Tag Archives: cancer

Diabetes

Blood glucose meter
Our blood glucose meter – photo by tamellu 2015

It was World Diabetes Day yesterday, the day of awareness that high blood sugar is absolutely not something we should neglect or take lightly. I’m living in Serbia, a country of somewhat more that 7 million people where 710,000 souls are diagnosed with diabetes, with estimated additional 245,000 others who have diabetes but don’t know it and don’t treat it. Those figures are indeed horrifying, and if we as humanity continue with current nutritional habits future surely won’t look optimistic.

Diabetes is a silent illness and can go for a long time undetected. At the time of diagnose if the patient didn’t check his or her blood work in years, high blood sugar had already made some damage in the patient’s body and shortened the expected length of life. People run away from this diagnose because we all very much fear illnesses that are still considered incurable, but in case of diabetes there is no need for that. There surely isn’t some medication that can fix things and allow you to go on eating whatever you want without a worry in the world, it’s a chronic lifelong illness, but there are treatments that can allow you to live a normal and happy life for many years. My dad was a diabetic for 22 years and as a medical doctor he strictly obeyed the nutritional plan he had to stick to. He couldn’t eat cakes or sweetened things, but he had a perfectly normal life, and what’s much more important his diabetes didn’t progress to provoke some of serious complications such as diabetic polineuropathy, gangrene, loss of eyesight, stroke… to name just a few. Yes, he eventually died of cancer and today we can only debate on the link between the diabetes and his pancreatic cancer, but he died at the age of 78. He was my dad and even he died at 98 it would be painful and I would ask myself if he could go on for maybe a little while longer, but I must admit that he still managed to live a reasonably long life without any serious problem up until virtually one month before he passed away. In the whole 2014 up until the end of July the only symptoms that could indicate cancer were certain weight loss and some changes in bowel habits which were attributed to his new combination of medication for diabetes. At the beginning of August the first dramatic symptom was a rapid, violent onset of blood sugar spinning totally out of control even though he still took his therapy and ate as usual. I was later told that we would never be able to tell if the diabetes had caused cancer or it had been the other way round, the only definite certainty was that it took too long for doctors to establish the type and dosage of insulin shots to stabilize him enough so that he could at least try any true oncology treatment. All in all, dad had 22 wonderful years in spite of diabetes and as he followed all the advice and rules of his treatment, he didn’t even depend on insulin till the last 3 weeks of his life.

I would just like to encourage everybody out there to check their sugar values regularly especially if you’re over 50 because this is a borderline age for a possible onset of type 2 diabetes, particularly if you have genetic predisposition or if you indulged in too much sugary and processed food before in life. Don’t let thing spin out of control and lead you into a situation where you could start drinking massive amounts of water and going very often to the bathroom, which if left untreated can lead to diabetic coma that can have even a fatal outcome. There is absolutely no need for this to happen with an illness that in many cases just requires caution, therapy and discipline. On the other hand, if diabetic with a good therapy that keeps diabetes under control, bear in mind that any sudden and dramatic elevation of blood sugar values especially if associated with stomach pains must be immediately reported to a doctor who has to perform an abdominal ultrasound.

Take care of your health and never let an illness that can be prevented or successfully kept under control influence your life and your happiness. Diabetes takes some kind of tool on human body even when treated and I am aware of that, but I think that you would agree with me that 22 years of normal life is not that short at all. In those 22 years dad was never in the hospital, at the beginning still worked as a doctor, never suffered a heart attack or stroke, he had incredible stamina and strength and in all that time he was in bed 3-4 times for several days with merely a seasonal flu. He traveled, worked strenuously in the garden, enjoyed a full and happy life. I would have nothing against such scenario if I got diagnosed with diabetes.

With lots of love for all of you out there, take care!

Advertisements

World pancreatic cancer day

world pancreatic cancer day
WORLD PANCREATIC CANCER DAY – November 13th

Today is November 13th, World Pancreatic Cancer Day. This year, it’s also Friday the 13th and many people across this planet believe that Friday 13th brings bad luck. For those newly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, any day on which that happens is like Friday 13th, because this is one of the worst and deadliest forms of this evil disease. Only 1-3% of those who receive this bad news from their doctors will survive the diagnose, and the survival rate hasn’t improved in more than 40 years. It’s still considered to be too hard to be understood and underfunded type of cancer. It’s hard. It’s more or less rare. It happens to somebody else. Until it happens to you or someone very close to you. Then the statistics won’t matter and it won’t seem that rare at all any more. You’ll want the cure, any cure, any support or good word of hope to cling to. But if the situation in the world still stays the same and if research for pancreatic cancer doesn’t broaden, nothing will change, there will be no cure. And with this diagnose, it is much more likely that you’ll end up among those 97-99% who won’t survive. The course of the disease is horrible and it doesn’t impact just the patient but also his or her immediate surroundings. Those days eventually end, but the horrid scenario behind them plays and plays over and over again in the heads of those who stay to live after the patient passes away. You survive, but you’ll carry the scar in your soul for as long as you live.

It’s a silent cancer and very often gives symptoms only when it’s too late for everything and everybody. That’s why the information about it has to be spread and shared so that it can be caught when there is still chance to do something. If there is enough awareness, maybe we can save some more lives. Maybe we can improve that hideous statistics and increase the survival rate. Maybe we can help some child to still have a mother or father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, relatives… If we do something maybe there can still be some hope, even though I can’t be certain about it. But on the other hand what I can be certain of is that if we don’t do anything, nothing will change and there won’t be any hope.

I’ll dedicate the rest of November to talking about this disease to try to help in the memory of my father. If you read this today, wear purple. Talk about how important pancreas is and how vital it is not to overload it with sugar, processed food, bad fats, alcohol and tobacco. Go for regular yearly abdominal ultrasound checkups and encourage someone you know to do the same, it can save a life. Abdominal ultrasounds are not just about pancreas but all the rest of your digestive system, and if for some malignant reason cancer strikes somewhere inside and you leave it undetected, it’s the perfect spot for it to spread very easily. Don’t be scared of checkups, once you complete them and they give you clean bill of health walk out of that office and put your worries aside for another year. Take care of your body and life, it is your life I know, but there are people out there who love you with all their hearts, your life is theirs too as your misery in case something happens to you will most certainly be their misery too. Don’t let yourself and them suffer if it proves that something can be done. And if you or someone you know survive thanks to the awareness you provided, there is nothing in the world that can be compared to that. We’re all on this planet for a short time and if we save at least one person, that’s what truly fulfills the purpose of our life.

