Hi everyone. I am Yka, and I created this page motivated by some work colleagues that were signing up, as this is a close cause to my heart. The idea was to support my friend Christina and her mum, a warrior that was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 months ago (and fortunately beat it). For me, it just only started there, as my grandfather died due to lung cancer when I was 13, and that changed my whole life. I have never opened up about this, but after 13 days of sweat, I feel like doing it.
My grandfather was my greatest fan. He loved me unconditionally since my mum told her parents she was pregnant. My mum and father splitted when she was pregnant. She was only 20 years old, and it was tought. She thought they would tell her to abort me, but nothing more far away from it. He said "I will raise your child, and she will always have everything she needs". And so he did. He loved me, took care of me and was my greatest supporter. He always told me I could do and be anything I wanted, because I was incredibly clever, happy and gorgeous. He used to say I would marry a man that will love me unconditionally, almost as much as he loved me. He never doubted me, and despite having a lot of cousins, I was his favourite grandchild. And that made me damned happy.
I used to spent 3 months of summer holidays in my village with them, because my mum had to work. It was the best part of the year. Summer, Spain, my friends. I had it all. That summer, 19 years ago, we went twice there as I had a melt down wanting to go back, and he stayed in Madrid. When we finally got back, he asked my grandmother to take him to the hospital as he wasn´t feeling well. He never went to the doctors before, he was always fine and he wouldn't complain about any pain at all.
He got admitted in straight away, and they found that he had lung cancer spreaded across all his body. By this stage, nothing could be done for him. He always thought he had something in his prostate, as he had pain there and trouble with it when he requested to go to the hospital, but my family and doctors agreed in never telling him the real diagnose.
He never made it outside the hospital. I remember him giving me a lot of pocket money there, because "he didnt know when he was going to be out of it". I also remember him crying (first and only time I saw him crying) huging my granny saying "I don't want to die, I don't want to die". I visited him and knew he was sick, but not to full extend. My mum told me he had cancer and that they decided to not tell him, and she told me she didnt want me to visit him after a certain point, to not see the condition he was in, so I could remember him as he was. I can't regret anymore not have fought with her against that; to have been able to say goodbye. I was a teenager, worried about going out with my friends and enjoying with them, and one afternoon meanwhile I was out, my mum called me upset giving me the terrible news.
At first, I couldnt cry, I couldn't believe it. It was my first experience with death.
When I saw him in the funeral, everything became real. I wanted to see his face one last time, and I am glad I did.
Then my worst nightmares started. I used to cry every night, feeling guilty, because they found "a shadow in his lung" on 1987 (last time he went to the doctors) and coincidentally, the year I was born. I blamed myself for it. I also punished myself for not crying straight away, how could I not cry if I loved him so much? Was I so selfish that I didnt care?
Exactly 2 months after he passed away, I was in the hospital requiring an emergency appendicectomy. My appendix was fine according to the surgeon comments to my mum. I have always thought I psychosomatice the illness, because I wanted to die and go with my grandpa. Nothing had sense for me after he left.
My family has never been the most "encouraging and proud" of me, and they always expected "more" from me. It was never enough. I was never enough. Despite for my grandfather. He was my pillar, and I felt lost without him.
I started speaking with him everynight before bed, and decided I wanted to work in a hospital, and cure cancer. I never made being a doctor (I always thought I was not clever enough) so I became a nurse.
I needed help after he passed away when I felt my worse, and fortunately I managed to overcome the darkness I was living in. I was a sad, anxious and depressed person. I didn't smile at all, I wasn't funny anymore (if you know me now, you would not recognize me). My selfsteem has never been the greatest, but I have always work on it and try to raise it.
I still struggle to speak about him, or when somebody says a bad comment about him (he was far far from perfect, full of flaws, but the best father for me).
Now I work with children, and I still feel countertransference when I deal with cancer patients. I can't imagine their and their families suffering. But I feel immensely happy helping them, accompanying them.
Cancer stole me my most valuable part of my life, apart from my mum and grandmother. It brought up all the darkness inside me; but also all the goodness. It made me grow fast, and be mature prematurely.
Now, I say I love you everyday as if it was the last time, meaning it everytime. I express my feelings and myself, and show affection to those that I appreciate around me. I am unable to fake those feelings, as well as I can't limit them. I value every little detail in life and keep them close to my heart. I don't want to miss anything! And I don't want others to miss them either.
For this, I know I am not giving up on this challenge, despite I am the only one doing it all month long. It is not something I can quit. Because of Sweatember, I have reminded myself that I can do anything I set my mind on as a good stubborn person that I am. I feel less tired than previous months doing double the amount of physical activities, and I have almost permanently a smile on my face that I want to spread it to everyone I see. We set our own limits, and beating them and staying commited with ourselves is a reward you need to experience. It is addictive.
There is plenty of resources to help you deal with cancer, or any other illness. But they start with people surrounding you, or even me. You can always count with people, even if they are not who you would expect. But you are not alone, and if it is in my hands, I would be that person there when needed...
Not sure if anyone would read this essay, but it has been therapeutic for me as well as motivational. I want to thank everyone that is donating, or encouraging me when I feel down to keep pushing for it.
Apologizes also for my writting. English is not my first language, and I am pretty sure I made a million mistakes. But I still tried, and I didn't let that stop me either.
Lots of love for you all,