They gave me four months: short, unyielding, non-negotiable. They told me to kiss goodbye the thought of ever having children. If, by some absurd chance, “fate” cast its lucky dice and I would contrive to live in order to bring a child into this world, they told me, with breath haltingly detachment, that it wouldn’t be wise to, selfishly, want to deliver a child that would ultimately end up motherless.

Believe me that the doctor was having visible difficulties keeping his laughter in check, while telling me these things and I was bulging my eyes out, going into shock, tears flowing freely, without me even realizing. Some people can be so cynical…

He tried “consoling” me, in an attempt to justify his obvious humor, when I caustically told him: “You’re already regarding me as a waling corpse, aren’t you? This must be an amusing image…”, making efforts to look serious, casting his eyes downward and assuring me that it just wasn’t possible for him to be wrong and that he had delivered what I had asked for, the truth, and that he was, already, highly accustomed to giving such news to people.

He tried to “reoffer” my human dignity through ridiculous attempts at flattery, for preferring to hear the cold, hard truth, while bemoaning at a canter:
– If you only knew how many people would rather hear pretty lies and then don’t know what hit them. They hope to live, the wretches, but they die without even realizing it. But I admire you. Too few have the courage to want to know the truth. I apologize, I couldn’t lie to you, because you asked me to be honest. I’m sorry I have no other news to give to you, although I would have like to be able to tell you something different.

I was already crying my heart out, surprised that I couldn’t refrain myself, my hand clasped is his.
– Are you certain there is no hope? None whatsoever?
– I would be lying. I truly don’t believe there is. It is one the fastest killing forms of cancer, which there is no negotiating with, no patching up, no operating and no dragging it out for a few years. It is extremely aggressive.
– How long do I have?
– Four months, maybe six, to make you feel better, although I doubt it…

I took full advantage of my free will. Although I felt I had no knowledge, or information that I could have based my choices on. These choices were, after all, non-existent. I was willing to do anything. I would have preferred a doctor’s “authority”, someone who inspired trust, but I found no such person. None of them seemed to hold any type of universal truth. I didn’t need to be stripped of my last shred of dignity, as I saw it, that of not being regarded as already being a corpse, a “minus one” on the social register. I had no need for pity or compassion, but felt nothing but a stringent need to understand what was happening to me. My brain felt numb, it was in shock.

I, myself, had chosen my operating doctor, or, more precisely, “coincidence” had offered him up. He was from another county. I had surgery and got discharged all in one day. Before surgery, during the preoperative evaluation, I showed the medic another “beauty mark” like the one he was about to excise, one that I feared most. I had always feared that particular strange “beauty mark”.

The irony! The doctor stared, became very anxious and called some colleagues who were shown the object of my fear. I was convinced it had to be something bad, but the doctors seemed “joyful”, excited, gesturing and fussing like they had seem something spectacular. “It’s clear, the way these bozos are acting, looking at a person like they’re a guinea pig”, I said to myself. “It’s clear, it must be bad…”

It was then I found what all that joy was about:
– Hey, colleague, have you seen anything like this before? Amazing!
– What is it? What is wrong with me? I asked desperately, close to fainting.
– You have a third, undeveloped nipple. From birth. It’s amazing…

Wonderful. Now I felt like in that SF film, “Total Recall” (where a three-breasted alien appears). My biggest fear had been an illusion. An amusing one at that. Oh, the pointlessness! What it is to not know anything… It could truly make you into a guinea pig, at the discretion of others.

Just before the intervention, when he looked into my eyes, I distinctly felt the doctor, who was about to operate on me, softening up, even though he was a well-known, experienced surgeon. It was as if he was looking at his own child. He sighed, shook it off and got to work he assured me he had done everything he could have, almost like he was apologizing for not being God. Then, he let me go home. He told me to wait for the results of the biopsy and that we would see what there was to be done after that. “Doc, should I have this test done? This marker?”. That particular test was expensive. It seemed the doctor wanted to get rid of me, so to not look into my eyes anymore. “Yes, take it, if you like…”

I didn’t really have anyone to advise me, after receiving the results of the biopsy. I was on my own. An acquaintance, who is a hematologist, told me:
– You’re going to live.
– Oh, bah! You’re just saying that to encourage me. There’s no way of knowing that.
– I mean it. From my experience, those people who get these types of news and start crying and wailing, get scared and believe they have no chances, they kick the bucket the fastest. People with your attitude: “Okay, so what is there left to do now?”, although they’re scared or they cry, they get to live.

Initially I kept searching for medical solutions. It’s a sickly ingrained configuration of our brains that makes us believe we are safer this way, when, in reality, the only security can be found solely within ourselves, as in where the “problems” originated.

I began gathering information. I went to Hungary, because you still couldn’t get a PET-CT scan in Romania. I was glad and grateful to science. I had finally found a detailed evaluation, which could tell me what was happening inside my body. I had a strange feeling, at that thought, of needing machinery to gain access to my body.