In the loving memory of my father who passed away 14 months ago of pancreatic cancer:

My father
With lots of love for my dad 1936 – 2014

My city #BELGRADE is turning purple to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer! #WPCD bit.ly/wpcdsite

About American Express and “cross it out” demons

As November 15th was getting closer and closer, I had to get myself ready for paying the share of bills my dad used to cover. If I get the money for the job I occasionally do, this is my obligation. If not, then me and my mom have to come up with some incredible idea how to make the ends meet as her retirement money can’t cover all our bills and at the same time also sustain our food for 30 days. I got some money this month, but in addition to regular bills I also had to cover the last quarter of the annual tax for the apartment we live in, which is over the limit of the budget I receive. As I was making calculations and borrowing the additional necessary sum of money from the limit the bank allows on the only credit card I hold, I suddenly found myself in the middle of some kind of commercial for the American Express credit card the bank clerk was giving her best to make me take. As I was laughing out of misery over her shiny counter while trying to explain to that fancy woman that she was knocking too hard on the wrong door, she went on to elaborate on the wonders of what the travel health insurance that comes with the American Express can do. It virtually provides you with the health insurance that covers the trips all over the world, as opposed to MasterCard’s insurance which is valid for Europe and Turkey only. She continued with praises as to how this is wonderful if I travel a lot, especially if I have a family of my own. Another involuntary stab into my back from her part because obviously she thinks that if she works in a bank for a great salary, has good health and a husband and two kids, that everybody else is like her. Maybe “normal” people are, maybe that’s how things usually work or should work. And as they don’t work that way in my case, maybe that simply means that I’m not “normal”. Whatever.

When she asked if I travel, I replied – No, very rarely at the moment. What I should have said was – No, I don’t travel at all.
A) I have no money.
B) I’m an agoraphobic, I can barely stand an hour drive from home to the cottage house. You don’t need the American Express health insurance for the village at the outskirts of Belgrade.
C) I might as well die without bothering the health services – it’s just my mom who would notice the difference, the world couldn’t care less.

When she asked if I’m married, I said – no, I’m not. She replied – oh that’s not a problem, when you get married, all the members of your family will be insured as well. She said this as if getting married were some sort of undebatable truth, almost an axiom: you’ll get married, period.
What I should have said was – No, I’m not married and I’ll probably never marry.
A) I’m 39 and living in Serbia, people are already married at that age here if they marry at all.
B) I’m 39 and female, it’s getting highly unlikely that I’ll have kids if I ever marry. Serbian men usually run away from women like me.
C) I have panic disorder complicated with episodes of extremely severe agoraphobia. It’s not a flu and it won’t go away. Men in Serbia have many much younger women without mental health issues at their disposal.
D) My father died of cancer and I resemble him so drastically that I can almost bet that what I witnessed will be exactly how the end of my days will look like. Panic disorder runs in families and is inherited in 86% of cases. The type of cancer my dad had is also very often inherited, and I can’t go and have my pancreas and the rest of endocrine glands taken out as a preventive measure to secure myself a long and healthy life. I still need to somehow digest the food that I eat. The ethical question is whether or not should I create another human being and leave it on this planet with extremely high probability of being condemned to this terrible fate… life is hard even on its own.

So, where were we – basically yep, no thank you, I don’t need an American Express card. The commercial was great and the offer tempting, but you picked up a wrong target. Thank you again, but NO thank you. I think that the bank clerk would be amazed what kind of life baggage could be hidden under a credit card commercial carpet.

While I just wanted to get rid of my November bills, I actually managed to get my self-esteem deflated to zero and below by the time I was pushing that expensive double door to run away to the street and get some bank-free air. I left aside barely enough money to buy a dental floss. It’s my life savior, as without it my dental pockets would require the hideous emergency pocket cleaning and eventually degenerate into paradentosis. More money. More pain. I used to visit my dentist regularly, now I can’t any more. I entered a DM store, heaven for every Belgrade woman in love with makeup and style. High quality German brand in combination with every other world’s best cosmetic brand you can think of, and on the top of everything tasty organic products. Almost perfect, if it didn’t require a lot of money. I grabbed the floss and as I was walking towards the cashier, I spotted a winter scarf. Lovely colors, stripes in all shades of violet from the darkest to the lightest. That’s me, my color, the one I like the best. I didn’t like the price though. Seven dollars. In America, that can probably be defined as cheap by many people. In Africa, that’s a whole world for a poor person whose village is miles away from food and water. In Serbia, it’s somewhere in between if you belong to what used to be defined as middle class. I don’t any more. So I paid for my floss and went out making sure that I arrive home as soon as possible. Not so much because of agoraphobia, more because of the fact that from the terrace of my apartment you can’t see any banks or shiny department store windows. There are just trees, little wood that can never remind me so harshly that I am a failure. Nothing to buy, nothing to sell, no credit cards, insurances or scarves. Just nature. Thank God for that. I just need a constant reminder that I should stay here as much as possible because going out there among all that “normal” people strongly aggravates my depression. Also, I have to remember not to make shopping lists. Instead of writing things down I need some sort of mental pencil to cross out every single item that comes into my mind. I can do without things, as long as I’m not hungry and capable of covering the basic needs. That’s for now. What will happen tomorrow? I simply can’t think about it. I don’t make plans, I have no means for that. It has nothing to do with panic, laziness or depression, I sent out dozens of job applications willing to push over all my limits, but with no success. Qualifications are not a problem, but age is. 39 seems to be way too old for any Serbian employer, plus the country is in quite severe recession. Life in Serbia is very hard, even without my issues.

I’ll leave this post as a reminder that I absolutely must block all shopping desires that come into my head because it still won’t come naturally, I’m doing my best to adjust to this new life I have to live. It’s livable, it surely still is life. And all that stuff we tend to consider important or even essential at any given point of time can be done without. People matter, not things.

