My mother gave me a copy of an article from the Dutch Newspaper NRC about a woman who had breast cancer. She is a filmmaker, Meral Uslu, and she documented her year of therapy in her own movie, which was presented at the IDFA ( International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam ) last Month. I can’t wait to see it, because in the interview I liked her optimism and humor just the way I’ve gone through this year myself. She writes that she’s done all chemos on her own. Just like me. I recognise everything she writes. Why taking a friend to something you have to go through yourself!?
Dr. Rezai, the famous Doctor ‚Breast‘, who treated me, and who is running the European Breast Centre Düsseldorf, just on my doorstep, says that he sees a pattern in the ‚type‘ of women who come to him with breast cancer. according to him these women are mostly :“ strong selfmade women“. thats interesting, because it would confirm the idea that cancer starts inside your system and not necessarily because of outside influences.
I have started psychotherapy in September to help me deal with things in my mind. After the first 4 sessions, my therapist, who is great by the way, told me: ‚ I don’t know how to help you?!, you are so strong, what you have gone through in the last years and what you made of it is amazing! you are an example for others, how could I help you, or what can I do for you?….My answer was:“ exactly that, please gide me in the process of learning not to be perfect all the time. to give in, to give up, to be weak sometimes and to learn to stop myself. to feel when things are too much, enough and finally to learn to cry.“
So we decided I see her twice a Month, just to discuss that. What have I done for myself, what about my feelings and what do I need. Its hilarious, because until now I still don’t know how to do it. And because my therapist is a great woman, we laugh a lot. She told me to write down all the things I managed this year, because my problem is that I am rather impatient that I think I have to be able to climb mountaints by now, and although the last chemo was only on the 19th of August, and after that, one of the most heavy operations possible, as I believe its all done and over, so by now I expect be to be back to ’normal‘. She told me;“ Renate, normally people who are dealing with cancer and are working independently are going bankrupt in a year like this… you managed to wrap everything up and at the same time start a whole new carreer!!!“ She says, write it down, please, look at it on a written piece of paper and read it backwards…
so here we go…
I had 4 operations, 16 chemo’s, uncountable doctors visits showing my breasts, about 30 blood tests, hair loss, exhaustion, total energy loss, no taste and a bad skin.
I had plenty of MRT’s, CT’s and Mamographics. I had writing on my breast with Edding, chips inside and metal pins shot into it.
I had doctors talking about me without understanding a word. I have lymph drainage and physiotherapy… yes physio…so you think so what? well… after a breast operation like i had, there is no such thing as ‚the physio….’….welcome to hell.
and nex to all of that:
I closed Suburbia store, wrapped it up, ended all well, financially, commercially and personally.
I kept working. As an agent and travelled with 13 bags of heavy collection from Hamburg to Munich to Berlin by car, on my own…. driving, dragging, building, selling….
I closed doors workwise, and at this moment I am opening new doors for my future and have not been so successful before, as I am now. I dare say…
I have taken care of my kids. They have suffered, but if I look a them I am so proud of them. How they enjoy life, how they live. I have walked the dog, every day, although sometimes i couldnt after a chemo, i did it. I have done the household, the shopping, and even organised little holidaytrips for the kids, inbetween chemos… for them, just so everything felt as normal as possible.
there’s just one thing that suffered… and thats my car… I have been driving.. with chemos, like a zombie. its a miracle it and also I survived… my car shows it. there are marks and scratches everywhere. in a way i don’t want it to be fixed. its a memory of me. of what I am, what I have gone through and about what I have to learn from and about myself. x