The nurse there got very attached to me. After the medical procedure, I told her that I would return in three months’ time to repeat the test, because I wanted to know everything, to be sure, check everything was alright, to know what decisions I was to further make. She squeezed my hand, sneaked a furtive glance to her left and to her right, made sure no one was listening and whispered: “Nooo! Under no circumstances should you do that, I beg you! You know, I don’t want to alarm you, but even this analysis can be dangerous. They say that it can be done every three months, but you know what I say, and I ask of you? You are young, I’ve seen so many cases… Please, go home. Forget about tests. Just live your life!”

Do you think that I could listen to her and hear God speaking to me through others, as Neale Donald Walsh says? “Be serious, lady”, I’d think to myself, “you may care about me, but I love myself ”. I plucked her sleeve and poked and pried:
– Does that mean that I’m okay? That I don’t need any more tests? What do you mean go home and just live? And why doesn’t anyone tell you this test may be dangerous?
– Shhhh…, the nurse hushed frightened. Look, the truth is we can’t say that, but you have to know that there is danger in anything, whatsoever. Believe me I’ve seen many ill people; I know you want guarantees, but they don’t exist. It doesn’t mean you’re fine, but what I advise you is to not turn yourself over to the doctors.
I’ve seen the way patients end up and do you know what they all say in the end? That they would’ve liked to not live their last months alive, in such a state. That if they’d known that it would end, anyway, at least they would’ve spent this time at home with their loved ones, not on the rack. That is what I’m trying to say. I don’t know how long you’ve got, but no matter what that time is, go home, live it close to your family that’s your only chance. And, maybe, who knows, you’ll be fine? Stop searching for guarantees, because they aren’t real. All you can do is believe that you’ll be okay and be hopeful.

Bonus: a smile and a hug. With all the care in the world. Blessed woman!

The oncologists suggested that, if I was refusing “preemptive” chemotherapy, I should at least be administered Interferon, “preemptively”, or accept the “preemptive” excision of the sentinel node, the nearest to the cancerous area. I immutably refused. The PET-CT scan results did not show any metastases. “Preemptively”, I was recommended to get lung x-rays and ultrasounds every three months. I said no to those as well. What the hell, was I supposed to prevent, when everything had already happened?!

I turned over a new leaf. Let’s go to church, have the priests exorcise me, tell me something, foresee my future. I went to a priest who was famous for being a diviner. I felt humble and humiliated. I was willing to do anything, if only I could save my skin.

On hearing that I have cancer, the priest, similar to the doctor, laughed. I saw it as a sign of the wisdom that kept eluding me, due to my inferiority – to hell with that lack of confidence. “But, isn’t it true that we all go, sooner or later? What’s the big deal?!”. “It might not be, father”, I said to myself, “maybe not to you. But it is for me. Maybe you have a spot guaranteed, up front, but I’m scared and I don’t feel ready for that. I want to prepare, at least like the samurai.”

The father interrogated me, asking me details about my life. Then, he frowned and “thundered” the verdict: I was to cover my head with a veil! Yes, and go to church every Sunday, penitently, for the entire sermon. Pray I don’t know how, many times in I don’t know how many ways. But the most important thing was that I was to cook for my man! I swear that’s what he told me. It was mandatory that I prepared food for him, ask him what he preferred and make it every day, and even more, learn devoutness, set the table and clean it after him. “You shall not return to me if you fail to do this, do you hear me? I won’t receive you!”

My dear reader, I don’t know if you believe me or not, but I got out of there even more dazed and stunned then when I had arrived. I was literally stammering. I couldn’t even begin to tell my family what I had gone through and recount for them the solution. I felt rejected, an outcast, a pariah, whose place in heaven had been receded. I felt like a “sinner”, dirty, unworthy and hopeless. I started thinking. “I can do this! I have to be able to do this, if it’ll help. But if it doesn’t help and I go through this for nothing, just like with chemo?”

Then, I swear to you, I started laughing, hysterically and uncontrollably. I couldn’t breathe at how hard I was laughing. I laughed by myself, like a lunatic, till tears came from my eyes. “Girl, you’re screwed! It’s clear. At least the father helped me with one thing. I’d rather accept the idea of dying. I’m tired of looking for answers. And I won’t do what he says in a million years. I’d rather die on my own terms. Father, dearest, I couldn’t even fathom… oh God, I’m dying here! Me, wearing a veil? God forbid, indeed! Going to church every Sunday, for the whole service? Oh, father, I’ve tried this before. Haven’t you seen that in your visions? That my grandmother and great-grandmother would drag me to church all day long and staying for the whole service so they’d get all the gossip? I’ve tried it before, father, with no result. Every time I’d fall dead asleep. If anyone starts singing in my ear and forces me to sit still I go out like a light. I might go to hell for it, father, I’ll be damned, but wherever you sit me, I’ll sleep christianly. Obviously, it’s a no deal! And cook for my man, daily? Ask him what he likes, set the table and clean it? That’s not me. I don’t want to live as someone else. Should I polish his shoes, too? What else should I be doing, father? That’s it, I’m better off dead.” And still I was laughing my head off.