Flowers for my dad

Today was one of four yearly memorial days for the dead in my culture, another occasion to visit and take care of my dad’s grave, bring flowers and relive the memories of one life that reached its end last year. Another reminder that the pain never goes away, you just learn to live with it. You simply survive because it’s the law of life, it’s still not your time. Rest in peace dear dad, as long as I live the memory of your life will live too.

chrysanthemum
Bright red chrysanthemum – photo by tamellu 2015
Heart of chrysantemums
Heart of chrysanthemums – photo by tamellu 2015

Bad vs. good news

I was always inclined to first perceive the bad picture when I summarized the event of the day, month or year. Quite sadly for a long time that was actually the only picture I perceived, unable to confront it with its opposite counterpart which always exists, no matter how dark is the darkness we sometimes found ourselves in. Flaw of the character or simply the consequence of my mental health issues which colored my days with the gray filter of depression even long before the tragic loss of my father, that was who I was and still am to a certain point. It just took a completely new shape in this last year or so because even when things are funny or I begin to smile, it is never again that relaxed bubbly laughter I used to enjoy in the past. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how independent you are at the time when you lose your parents, it’s only then that you truly become that mature grown up adult, one of all those other adults at that given moment world has now to rely on. Those who shaped that world before slowly leave the scene and you find yourself more and more alone in front of the big audience to show all you can and cannot do. Till then you always had somebody who could in case of necessity watch your back, give you advice, replace you for a moment or two. Perhaps you didn’t use that backup option at all, but still you knew it was there, like a comforting emergency button you could push at any given instant, a person or persons who would never betray you and always be there at least to give you warm two cents of their own. When you lose that, again no matter at what age, you lose the unconditional ground under your feet and your time comes to shape some tiny piece of this planet in your own way. It was easy to criticize or watch from a safe distance the previous generation at every possible work you could imagine and say that you would do it better if only they let you – when your time comes you see how hard that task is. How easy it is to make mistakes. How many insecurities and unknown things lie even in some seemingly simple everyday tasks you weren’t involved in. You realize that it’s not easy at all to shape the world. That this is new time frame but that people are still people, that your generation isn’t much better or worse than all the previous generations. That you missed so many important lessons, but that you have to do something, without creative and not so creative blocks inside that just serve as an excuse for – oh that’s too difficult, strenuous or tiresome, I’ll leave it for tomorrow. You can’t leave it, because there are not so many tomorrows out there any more. It’s scary and requires responsibility. But that’s how it is. This realization leaves you with some sort of mature scar on your soul, a scar that makes adults adults and alienates them from the carefree strength of a happy childhood.

I used to be extremely sad in this past year, now life is somewhat more frozen in several shades of gray the mature realization that I’m alone to fight now consists of. Life is hard. Literally. Things around you weigh a whole ton when you try to lift them and there is nobody else to do it for you any more. I have 57-58 kilos now and I probably shouldn’t lift anything heavier that 10-15 kilos but I have to. Nobody asks if I can. And anyhow I was never used to transferring the weight from my shoulders to other people’s backs. This heaviness of life serves as a burning fuel for depression which in turn continues to force me to see mainly just the negativity in the world around me. I’m aware of that. I see that others are aware of that too – people don’t like simple reality, they strive for inspirational heroes even if they are just a myth because people in general are much less brave than they pretend to be in front of others. What counts is what you think and how you feel when you stay alone with yourself in front of your bathroom mirror and honestly face your true reality, and there are not many of those who would sincerely share such moments with others. Nevertheless, if you’re honest, people flee. They run away from you, they don’t call you, they leave you on your own to “pull yourself together”. They can’t listen to negativism, they search for inspiration. People are just – people.

When I used to actively fight against panic disorder I read all sorts of psychological texts from the field of self-help and I tried out all sorts of techniques to simply survive a day. One of them which was dedicated more to the fight against depression than with panic was to write down your negative thoughts, at least several a day and then find as many good things in that day to confront the negativism with. At first that is extremely challenging because you simply can’t see anything good in horrible days. They you do somehow squeeze out good moments onto that paper, but they seem totally insignificant. With time and practice it gets easier, actually they say that if you practice this long enough it can become your second nature to first see the good and only later the bad in your days. I was never patient enough to give it a decent try so I don’t know if it works on the long run to improve the thinking patterns, but I know that it was a helpful tool on some pretty rainy days.

Today my soul is pretty heavy, as if somebody were sitting on my chest. Let’s try to chase some fog away by a short bad vs. good list:

1. Remember kitten Maconi from the photo post? Well, it’s not at the cottage house any more nor it will ever be. There are two people who live there in the immediate surroundings all the time, but they both refused to take care of it during the winter by saying that they don’t have the food for a cat??! My uncle wants to spend a carefree wonderful winter abroad so he won’t be here for at least 3 months. For that reason the kitten was sent away to some distant yard, it’s quite unclear if it will be taken care of or abandoned to search for food by itself during winter.

2. The first neighbor at the cottage house who was ill this last year and a half died today. My father would be very sad if he were here to hear the news, I remember their adventures when they walked for miles in good and bad weather when the buses would break down and there was no other means for them to reach their cottage houses in the past when the village wasn’t well connected with the town.

3. I have strong back and muscle pains due to heavy duty work at the cottage house yesterday – the place doesn’t look small at all when you have to collect leaves and heavy rotten apples to carry them away, there were 100 kilos of rotten apples to be collected in order to prevent trees to catch illnesses. Then I went up and down the ladder for like 50 times, quinces are finally ripe – the wind was blowing like crazy, branches were hitting me in the face and I was losing balance and almost falling down from some crazy heights.

4. I was following this year the life of one very special Serbian female writer, Isidora Bjelica. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer 3 years ago and went into two remissions, but the disease stroke back again in April-May this year for the third time. She tried vast number of expensive therapies, there were big humanitarian concerts as people gathered to collect money so that she could be treated in Switzerland, she promised to fight the best she could with lots of love for her fans and every single person who gave her a friendly word of support on her Facebook page. She posted that the imaging tests done today showed that her cancer spread very much and very aggressively. I felt the blow of heavy sorrow and those same mixed emotions I wrote about that haunt me for a very long time now.

The list could go on for quite a while, but I want to stop here with the negativism. Let’s search for the positive face of things:

1.In spite of pains I managed to bake a bread. And it turned out really excellent and tasty, I hope that I finally nailed the recipe that I should stick to.

2. Quinces are hard to collect and they have very unique taste, but they are also such a pretty site to look at, plus their smell is amazing. There are beautiful songs about quinces on cupboards during winter in our tradition.

3. It is hard for me to go to the cottage house, but I’m giving my best to convince myself that it is nothing and that I can do that. I’m fighting agoraphobia the best I can.

4. It is hard, but I’m somehow managing to post 2-3 times a week. I always say to myself – it won’t take long, I’ll write a shorter post this time… then I end up writing a “novel” as always. Maybe I should put a word limit and see what I manage to come up with that way. 🙂

Have a nice weekend!

