Previous times I have said that cancer is a journey. I am more and more convinced about this. It is a physical journey that takes you to the limits of your body, but it is also a spiritual journey. Maybe I haven’t talked much about the spiritual part yet. I am in the middle of the journey and it is still difficult for me to draw conclusions.
What I can tell you is that this journey, if you ever go on it – which I hope you don’t – will take you to places you never planned to visit. It will take you to the past to look for answers, it will take you to the future looking for illusion and, at the end, little by little, it will bring you to the present, with the certainty that there is no other way to live this than in the here and now.
I have also said previous times that cancer is like a war and in many ways it is. It comes one day, unexpectedly. There is no way to isolate yourself from it, it is everywhere and threatens the fundamental thing you have: life. Then you realize that what was important is no longer so important and you take what is essential, because you can’t take the rest with you. You only have your body, your will and the hope that God or what you believe in will give you strength and will protect you. So many things that took you a long time to build and that you understood to be a part of you – such as your profession, your reputation, the material things you have been so proud of – are redefined within your levels of importance.
Cancer makes you a refugee, forces you to embark on a journey you never wanted to take.
I, who has always been this work professional, passionate about the world of marketing and business. Who am I going to be when I can’t work? How do I now fill the hours in the day that I can’t seem to fill when my body and mind can’t keep up with what I used to do? what do I like to do when I’m not working?
This journey-war shows a naked self, which has to be rediscovered. As ridiculous as it may seem, for me it has been a journey to places I have never visited and in which I had no interest. I have had to visit those places to answer basic questions as how do I feel, am I happy, am I doing the right thing with my life?
It sounds hard, it sounds intense and it is, for better and for worse. Because you also discover that you don’t make this journey alone, you make it with the people who love you, who are also like you, without weapons and without bulletproof vests, but unconditionally. And with an element of surprise, you realize that some people from whom perhaps you had distanced yourself a little, out of the blue put on their coats and come on your journey with you. They are there, along the route, giving you air, asking you if they can do something for you, anything at all. And then, people that were far away are not so far away anymore.
This cancer journey is also a marathon, and on the side of the road, while you leave your blood, sweat and tears, these people are shouting your name and sending you encouragement and strength. A call from time to time to know how you are doing, a WhatsApp or a card. You are not alone. This journey brings us closer.
At this point in my journey, I begin to notice that there are other people marching long days on the same path. Each one with their particularities, with their diagnoses, with their side effects. With their families, miseries and joys. And we pass each other in the hallway waiting for the oncologist or the pharmacist, or we sit next to each other for a few hours while the treatment is being administered. We don’t always talk, but when we do, we realize that we are not alone. There are many of us, much to our regret. Others have already walked this road and it is possible, others are a little ahead and give you encouragement, sometimes without a word, just with an honest smile: we are still alive, we are still fighting the battle.