The only solution that soothed my soul and fit like a glove was meditation. I truly believed in that and I could actually find my peace. Then I found a few other things that I believed in: psychotherapy and wheatgrass. In the end, I did exactly what the PET-CT nurse had told me to do, without even realizing – it had come naturally. I had no one to “support” me, as all the people close to me were in shock, and seemed closed off, guarding themselves from the pain of my loss, even though I was still there, in flesh and bones and needing their affection like the air that I breathed. It’s a natural mental mechanism that gets triggered in these situations, in everyone involved.

I felt lonelier than ever. I felt like I had nothing more to lose. And that is how I started to simply live. I felt more human than ever. My body truly was my best friend without needing machines and tests to tell me what was happening on the inside. My mind couldn’t handle the multitude of thoughts invoking my paralyzing fear anymore. I squashed them like unpleasant insects. “Whatever happens, happens, so, let’s do what we can with what we have.”
I felt more free than I has ever been. I wanted to laugh at my former minor worries and my major concerns and griefs. I smiled seeing people fussing about, like I had, until not long before. I had learned how to run my own mile. “The Green Mile” is the title of an excellent movie.

Just like Socrates, I began to learn. And by doing this I started living the joy of discovery. Every day mattered. Each new information. Almost all I knew of life was false I felt happy even for the chance of having discovered that. I literally felt that I was growing richer by the day, as each new information was an invaluable treasure that pulled me out of the darkness I had been fumbling in. I was grateful for each day, I smiled much more often and guilelessly. Fear had vanished into thin air.

Socrates had been my true love, my role model, since I had studied philosophy. It wasn’t until then, when I was feeling it on my own skin, that I understood what he had meant by “I know that I know nothing”. The paradox of the mind. It wasn’t until then that I felt and understood why others had thought him crazy, when having received the death penalty, before drinking hemlock, his last wish had been to learn to play the flute. When asked why he wanted to learn that, for what good would it have been, since he was to die, regardless, Socrates answered, cheerfully, as was his manner: “At least I will learn this melody before I die.”

Years have passed since then. This all happened in 2008. In 2014 I became a mother. The priests screwed up their noses at the baptism, and asked us, the parents, if any one of us was a Buddhist, after seeing the name Dharma. A friend of mine had the same happen to her, because she had the guts to name her baby boy Dante. Oh, the inferno and the tragedy!

The real tragedy is that since then, I have seen people dying of cancer, all around me. Strong people, straight as pokers. They expired, melting under your eyes, in mere months. Almost all of those I know who got through it alive didn’t take the “battle” approach with what was transpiring, but consciously or instinctively practiced an acceptance of reality, as it was presented and an acceptance of what they were feeling, letting it flow, manifest without resistance and hostility. And this practice, together with renouncing fear and self-preservation, has brought them to another level of consciousness. Einstein was right, saying that no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.

Throughout the following years up until present, I’ve been closely monitoring all these cases. I’ve analyzed myself and continued learning. I’ve seen how I’m capable of self-manipulation, sabotage, inducing certain so-called “illnesses” unto myself. How one thought is enough to make the “illness” appear or vanish. I began to develop a conscious relationship with my body and I’ve seen it respond. As I was practicing and kept seeing visible, unquestionable results, I gathered there was no philosophy involved – no “wonder”. And what if what we were taught to call “illness” is, in reality, healing? Even if ends in death? Yes, what if? Don’t they say that man is “delivered”, to where there is “no pain or suffering”? I, for one, would rather go without a veil on my head.

But, what if everything we’ve ever learned about illness and death is false? How about not taking for granted all the information we’ve been configured with? But what if…? Why…? Think, people, it’s free! At least try to see that there is something else than all we thought existed. We might be failing to see the wood for the trees. Or, it might be because of the veil on our eyes.

(excerpt from the book „What will you forsake for happiness?” written by Livia Bonarov)cover1

cover2Copyright Logo Livia Bonarov 2016

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Comments on: "Dear cancer, I thank you! Dear people, please, live your life!" (2)

  1. Minunata poveste de viata! Viata insasi e cel mai bun medic uneori. Cum spunea si Lazarev- un mare bioenergetician – ca sa te vindeci; inati trebuie sa accepti, si sa renunti la asteptari.

    Cat despre preoti, am ajuns la concluzia ca uneori religia mai mult ii indeparteaza pe oameni de sufletul lor, decat invers. Totul depinde de calitatea preotului. Eu am intalnit si preoti extraordinari, dar se pare ca nu-s toti asa.
    Cel mai bine e sa ai o cale spirituala, si nu sa te incadrezi strict intr-o religie. Dar iarasi, depinde de fiecare.

    O viata frumoasa iti doresc, o meriti !


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