Someone out there knows us

Thinking of you

Cancer stroke once again in my close proximity. Today I learnt that my dad’s best friend’s brother died on Saturday, he had bile cancer – one of the rarest and most lethal forms of this evil disease. He lost his battle in 10 months marked by 6 extremely difficult operations after the diagnose. My dad’s best friend watched my father’s rapid decline and was shocked by the speed at which his life ended, yet he hoped beyond the end of all hopes that some miraculous cure could save his brother and that even the last terrible operation on Thursday family insisted on would make some difference. I perfectly understand that surreal human need to cling to the last shreds of vanishing hope and no matter how much more I know today about cancer, I’m sure that I myself as well would start all over again that battle against all odds if I encountered this evil firsthand one more time. It’s that bargaining part of dealing with loss process, when you try even the most absurd things under the sun to prevent the bad outcome. Even though you know it’s highly unlikely to succeed and that almost everybody else failed, you still push. You still fight. Others failed because they made all sorts of mistakes you imagine to justify your fight. They failed, but you won’t. It’s so profoundly human. Then if miracles don’t happen and things don’t go well, you get into schock. And the dealing with loss starts all over again right from the beginning, from the very start of the denial part.

That’s how my dad’s friend feel now. Fast backward to ten months ago when he first told us about his brother’s issues, he was full of confidence that his brother would be cured. Relatives from everywhere gathered to send all sorts of known and unknown alternative care products and for each new one they included in his therapy dad’s friend would say that if my dad tried it, he would be still alive. It’s so weird when you find youself in the dark tunnel of dealing with an illness without some universally known and definite cure – you want some product to work but you’re still very sceptical, you feel horrible because your family member couldn’t try such product, and in my case you eat yourself alive because you know that your M.D. father would deny trying anything outside allopathic protocol even if you had means to provide it. You go through a turmoil of mixed feelings asking yourself what if this man succeeds while we didn’t manage, does that make me a bad person because I didn’t save my dad? And there comes jealousy, too. That’s such a shameful feeling, to be jealous because someone else out there is alive and you fight every second against it, but it resurfaces again when you least expect it. You know that we’ll all exit this life at one point or another in this or that way, yet you still “fear” that someone else will outsmart the laws of life and stay here forever while you were not smart enough to find the eternal life formula. Totally crazy and quite foolish when you think about it, yet once again extremely human.

I went though all these and many more phases in these past months as I frequently heard news of the state of health of the brother of my dad’s friend. I never met this man, I never even visited the town in Bosnia where he lived, I didn’t even see a single photo so that could at least imagine how he looked like. Nevertheless, over and over again during hundreds of days behind us I asked how he was. I knew where he was, what he did, what was his diet, what were the things he liked, how strong he was and how big hopes he had. I knew so much, although very probably he didn’t even know that I existed and that I followed his battle with so many mixed emotions, praying so much for his life but also for his peace when he was exposed to the last painful procedures. This realization suddenly dawned on me, how probably for each one of us there is at least somebody out there who by chance or through someone else knows about our lives and feelings and how that knowledge often enfolds and stays behind the scene, leaving us completely oblivious of its existence. Just because we don’t know it, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out there who hope and pray with us, cheer for us and share our rollercoaster drive in unpredictable circumstances. Depending on circumstances and people involved, this can be a hidden burden or a hidden blessing as some sort of human energy obviously always travels our way. Whatever it is, it’s anyhow one of surprises the miracle of life consists of. I wish you all that only good people have you in their minds and hearts as your and their paths cross for a short time of this planet, may only good energy fly your way. And may the brother of my dad’s friend find his much needed peace till we meet some day. Rest in peace dear man, you were so strong and brave in you battle for life. I know that you were much loved and that you’ll be so much missed. Someone some day will find the cure, I’ll pray for this till the end of my days.

The miracle of walnuts

walnuts
Walnuts from Serbia – photo by tamellu 2015
I can’t say I had any particular relationship with walnuts till a year ago. I knew of course that they grew on trees and that my dad had some on his little piece of land, I knew that I couldn’t eat them raw as I would immediately feel a burning sensation all the way down my stomach due to some sort of allergic reaction so they weren’t exactly on the list of my favorite food items. On the other hand, my mom would often put them in all sorts of cakes (in particular my favorite chocolate cake Reform) and occasionally mix them in raw form with cooked wheat which is very important in our culture, but other than that I didn’t contemplate much on this strange type of fruit as we perceive it in my country.

Famous poet from Montenegro, Njegoš, in his classic work “Gorski vijenac” mentioned an epic truth which goes more or less like this: “Hard walnut is a strange fruit, it won’t crush but it’ll break your teeth.” I think that he’s the most responsible for establishing the expression “hard walnut” we often use in our everyday speech, referring to a person who can’t be easily convinced and who won’t back off and change the attitude under pressure, someone tough enough to refuse to be “broken”.

I would also hear my mom complain every autumn about a giant walnut tree growing outside our apartment building, saying that it makes annoying noises at night when ripe fruits hit the hard asphalt, and that it leaves behind mountains of dirty leaves on the ground by the beginning of November.

That used to be pretty much everything when it came to me and walnuts. What I failed to recognize though was that I missed the essentials – I never learnt to distinguish walnuts from other trees by the shape of their leaves, I never collected a single fruit with my own hands from the ground and I never watched it develop in its hard green shell that in the end turns to black-brown in the process of ripening and cracks open to drop down its light brown stone-like product. Just like many other things, I considered walnuts merely something that I could buy or take and consume as desired, oblivious of how that consumption philosophy pushes us further and further away from nature that created and shaped all our lives.

