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The circus

Or what happened 365 days ago

Running on chemo...

Today, one of my favorite people wrote the following message on Facebook:

‘We have so much to say about our lives.
We have so much more influence on who we are, how we feel and what we reach than we think.
We are so much more powerful than we’d expect.

And at the same time.
Everything could be completely different, suddenly.
And just in those hard times you know what really matters to you.
And, in the midst of all chaos, it’s turns quiet in your head and clear in your heart.’

Lately I have been wondering what to think of life. I think I find it weird, in all its beauty. A year ago it was mostly ‘Jay!’ and ‘Awesome!’ and ‘Anything is possible!’. And now I still see life as a miracle, something so precious – but yet so fragile. The invulnerable feeling has left the building, after a year of ‘going strong’ and staying alive (I wasn’t going to die, definitely not, but the chemo-months felt more like staying alive than actually living life, looking back at it).

Sometimes I squeeze myself, thinking: ‘Whut? What happened?’ ‘Oh, yeah, there was this cancer thing.’ And I need to calm down when I feel a little sick or weird. I say out loud, to myself, that I am healthy and quite fit and that all those silly ailments are the results of a) 6 chemo treatments, b) hormone treatment (for the next 5 years, not incredibly bad but not that fun either), c) 21 radiations and d) my mind that sometimes can’t keep up with all of this.

It’s been a year since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember so well how I dressed up my kids for the carnival at school, how I braided and colored their hair in orange and silver. I drove one vampire to school and one Pippi (and kept the little clown at home). Afterwards, I went to the hospital for an ultrasound on which, obviously, nothing would be found. But after that the circus was ON.
And just now that I am ready to look back and leave things behind me, someone close to me got severely ill. Ultrasounds, blood tests, MRI’s: the whole circus is starting over, but at someone else’s body. And it’s not clear it will end as well as my story so far.

Things I don’t know:

  • Will I be healthy?
  • Will my loved one be cured?
  • Am I a good enough mom for my kids?
  • How do I stay focussed at work?
  • Can I, will I, run up and down mountains in a couple of months?

    Linda wrote: ‘We have so much to say about our lives.
    We have so much more influence on who we are, how we feel and what we reach than we think.
    We are so much more powerful than we’d expect.’

    So what I do know is:

  • I do anything to stay healthy, easily (I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, my only addictions are chocolate and lip balm, that would be alright I suppose?)
  • I call and text my sick loved one to let him know he’s not alone in this.
  • I realize my children are incredible human beings, with all their characteristics they are mostly great and NOW is the time I can be there for them, even when it’s sometimes inconsistent or very tired, even in a messy house and crappy cooked meals. Those moments at dinner are GOLD.
  • That mountain: I recently ran 25 K through the Belgian hills and it went fine. I’ll hold on to that.
  • That work: the one thing goes so much better than the other, which makes me think I should be doing more of the other than of the one.

    I have something to say about this and it feels good.

‘And at the same time.
Everything could be completely different, suddenly.
And just in those hard times you know what really matters to you.
And, in the midst of all chaos, it’s turns quiet in your head and clear in your heart.’

And I am SO aware of the above nowadays. However it’s stormy more often than it’s quiet in my mind (I am the stormy kinda person, yes), I feel what these words mean to me. That life, in all its beauty and glitter, not gives a fuck about my plans and dreams. Sometimes it’s overwhelming and I can’t seem to choose the most simple things. But I know that I, when I have been running out in the sunny cold, see chrystal clear where and who I want to go and I reach out for it, even if -or because- it’s not the most obvious way.

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