partner of a cancer patient
"I believed we would be together forever...until death. And we were."
1) What appealed to you about the FUCK CANCER project and why are you putting your energy into it?
At first, I was attracted to the whole idea of spreading awareness about the topic of "cancer" from the perspective of someone who is not sick, but is healthy, but is someone who is close to it and experiences it "differently". Later on, I found that it helps me myself to be among people who have been through this ordeal of life. It's like being at home. Among people who live in the here and now. An amazing community that is worth the energy.
2) What does the term FUCK CANCER mean or express to you?
I think of it more as an apt description that tells everyone at the first moment that one is "fighting" for oneself, for one's health and life, or for loved ones ~ like me. Just FUCK CANCER ~ you won't get us. It's just that when one goes "further" one finds that there is so much more to it. Rather than fight, we all try to understand why the disease came into our lives, either personally or through a loved one. We see therapists, we work on ourselves, and in doing so we create that very life not of struggle but of understanding ourselves and others. And that's what I love about it.
3) Can you imagine who you are fighting for here as a "SOLDIER"?
Well, that's just it... I'm not fighting anymore. Because fighting and wars only breed more fighting and evil. Rather, I try to understand, and even if it sucks sometimes, to spread all my good and bad knowledge and understanding to anyone who wants it.4) What would you say to someone who says they find the phrase "FUCK CANCER" vulgar?
Try to look beyond ~ beyond the name, beyond the idea, beyond the meaning and the community and then you will understand.
The story of Simča
I haven't experienced cancer firsthand, but I've still come closer to it than I could have ever imagined. I was a support to a man who had had the aforementioned "horror" in his body for several years. A man who became my partner, and six months into our relationship we found out he had lymphatic cancer. I was still 19 at the time and Pete was 22.
For a long time, he had prolonged health problems, when the doctors themselves did not know how to cope. In fact, he said these problems had been with him almost all his life. His health was already in such a state that even the antibiotics or immunity injections he was constantly prescribed could not counteract it. His illness was running out of patience and time. After that, things went quickly. One night, an ambulance took him to the pulmonary unit for shortness of breath and coughing up blood. X-rays revealed a finding on his right lung and further tests and surgery revealed that it was a malignant tumor - Non-Hodgkin's Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma, which we named Lufik. Petya and I went regularly for chemotherapy and tried to be as supportive as possible. Honestly, although I and those around me were healthy, it was very challenging for all of us. In retrospect, I realize the many mistakes I made in my behavior towards my friend. One of the biggest ones I made was that I almost never left him alone. I didn't give him space to sort out his thoughts... Many times it was good to be with him. In fact, he thanked me for it, for not letting me be discouraged by his unpleasant moods, which were often worth it. But the moment you really say, "I need to be alone." Let's give him that space. Let's give him the time. But at the same time, let's be prepared for that to change in an hour and know that it was happening.
I was always ready. Everything went sideways. Which, again, was not good for me. I was forgetting myself. I felt like I was still giving, but I wasn't getting any energy back. It may sound selfish to some to think of yourself at a time like this. But how are we supposed to give strength to a sick person if we don't get it from anywhere? In retrospect, I can see that I was really a "little girl" who wasn't too fond of life. Until then, I was only concerned with school, part-time jobs, when I would go to work out, what I would eat... and suddenly such a "slap" that woke me up. But the biggest awakening and epiphany came later. After another series of radiation treatments, we realized that the doctors were no longer going to help him and gave him a 10% chance to live for the rest of the year. None of us wanted to believe it. We looked for any possibility. Petya even went to Peru to see the shamans and even though that didn't help, he never regretted it. That helplessness, when you can't do anything and you still blame yourself, is probably one of the most self-destructive things we do to take away our strength again. He was here for another 3 months after we got back, during which time we moved in together. We believed we could make it. I believed we would be together forever...until death. And we were.
The day he left for the rainbow, his whole family was with him. I held his hand. I've never been this close to death. And even though I promised him in my mind that I was strong and that I would make it through... It took a long time for the whole experience to sink in. After a while, I started going to psychotherapy, and I know now that it was the best decision I ever made. But at the same time I feel it would have been good to start them during this whole story.
Petya will always be my hero who showed me how to live better thanks to this life lesson. Thank you.
You can listen to the podcast with Simča at:
Soldiers & Heroes
"This experience changes everything, closes one door called plans and opens a whole new world - a hospital world."
"It's good to ask the patient straight out what they're going through, what's going on, rather than having an awkward silence."
"It's easy enough these days to just surround yourself with carefree fun. Living in a bubble of positivity and good feelings."
"I will be undergoing treatment for the rest of my life, but that doesn't mean I have to sit at home on my ass. I want to enjoy life, not just survive."
"These people need tremendous support, and not just from me, not just from you, but from everyone."
"Fuck Cancer for me is a clear answer to this disease, which is definitely not easy."