Twenty years ago, not only Princess Diana and Mother Teresa died. A few days before, my childhood friend Nathalie had been killed in a car accident. I remember watching endless reports about Diana and Dodi’s fatal crash thinking about Nathalie. She was the first to go…the first one of my generation.
Today, on my 43rd birthday, I would like to tell you about two amazing experiences I had when I recently traveled through India. Both of them were extremely physical. One of them made me aware of cultural differences in our attitude towards death. The other one gave me insights about the poorest of the poor – and how the other half dies.
No matter if you have a partner or you don’t, if you have children or you don’t, if you are surrounded by many friends or just a few – the battle against chronic disease and terminal illness will have to be fought alone mostly. Like Sisyphus, you are rolling your burden up the hill, but have to watch it going down again. And just like Sisyphus, you can find happiness…
Human beings have been given a free will. Once you are diagnosed with cancer, your ability to choose remains – however, your options in life are significantly reduced. Amongst many others, two major aspects will be concerned: your relationship and your job. Is it necessary to settle in an unhappy marriage and safer to compromise? Should cancer warriors stay or go?
Hot blooded, coldblooded, blue blooded, full blooded, bloodless, … it all seems to be in our blood. Our blood is the source of a human being’s vitality and identity. We have music in our blood, the characteristics of our ancestors, some of us seem to have evil in their blood. I have leukemia in my blood.
If you suffer from a chronic illness or even an incurable disease as I do, one of your worst nightmares has probably become true. It will not only bring suffering and pain, but also death anxiety. Some fears are healthy, others unhealthy. They might concern the evitable or the inevitable. I would like to take a closer look at our fears.
I was truly exotic, statistically far too young to have CLL, pregnant and a patient with an interesting combination of genetically mutated lymphoid cells. The obstetrician seemed to refer to the hematologists and vice versa continuously for future decisions and prognosis. I was getting tired of all their referring.