Who knows for how long this could go on for me if my dad’s life hadn’t come to its end. Walnuts usually start ripening by the middle of September if the weather is favorable, which was the case last year. As my dad sat and lay on his deathbed in his bedroom after being discharged from the hospital as an “untreatable case” (there is no facility or trained staff for palliative care in oncology in Serbia, believe it or not) and sent home to our bare, medically uneducated hands to do whatever we thought we should to alleviate the pains and misery in his last days, walnuts kept popping out from their greenish-brown shells and hitting the asphalt under the bedroom window. Last days of death from cancer are among other things marked by huge changes in body’s physiology, which heavily impacts the brain of the dying person. People dying from cancer usually turn to themselves reliving distant childhood memories, fall in and out of consciousness and occasionally lose touch with reality and persons around them, until pains close in on them one more time with harder and harder blows. Changes in physiology and strong painkilling medication induce periods of delirium, infallible proof that the end is getting nearer and nearer. There were long periods when I could sit on the bed by my dad’s side, without him being conscious of my presence. Most of the time I couldn’t even just touch him as this provoked unbearable pains, so whenever I felt that he could at least communicate with me I would start whatever small talk that came into my mind. Times for big talks were over, it’s nothing like you see in movies with those important lines for special goodbyes – in death in real life it all gets pointless. Dad’s body had a strange tendency to rhythmically move with the sound of walnuts hitting the ground, so knowing how much he loved this fruit, several times I tried to ask him: “Dad, do you hear the walnuts falling down?” Absorbed in his thoughts he usually failed to respond, staring into emptiness. Once however, growing intensely delirious he replied: ” Yes, goats are falling down, too.” I remember staring at my dad in scary disbelief watching his distorted expression, horrified that he went totally nuts as (wal)nuts outside continued falling down and creating some highly ominous atmosphere. I hadn’t dealt with death from cancer before so I feared this stage very much, observing with intense fear how dad would swing from delirium to a perfectly normal state and back again in terms of hours. There was nobody to guide me or even just explain to me how this end of life enfolds, and from my experience it’s much better to be prepared for what you’re about to witness than to live in ignorance of foolish protection from the reality we all have to face in some form or another. Thank God there was at least internet by my side to help me recognize all the relevant signs in spite of my total refusal to admit that one life was about to be over beyond any repair. Life eventually ended with the sound of nuts cracking as they landed on the hard ground. The burial was prepared and awaited during horrible sleepless nights interrupted only by that familiar, ominous sound. Those hardest days that come after the burial were still marked by this more and more annoying tapping which threatened not to end ever again.

Then somehow as the tree exhausted all its fruits and autumn progressed into winter, somewhere along that path tapping stopped, but I failed to spot the exact moment when this happened. There was snow and silence, so cold and hard that I almost preferred to hear the familiar ground hitting sounds again. Winter turned into spring, strong summer heats chased away spring blossoms again, and finally the end of another August got nearer and nearer. I felt it in my stomach that was turning into stinging and painful knots again as I relived dates and events from the previous year. Memories were like needles piercing my skin, thousands of pains and moments of disbelief, real as if it all had happened the previous day, as if time had stopped and the year never elapsed, the year in which among other things I gave my best to learn all I could about walnut leaves, shells, fruit ripening. I would look at the tree outside the window and as I remembered the goats falling from the sky, my body would fill with intense fear. I dreaded hearing the sound of falling walnuts again and it seemed that I wouldn’t survive it without dad around. I almost begged the Heaven above not to hear that sound ever again, especially not at the time of anniversary. Strangely enough, it seemed that my prayers were heard. The unfavorable weather slowed down the ripening of walnuts and by September 12th still not even a single one hit the ground. After the anniversary, me and my mom went several times to dad’s cottage house and she “put me in charge” of collecting fallen walnuts and hitting down the ripe ones that were still on the tree. It felt awkward and I was reluctant to start, but once I did I never felt sorry for my decision. It’s not easy to spot fallen walnuts nor to track them when they bounce down from the tree. Each one you find gives you a small boost of happiness because you had a successful “nut hunt” as I decided to call it. As you analyze the ground around the tree you bend over and get up thousands of times, which gives you all the exercise your body craves for in today’s sedentary lifestyle. And on the top of everything, something strange started happening. Whenever I gave a close look along the paths I had frequently covered all my life in my neighborhood or elsewhere around the town, I would spot a walnut tree I walked by thousands of time not knowing what it was. This year was extremely prolific in terms of walnuts, so during this last month or so there wasn’t a single day in which I wouldn’t come home without at least 10-15 walnuts in my hands. Time worsened in last 15 days with the arrival of strong winds and rain, but it proved to be actually beneficial for a nut hunter like me – I would find myself in the middle of rain and walnut storm as winds and humid weather would shake the trees and make them shed the fruits. They would fall in dozens, hitting my head, hand, feet, rolling down the ground in my direction, literally following me wherever I went. One day three walnuts landed down from different directions and joined together to stop in front of my feet, as if something or somebody sent them to convey a message and help me make the final peace with these trees. Also, last year we didn’t find any walnuts at the cottage house as nobody went there due to my dad’s condition for more than 2 months, which means that probably somebody took them away. My mom had to buy them all year long for all memorial days for my dad, because they are traditionally mixed with cooked wheat prepared together with wine for the religious service. She repeated many times that my dad wouldn’t believe that she had to buy walnuts when we had two fairly big trees of our own.

This year it was all somehow evened out, because not only the harvest is really extremely abundant, but also it turned out that there was no reason for me to fear the sound of falling walnuts. Nut hunt turned out to be a happy task, a true way for me to preserve the memory of my dad. I could be wrong or not, but as my dad loved them so much I have a feeling that this was his gift and the way to say that everything is ok and that there is nothing to fear any more, that on the contrary we should be strong and brave hard walnuts fighting for our place in the world.

Happy nut hunt to all walnut hunters from my hemisphere!

walnuts
Walnut branch – photo by tamellu 2015
walnuts
Two walnuts – photo by tamellu 2015
walnuts
Walnut half – photo by tamellu 2015
Walnuts
Whole walnut – photo by tamellu 2015

Battles are inside

It’s not the first time that I feel this strange distinction between the storm going on in my inner world and the serenity of the reality that surrounds me. Things in life are very plain if you manage to see them for what they really are, objectively, detaching yourself from the emotions you attribute to them. No matter how hard we try to run, fight, push, pull, squeeze, beg, drive ourselves crazy in some desperate attempt to change the course of imminent things,life blankly follows its own rules. And life’s rules are much bigger and stronger than that small dose of electrical energy that’s pulsating in our bodies while we’re still technically alive. Substantially speaking, life is simple. Life doesn’t divide things in good and bad, it doesn’t judge or analyze, it never gets happy or sad over its own actions. There are processes that have to be carried out from the beginning to the end, and life infallibly fulfills that mission. It does the work, but it doesn’t care about it. It’s us people who care, not life. This realization is one of crucial moments in dealing with panic disorder, that split second when you realize that you’re having all sorts of scary thoughts, panicking, drowning in a glass of water… over actually nothing. Nothing is going on that makes you feel that way, it’s just how you feel about something you want to do or situations ahead of you. Plainly put, it’s not life, it’s you. Understanding this can make the difference between suffering a full blown panic attack and halting it when it made only half of the damage. After some hard practice, it can truly work.

