Some chronic diseases can be seen, others cannot. Mine have been invisible so far, but are starting to become more and more visible. I am conscious that this ongoing process requires adaptation from my part, therefore I am preparing for dealing with it in the future.
Last week, my family and I walked the “Camino de Santiago” together, the way of Saint James in Northern Spain. As three of our children accompanied my husband and me, we became quite an attraction for other pilgrims and the people in the villages along the way. Eventually, we caught the attention of a film team working on a documentary about the “Camino”. They asked whether they could interview us and we agreed. Here’s what happened:
When I was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, I had already had a number of chronic diseases for ages. However, none of them had ever become part of me, of my personality and my self-image. I had asthma, but I was not “an asthmatic”. With my new diagnosis everything changed. Leukemia meant cancer meant death, I thought. You don’t just have cancer – in the eyes of others as well as your own eyes you somehow seem to become the personification of cancer.