When I had cancer, when I was constantly vomiting, when I couldn’t stand the smell of pretty much everything that surrounded me, I must admit that I had reached the bottom of self-esteem. One day you are that confident person, a couple of months later a wreckage that doubts about everything. At first that doubt or question is about: will I survive this, how will I survive this and what’s next. You worry about work, about losing friends, about not having any social contact anymore, about restrictions because of the chemo and the wrecked immune system.
Then you have the first results, the chemo works, you see that the scans show a decrease. At that moment I switched a button and started to believe, believe in improvement, believe in my body’s strength, my mind’s strength and will to survive. After a year there wasn’t even a spot left, I was cancer free. Liberating yes, but while struggling and fighting against the cancer during the chemo, you notice you fall in a very deep hole afterwards. I cannot explain it, but it was as if I had got used to the routine. And afterwards there was only emptiness.
Emptiness, it was more than that, it was like starting a new life, starting from scratch. All of a sudden the partying student (I had just graduated when I was diagnosed with C) had become an adult, that itself was a big leap.
Direction was the hardest part of rediscovering myself. There I was, Master, but didn’t have a clue what to do next. Did I want to become a translator? No. Do something with linguistics? No. Did I have any other quality? No idea.
I had so many plans, ambitions, but they all vanished the moment I was diagnosed with C. They were not just postponed, they had been completely destroyed. Even though I tried to accomplish them afterwards, my state of mind just blocked.
I was stripped, naked and needed direction, guidance, hope…
I found those elements in several powers. The power of love, affection, understanding, caring. The power of parenthood, responsibility. The power of kids (seriously, the day my wife told me she was pregnant, I was overwhelmed with intense joy, happiness, a confirmation of being healthy again!). The power of work-life balance. The power of close friends, nice neighbours… Gradually I became another person, a stronger person, someone who was more down to earth. Yes I dare to stand up for myself and stand up for what I believe in… life! Cherish it.