When it comes to real life events, it’s a lot harder, even though the principles are almost exactly the same. My dad got sick at some point in time. When exactly and how, we’ll never know. His cells grew and divided for many long years without particular problems. Or if there were problems, his body had ways or means to fix these mistakes. And on he went this way till some day when some big, irreparable mistake happened. Cells continued to grow and divide, healthy ones in their usual way, unhealthy ones in some fast, vicious, mistaken way. This process continued as he was living his life calmly and peacefully, oblivious of what was going on inside. When he got the symptoms, it was already too late. What we witnessed was only the last phase of that for a good reason called malignant process. Bad cells grew right through the most important clusters of good cells and ended my dad’s life, dying instantly in the battle they so triumphantly won. And then there was silence. Simple, bad, dead silence. It happened, it had its course and then it was finished, life did its job. All the rest – all my physical and mental struggle, all the images that still come back in horrific flashbacks day and night, all the tears, all the sorrow, all the questions (why this, why him, why us…), all that denial, anger, bargaining, depression and occasional painful acceptance, those are all just human created extensions of this story. The story ended more than a month ago and I’m still shaken inside and it’s still shaking every thing in my life, I’m still struggling and drowning in that small glass of water… but there is nothing in my reality OF TODAY that’s provoking this. The only difference between this situation and a panic attack situation is that I have a reason for my feelings, while panic has no foundations in reality. There surely is a reason, but it’s already sealed as a past event. I can’t change a thing about that reason. I can’t travel back in time and change things that haunt me as being something that I could have perhaps done differently. I can’t escape to future either to run away from the intensity of this recent loss. The only thing I have is now, this present moment. And as nothing bad is going on right now (at least nothing I’m aware of), it turns out that I shouldn’t be so shaken. People who manage to put this truth into action are on a good road to mastering that Zen’s full embracing of the reality in the present moment. There is nothing bad about holding onto this truth, it can only spare you from all that pain that actually serves no other purpose than to harm the person experiencing it. Yet it’s so hard to make this detachment. Is it guilt, the feeling that you’ll forget the person you loved very much if you no longer experience pain? Or perhaps the failure to put this into action is some sign of emotional immaturity or instability? I don’t know the answer. What I know though is that I’m still very much battling with myself, paradoxically still fighting against a finished illness, worrying constantly, reliving the details and painfully looking for the exact thing that went wrong in the first place. I do the chores of the day, I suffer, I live, I suffer, I sleep, I wake up and I suffer again. And none of this ongoing agony is real now, there is stillness of an autumn night outside, occasionally interrupted by rain and blows of wind against the windows. There are no battles out there, not any more, battles are all inside. But there is a huge step between understanding and implementing this.

Farewell dear daddy (1936-2014)

tata

We fought that horrible battle all right, me, my dad and my mom, all alone. It is only today that I mustered some strength to come here and say something, make myself heard. I’ve never experienced something that much dreadful in my life and no matter what anybody can tell you about cancer and how brutal it is, it is only when you see it firsthand taking away one of the closest persons you have in front of your very powerless eyes – which I don’t wish on the worst person in this world – that you can truly understand why it is considered so hellish. It was cancer all right. And of all the damn cancers in this world, the worst and the deadliest one. Pancreatic cancer. We have two ultrasound results, several X ray images, gastroscopy results and the CT scan, but there are no biopsies to be dead certain, although it fits the description perfectly. There was no time. Time was leaking through those tiny space between our fingers too fast for anything to be done. The metastatic lesions were first discovered on August 23rd which was an incredible shock for me. Today, after downpours and downpours of tears I am in much greater shock knowing that my father lived only 20 days after his diagnose. He passed away on September 12th in such a terrible way, suffering from pains and in some inexplicable agony, on my very hands. I did manage to beg the ambulance to arrive and he took his last breaths in their presence, attached to the ECG, which showed flatter and flatter line, till everything got hushed up and ended in surreal silence. That silence still haunts me whenever I move around the house, it is as if I need something massive like an entire mountain to fill the emptiness that is left behind him.

There is no peace, there is no comfort, there is no resolution. We didn’t get a proper chance to try to offer him any sort of cure, even though there is almost no cure for pancreatic cancer, even when discovered early on, let alone at this stage. It’s the most ominous cancer of all not only because of its astonishing aggressiveness, but because in the majority of cases it doesn’t give you hardly any proper warning till it metastasized. Till it’s too late, for everything and everybody. We didn’t get a proper chance to say a real goodbye to one another because all of us, dad included, didn’t believe first at the diagnose, then at the possibility that it could take him away at such horrendous speed. It is just as bad as it can get when cancer is involved, but even pancreatic cancer usually gives you several weeks or several months if not a year or two… to finish some unresolved issues, to express wishes, to give instructions to those that will stay behind you. We weren’t that lucky. There is a very slim chance to get hit by a lightning or win a huge lottery prize, but such things still strike. We hit the jackpot when it comes to bad luck in life… or it was simply as one doctor said that my dad was such a strong and tough man that he carried out the cancer story oblivious of it till its end on his two feet, which is very unusual and quite remarkable. Considering all his other lab results and the fact that he never really lay in bed for more than a couple of days with a flu in spite of the diabetes he very successfully fought with for 22 years, he could have lived for another 15 years at least as they say. Maybe, maybe not. Many times doctors actually don’t have a clue. What remains incredible is that my dad on August 9th worked strenuously in his garden, drove the car and carried home kilos and kilos of tomatoes, feeling just slightly more tired than usual. A month later, we had to organize his funeral.

