Today I’m not gonna tell you just a story.
Today I’m gonna tell you a part of my own story and I have to admit, it wasn’t easy to write it down. In fact, it was the hardest part I’ve ever written so far.
It feels like I’ve been writing this blog entry for ages and yet it’s only since the middle of March; when my favorite muse had struck once again. This time in form of the request to his followers, they should twitter him details of their craziest dreams and he would put them on his blog for #DREAMSCAPE.
Hardly had I read his tweet, I got an unexpected flashback of my craziest dream, from a time I wasn’t eager to remember at all and I suddenly realized, I had no other option but to face some painful and life-changing memories again, in order to be able to put an end to the worst time I’ve ever had.
During the past months until now I wrote, re-wrote my words countless times, constantly debating with myself, whether or not I should put them on my blog. As you can see, I’ve finally decided to do it. I made this decision in the hope my example might be helpful for other people, who may have to face similar situations in their lives.
Here’s my story, or at least one part of it…
Out of the blue I was confronted with the diagnosis leukemia on June 28, 2001. I remember so well that I was in denial about the fact that this could be the end of my life, when the doctor told me and my husband the bad news. Because I couldn’t see myself dying that young in my imagination since I still had this picture in my mind.
This picture, in which I, as a very old lady, sat in an armchair surrounded by a lot of children; telling stories to them. You have to know that I have this picture in my mind since I was a teenager and it’s still there.
On this Friday in June 2001 I had no doubt that I would survive, because I wanted to live so badly since there was still so much I wanted to experience and to explore. In my mind it was no option to die and my will to live was always extremely strong.
My doctor in charge hospitalized me immediately and the very next day the chemotherapy begun. In hospital I was told that I was lucky enough I had fallen ill with this particular form of leukemia since it was good curable. I felt so grateful to hear at least some good news after the first shock.
It would be a lie to say the therapy hadn’t been hard, because it was hard. Besides I had not only to be strong for myself, I had also to calm down my husband, who was in sheer panic that I could die and leave him alone and my mother, who feared to loose her beloved daughter. Luckily I’m the third generation of very strong woman in our family and I managed it somehow.
From a book I learned to successfully use neurolinguistic programming (NLP) to better my blood levels after each chemotherapy and everything seemed to go well so far. Until one afternoon in October when I suddenly collapsed out of nowhere. From this moment on my life turned upside down.
In order to survive, I was treated by the doctors in an artificial coma, or as I use to say, in this no-man’s-land between life and death. It is strange, because I still remember certain scenes from being in coma. Like this amazing almost Michelangelo-like angel and demons ceiling fresco with water in front of it. Painted in such powerful colors I’d never seen before.
Or this glaring red double decker in front of this huge billboard full of art-works. Or the Jesus-like person who sat by my bed and told me not to worry for my time has not come yet. Later I was told that there had been a couple of moments when I almost died because my body suddenly had refused to breathe. And on the funny side I couldn’t listen to Phil Collins and some other artists for quite some time after the coma and as it turned out, my husband had played them all over again. So be nice to coma patients and don’t torture them too much with their favorite music, they can hear you.
On the not so funny side I became also ill with critical illness neuropathy, due to some serious and life-threatening complications and a sepsis. But there was more to come after my awakening, when it turned out I had two cervical disk herniations as well and that I was helpless like a newborn child who depends on the help of others.
In a very hard, long and painful process in two rehabilitation clinics I had to learn everything anew. I learned to talk again, to walk, to eat, to write and everything else that once used to be normal for me. Fortunately my brain wasn’t affected at all, but unfortunately my motor function was; due to the critical illness neuropathy so I still depended on help from others for some things.
To make a long story short, during the time of my illness I also became deeply depressed for a while because I was totally terrified at the thought of what my future might be when the damage wouldn’t go away. But even in the darkest times I never refused to give up my hope and my faith that I would manage to become healthy again, no matter what some stupid and callous doctors told me.
Under those circumstances the chemotherapy could not be continued, so I ended up with a leukemia recrudescence one year later. But lucky me, ‘cos in this one year British physicians had found out that arsenic was ‘the’ cure for my form of leukemia.
That was the moment when I finally realized why I had always had a soft spot for the Brits.
But the best thing was that I hadn’t to be hospitalized again and I got an outpatient treatment instead. And what should I say? The miracle happened and I got completely cured, up to date.
Everything could have been fine, if it wasn’t for this leftover called critical illness neuropathy from my time in hospital during the coma. This little leftover which cost me my job and in the end even my marriage and one of my closest and what I had considered one of my best female friends.
Simply because my former husband as well, as my bff couldn’t no longer deal with what had happened to me after five years of hard work and with the result of a constant progress against all odds and against all prognoses from the doctors. So I learned the hard way that my world was suddenly too small for my bbf (as she had kindly told me) and that the vow ‘in good times as in bad’ means nothing at all when the bad times prolong. And that you’ll be no longer loved when your body doesn’t work as he should.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t have a grudge against them. Not any more.
Of course there had been a time when I almost hated them, but thanks to the Dalai Lama I understood just in time that hate would only poison my soul and that forgiveness is much healthier for me. It’s just sad that I have lost in some way the sense of basic trust towards other people and that I still have difficulties when someone comes emotionally too close to me, thanks to this unexpected experience.
It might sound strange, but on the other hand I am truly grateful for everything that had happened to me in the past, because looking back now, I think this turning point in my life was the best thing that could have happened to me.
So far I had the best time of my life since my divorce. Because God, destiny, or whatever higher power has chosen someone very special to push me gently in a certain direction and who taught me to continue to push back my own boundaries, so I could finally live my dream and become who I’m supposed to be.
Sure as an early-retired woman I don’t have the income I used to have while I worked, but material things have never been important to me anyway. Besides I was lucky enough to get a modest company pension also, since I had worked over ten years for my former employer.
Of course it was nice to earn enough money so we could afford to go on vacation three times a year. But the emptiness in my soul I felt back then, I do not feel anymore. Today I feel free. I can do whatever I want. I have the greatest luxury of all, namely the time and freedom to live my dream. I have a roof over my head, enough to eat. I don’t need to hunger and the most important of all – I’m healthy and still alive and kickin’.
What more could I want? I’m fine. Truth to be told, I’m happier then ever before nowadays, because I live a full life, even if my body still feels like with a whole-body local anaesthesia from the dentist. One of my physical therapists is sure that this is only a mentally block since I got normal feelings in my right arm after she had tried some point from a foot reflexology. She told me to be patient since to her opinion it’s just a matter of time.
So I’ll be patient and keep trying. I mean, when I see how far I’ve already come although several doctors had told me I had to live with my condition after the coma. Where there’s a will there’s a way, right? Or as I use to say: there is no this doesn’t work; there is only it’s hard to make it happen.
Besides I’m blessed with the gift of storytelling and to give people a good time with my work, so they can forget about their own sometimes hard lives. Their joy and gratitude is worth much more than any payment.
And who knows what the future might bring?
Maybe I’ll write a bestseller one day…
At least that is the plan. 🙂
Finally, I want to give you something along the way, my dearest readers.
Please don’t stop believing in yourself, your inner strength, your skills and your dreams. Never, ever!
Don’t forget that even miracles are possible.
I know, because I have seen it more than once and I’m the living proof.
Anything is possible!
You only need to want this seriously.
You are stronger than you think!
© The Storyteller’s Garden
₪ ø ιιι •o.
Music: Feel – Robbie Williams