that I operate from a place of willpower rather than a place of fear. Today my biggest fear is not death, but my biggest will is life. And that makes me feel so damn strong. Which place do you operate from?
Chemotherapy is starting tomorrow. I’m excited to get cured, aware that it’ll be the hardest challenge of my life, and grateful the process is already bringing me learnings.