Preparing the funeral was honestly a story by itself… Funerals are digitally organized in such an incredible manner in a rotten country where my dad was admitted to a hospital which is in completely brutal state – old beds with mattresses falling apart, no pillows for everybody, no blankets, no clean bed sheets for as long as you stay in hospital, cockroaches dancing around rooms, and on the top of this mountain of misery, a horror story contrast – blond, young female doctor, perfect style and makeup, pretentious, lacking any sort of empathy or human emotions, but obviously pretty rich. That woman could easily buy full equipment for those miserable 5 beds in that sad men’s endocrinology room and not even feel any budget difference, yet she was much more interested in kicking my father out of the hospital when it was confirmed that he was a palliative, i.e. lost case. This person who filled my father to the fullest with insulin to clear his ketoacidosis in order to discharge him as fast as possible probably never heard that insulin is among other things a growth hormone, and that such a speedy flush out of keton bodies is not recommendable at all with cancer patients because it simply speeds the tumor growth, yet she still had a nerve to verbally confront me. I just wanted my dad to have a proper care, I was quite aware that hospital sucks in many ways, but still it is a place where he could get full time IV fluids, injections of pain medication and TPN as towards the end he ate and drank less and less. She shouted at me in front of him that “he can’t live in hospital, you know!”, to which I replied moving to a safe distance from him – and you, with all your “medical knowledge” are trying to say that he will live? Here, at home, or at any other place? Live? The following day when she discharged him, I told her that talking that way and with such a tone of voice in front of a dying patient is not ok at all, and that she shouldn’t work with people. I’m not ashamed of what I said, because it’s a pure fact. My father was dying. I could have flipped, shouted, cried, fainted in front of her, yet I was always very quiet and polite, holding all the horror and grief inside. Even if I were impolite, she as a medical worker should have understood it, but it was clear enough that she had no compassion at all. For Christ’s sake, my dad, my one and only dad was dying. Then something very painful happened – her expensive mobile phone rang and she answered it even though it was a private call with these words – oh hello daddy, did you finish the paperwork? It was as if she stabbed me right into my pancreas. I was counting last days with my dad, while she treated me like hell and spoke to her dad with whom she had indefinite time at her disposal. God forgive me, but I wished her all the worst in my mind many times. I still can’t understand how such a person can be a doctor. She told me that I should be grateful instead. Grateful? Of what? Of megadoses of insulin that contributed to speeding his death? Of prescribing a patient who barely ate 22 i.u. of morning insulin on the day 5 in hospital due to which he entered hypoglycemic coma and his blood glucose was immeasurable, they barely managed to bring him back to life? Of injecting him 18 i.u. of insulin on the day he left hospital so that on that very evening we noticed huge sweating and measured glucose at 2.4, due to which we loaded him with all sugar he could eat (he hasn’t eaten that much sugar in last 22 years)? Of not instructing me how to use insulin pen and telling a nurse to do it, who failed to inform me that a loaded pen isn’t supposed to be kept in a fridge and that his insulin type was a mixture, which means you have to strongly shake it before injecting it so that it can resuspend? Of letting me stand while she spoke about his death, sitting in her chair with her back turned to me, staring at her computer? Of not giving me any blood values so that I could compare values from before entering the hospital and his progress? All in all, I should be grateful to her for doing her job, being such a lousy doctor at the same time? Ironically, my dad was a doctor, too. If she had no compassion for a human being, she could at least have had understanding for a colleague who used to wear that same white coat up to 13 years ago when he retired. No way, that was too much to ask I suppose. She said she never saw something like that – “something like that” was a person, my dad. I believe her. She is most probably younger than me, so her experience is really “huge”. Plus there is one massive point she missed in this whole story – she most certainly isn’t and probably never will be an oncologist, if she were one she would see much worse tumor marker values every day all right. In the end she told me that I had a bad attitude and to get lost… I don’t have words for your attitude, I replied and then I obeyed the “getting lost” part… while I was shutting the door, she cynically shouted “goodbye and have a pleasant day”! I opened the door again and said PLEASANT? I mean, my life is falling apart, my mind is falling apart, my family is falling apart and I’m taking a dying patient home where I don’t have a private nurse, IVs and everything else he can’t take by mouth, and she says have a pleasant day? May things get this pleasant in your life, I said, and slammed her door.

Slamming her door meant opening door to hell itself in our modest home – there was no way to afford private care, dad was trying to convince us that he was managing, he fought to eat, drink, take meds, but every day he went rapidly downhill, one day was like an entire month for some other pancreatic cancer patient. I constantly measured his sugar levels and gave him only half the amount of prescribed insulin when needed… we changed diapers, we moved him up and down as he was constantly in pain and choking, in spite of the largest doses of opioids he could take. His stomach was filled with fluid this darling doctor and all other doctors in town refused to drain to give him a little bit of relief. On the last evening I sealed a morphine patch on him, but he didn’t live long enough for it to start working.

Then I had to survive the ambulance pronouncing death, but with their death certificate he couldn’t be buried. We had to call a medical examiner to come, inspect the body and allow the funeral. Medical examiner’s office immediately informed private undertakers who called from a hidden number so that we couldn’t know who made the connection, because that’s illegal. It’s our right to chose the funeral organization and they tried to impose the people who give them percentage. Horrific. We shook them off successfully, but had to be in the room where the medical examiner examined the “body” in our presence. For me, it was daddy. Daddy sleeping. I still couldn’t grasp what happened. Then we had a visit from a legal undertaker… I’ve never seen such an efficiency. I was still in shock an disbelief when this man put an iPad in front of me and told me to choose a coffin, equipment, cross, etc. “Just flip the pages and when you find something you like, press the upper left corner to see the price…” Something I like??? What was he talking about… When my grandmother was buried 17 years ago, there were printed catalogs and my parents took care of everything. I’ve never buried anybody in my life. Now, all of a sudden, it all felt on my shoulders, hardly 2 hours after his death. Everything was digitally arranged, one click her, one click there, receipts, pay this, pay that, every step of that funeral had some price. Abominable, as it was happening in a country where patients lie in cockroach infested hospitals and where a retired medical doctor with perfectly good medical insurance couldn’t “live” in hospital, being a dying case. Then my mother ran to the bank and I was all alone and shaking when the coffin arrived. Three strong scary men and a tiny one, who was supposed to dress my dad. And I was alone. I have PD, you remember? My hands were shaking out of control, yet I helped with everything. Mom returned on time, but she couldn’t bear to go out as they were carrying the coffin out of the building. I went with them, alone again. I watched them put the coffin into their vehicle and I had to make sure they fastened the proper lid onto it. And to wave a final goodbye forever, completely alone.

That night I got sick with flu. Exactly 7 days earlier I went to my dad’s GP to get a whole bag of meds with which I was supposed to carry out that battle with cancer at home, and there was a girl who said she had a fever and sore throat. Great, I thought, but then I forgot completely about it. It turned out that the virus didn’t forget me. By the end of the next evening I was sad like hell, had a fever of 101 and horrible pains in each and every muscle of my body. I cried because of what happened and how it happened, I cried of despair, anger, fear, of physical pain… but one thing kept me still in one peace. “If dad could endure what he endured, I have to survive this as well and put myself onto my feet in two days to be at that funeral”. He dealt bravely with cancer pain, so there is no way I could fall apart. No way. Funeral… even the very idea of it was terrible, because of the event itself, but also because as he didn’t express any precise wish, I wanted him to lie together with my granny. That graveyard is TOTALLY out of my comfort zone. Out of town. I’ve never been there in these last 7 years. It was out of question. And now I had to go there and not go crazy in front of those who were to attend the funeral. Quite a mission… I fell apart a bit when we reached the grave and when I saw the grandma’s tombstone and her picture, everybody thought it was just because of dad, only me and my mom knew what it meant underneath. I brought this picture of my dad with me to leave it on his grave, this is how I want to remember him. I took this picture with my camera, with my own hands and I brought it as my last personal gift for him. He was a man who loved life and his garden more than anything, always smiling, always pushing ahead, always walking around, always fixing something, things, people, animals… but he couldn’t fix cancer. I don’t want to remember that defenseless, weak, thin man he turned into and the scenes of dying, because by that time, my dad, the person who he really was had already left me.

