Porras, Lencys – Surviving Mesothelioma

Porras, Lencys

Always Believe

I have been here before. I have seen the small, perfect violet flowers. My friends and I always suck the honey out. But today, it feels different. Today the grass is greener. We are all running. We don’t want to get caught. I feel free. For the first time in my life I am not afraid. I am in the most perfect place. I am swirling around in my pink, flower dress. I can feel the breeze touching my face. It makes me smile and I take it all in. I know I will always remember this day. It has been forever encoded in brain as one of my best memories. Far way I hear their laughter once again. I look up at the sky and all I can see is the shining sun.

As I open my eyes I see the curtain open. The window is letting some sunshine in. I really wish they would clean that window. For the last several weeks rain has clouded my view and now the windows have turned dark and dirty. I am very familiar with this place. I have come in and out of this hospital for the past two months of my life. I haven’t been eating much and I don’t have much of an appetite since I was told the news.

After I learned about the news I kept to myself. I did not tell a soul for two weeks. I wept and asked why. Why me? I was angry with me. I was angry at the world. I really didn’t deserve such thing. After all I was a good person. I have never hurt anyone. I have only received a speeding ticket in the last 15 years. It just seemed impossible to be diagnosed with such burden. This was not due to genetics or bad health. After all, I exercised four days a week. Yoga, Pilates, spinning, jogging – I mean you name it. Eating habits were not terrible either. I eat green most of the time and stayed away from sugars. Does it really matter now? The truth is that cancer does not discriminate between good or bad people. We are all bound to have it. Unfortunately, some people like I have developed a specific type of cancer. I no longer was the PhD. Graduate, the daughter, or the fiancée. I was sick and could possibly die. I had no self-esteem and my self-concept drastically changed. I was now a patient diagnosed with localized malignant Mesothelioma (stage I). The doctor said he was sorry, and that we needed to work on it right away. I agreed with him.

In reality, I had no idea what was going on. One thing was certain, Stages II through IV were worse and by then it would spread to my organs. I never thought I would actually prefer one cancer over another one; nevertheless, stage I was less serious and could be taken care of more rapidly. I had no idea how things had gotten out of hand, but I had to regain control again or else my world would forever be in the shadow. Eventually, I grew out of the denial stage. I spoke out loud and gave my family the news. By then, I was ready to face my distress. Feeling sorry and sad for myself was not the answer anymore. My instinct for survival kicked in. I was ready to let go of my disease and have my healthy body back. How was I going to regain control back? It was easy. I would implement my own strategy along with medicine or any other treatment recommended by my doctor. Many of my nights were spent doing research. I became an expert in my disease. I also interviewed countless doctors on their knowledge on Mesothelioma and many patients who suffered from the same cancer. These patients knew the answer to recovery. They all shared their common believe of self control; for instance, keeping up with a healthy diet and exercise. I guess it does make a difference after all. An eternal believe that they were already cured. They showed gratitude and happiness regardless of the outcome. Stress was not part of their daily self. The fact is that stress does interact with the human immune system and can cause deficiency. I was sure to follow this regime because I wanted to get better. I wanted to be my old self once again.

Every muscle and bone in my body aches. If it would have been a good feel pain from working out I would embrace it, but it is not. I feel sick, nauseous. I hate to vomit, but I feel it coming. As I look to my left I see the most beautiful white orchids. They are so perfect and delicate. They are my favorites. I know who brought it, my fiancé. I rearrange and lift myself up in bed and notice the card by knees. “It is almost over. Bailey and I miss you! Please hurry back home. I love you.” p.s. our wedding date is in less than two months. And I couldn’t help to smile and picture us together in my white, elegant dress.

Airplanes are flying in and out. Traffic is at its worse. I am not looking forward to saying goodbye to them. They are all here. My cheeks are moist and reddish. I can feel my tears coming down my cheeks. I wish I could hold my tears back. I am going to miss them so much. My father reminds me not to go out late and to call him as soon as I get to Boston. My mother asks me not to cook and it makes all of us laugh and reminisce about my lack of cooking. My middle sister hugs me tightly and lets me know that I will be more than ok. “You are a big girl.” she said. Lastly my younger sister barely looks at my face and hugs me and sticks a paper in my back pocket. ‘What is that? I try to speak through my tears. She simply replies, “Open it later.” When I arrived in Boston I knew that I was there to work on my PhD. I had no time to waste. I was on a schedule. The city is so inviting and beautiful. I can see myself living here longer than what I am supposed to, but I wouldn’t dare to tell my parents. They wouldn’t be able to cope with it. Not now at least. I love the snow and the shining sun. It is picture perfect.

I feel tender kisses on my cheeks and I am awakened. She is here. How can I forget that face? She has not changed one bit since birth. Her laugh is precious and contagious. My younger sister Pheebs is here in company of my parents. I get a lot of how you feeling conversation. And I can’t help to tell my parents what they want to hear. ‘I am better. Thank you!’ I have had several procedures done. None of which I had been exposed to previously. At times it was difficult and easy to give up. When I had those twisted days my family was my back bone and helped me through it. I can’t thank them enough for their unconditioned support. My first procedure was surgery. Doctors removed chest lining and tissues that had cancerous cells. Then I opted for the combination of radiation and chemotherapy. With radiation or chemotherapy any cancerous cell would be killed. I will have to return to visit the doctor possibly more often than the regular person does more than once a year to check for the return of any cancerous cell in my body. My dad replies, “You are so lucky it was detected in the first stage.” He is right. I am still alive and very lucky. ‘I am ready to move on with my life.’

The sky and the ocean touch at the end and in between the sun is rising. The sand is warm and unwalked upon. Our golden retriever Bailey is enjoying this day too. She made sure to get us wet from head to toes. I really don’t mind. The water is warm and the day is perfect for sun bathing. I have lived in Boston for more than five years and my skin is snow white. I have not had to go back to treatment again. I am free of cancer! I have finished working on my PhD. and I currently own my office. I am a Psychologist. Life is what I always expected to be. I have a secret that I have been keeping from my husband. I am pregnant. Nathan laughed, cried and jumped, all at the same time. After this joyous moment, I was left alone under the sun. As I was looking through my bag I noticed a handwritten note. “Always believe. I love you. Pheebs.”

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