I don’t know if he can hear me now, but there are so many things I’d still have to tell him and I didn’t have time for it. I wish he could return for one night only so that I could tell him how much I loved him and how much I miss him. How sad I am that he left this world knowing that nothing is safe or secured in my life, unable to be proud of me in any way. I would need him to speak just one more time, to tell me that he wasn’t totally disappointed with me. PD destroyed everything, I fought the best I could, but I needed some more time. I’m sorry daddy, but I was unfortunately born the way I am. I can only promise that I’ll try to continue to fight somehow to make things better, but I can’t promise that I’ll succeed. I wish there were less emptiness around me. I wish you were still here… Damn it, I miss you so much, why did you have to go, and in such a dreadful way.. 😦

Rest in peace dear daddy… and wait for me up there somewhere. Your sufferings ended, and mine will some day as well. I watched the movie about Frida Kahlo the other night again, she was a famous Mexican painter who had many health problems and eventually died in horrible pains. The movie ends with her words – “I hope the exit is joyful, and I hope never to return.” My daddy repeated in his last two or three days how horrible life is and begged to die as soon as possible. It was terribly hard to listen to this, but I understand him. Psychologically, I’ve been carrying around so much pain for many years and I’ve felt so well the cruelties of life on my very skin. Somebody said – You don’t have to get killed to lose your life. I’m still here, but I lost my life many years ago. Now I lost my dad as well. I have no idea how I will deal with what future still has to bring for me, but I just hope that my little family will be together again some day, in some better place. No pain, no fear, no grief, no separation. Daddy, don’t abandon me completely, I beg you. Wait for me.

Battle for life

I wanted to write something, but I have no idea how a post like this is supposed to be written. There are no right words, there is no comfort, there are no answers. Just tons of tears and a profound sense of sorrow, deep like some hell pit and the smell of hospital disinfectants that haunt my days and nights wherever I move. I am afraid to type these words, but I have to – my father is most probably dying.

What appeared to be just a battle to get him out of diabetes induced state that went widely out of control and progressed to ketoacidosis, eventually turned into an ominous discovery of cancerous lesions in his abdomen. We still haven’t found the big one, THE ONE responsible for these lesions as he is still too weak for further aggressive testing, but doctors think that considering the general state of his health that this might not even be important, that it would be just a name to put on the type of cancer he has. For these doctors my dad is not the person I know everything about, he’s just a cancer case. They left me, mentally not very stable person, standing on my two feet while they were telling me these words that sounded so unreal and out of place and put on me the pressure of choice to decide how much of what they think so far I will tell him. If anybody out there knows the way how to lie to a retired medical doctor about his state of health, please tell me how to do it. He knows too much about medicine and suspects quite enough to be fooled around, yet I still have to give him a grain of hope so that he continues to battle for his life. In order to do it, I’d need some hope myself. I need to be strong. Have you ever seen a strong PD sufferer? Till several days ago, I hardly and rarely went further than around my building. All of a sudden, I’m needed – to figure things out, make appointments, find ways how to put him into a hospital in a tragically poor country with one of the worst medical mafias in the world, be the one to whom doctors speak, run around to buy medication and other things he needs, and that’s precisely what I’m totally unfit for in the first place. I’m somehow doing all this and falling apart, but it seems to me that such situations simply numb you to the point that you can process them without going crazy for good. I was managing my PD battles precisely because I developed mechanisms of convincing myself hard that all that dreadful anxiety was not real, that it was bogus, that it can’t harm me. Anxiety and dread I’m feeling now is not much different from what I’m used to, but this time it’s not bogus. Now it’s very real and I can’t do anything about it, which in turn scares me to death. This realization alternates with derealization all the time. What is going to happen? How will he handle it? How much time do we have left? What has happened and how? How are such things processed and survived? How will i survive all this? And of all diseases out there, why cancer?

My dad has been a support in my life in different ways and now life is going to get abnormally tough, change drastically for worse, especially because PD makes me disabled in many ways and I don’t have help. Everything loses meaning and importance. When I think of my recent digital battles, I fell like screaming – how could I’ve been so stupid to get worked up for something that seems like a complete nonsense now? All those things that miss in my life due to PD now seem way much bigger and worse. Who’s gonna give me a hand when my time comes? I don’t have anybody apart from my mom and dad… I would give my stupid PD limited life this very instant to extend his much more meaningful one if things could work that way. What’s life’s purpose anyway and why for some people it has to end in terrible suffering?

I’ve said many times that whenever I start something meaningful for myself in these last years, the moment I try to do something at least a bit beautiful, I somehow get drastically punished for some reason. I took the camera out all right, but what am I supposed to do with it now? I started blogging and found some very precious joys in this special community – I didn’t get many followers but I did make here a couple of very special friendships, big hugs and so many special thanks especially to Judy, Jim and Tammy – I love you guys, your amazing blogs inspired me to start doing something artistic again and your wonderful comments gave me strength not to abandon my newly developed blogging path. I don’t know how to blog now and if I can still do it, if I’m not here it’s because I’m doing really bad, not because I forgot you or this tiny blogging space of mine.

Life’s been very cruel on me, I need those closed fists of mine now more than ever. What’s more, I’ll hate my birthday now for as long as I live, it was on August 16th that my dad took the results of his first analyses and completely forgot about me and my birthday. My only wish while I blew my two tiny cake candles was for him to get better again, but it seems that such wishes never come true. I tried to stay positive in the following days till we got him into the hospital, I wanted to show you my first zinnias’ photos because I knew that later I wouldn’t have strength for it. Or better said, I still hoped that he just needed to be switched to insulin and that things would get better. I’m desperately searching for some grain of hope now, against all odds. It seems that these are the only battles I was born for, those against all odds.

Dear God, please help me, I beg you. Now it’s all in your hands.