The last few weeks have been a real challenge for me, I have been at war with my body and unfortunately, I haven’t won, not yet. Physically, it has been hell, I have never experienced pain like I have in the last few weeks, I’ve never been more tired or weak… to put it bluntly I’ve never been so full of cancer. Dealing with the physical and medical side of this monster has taken all I have to give but it’s nothing compared to the emotional and mental stuff. I avoided my blog like a plague out of fear that if I began writing, those emotions and thoughts would all spill out and I’d be forced to deal with them.
The physical fight has taken so much out of me that I haven’t had much left to deal with what’s going on in my head and in my heart, I’ve tried so hard to push everything else in the back of my mind, promising to deal with it later. I needed my strength and all of my energy to fight physically, the emotional side was just going to have to wait. I’ve pushed back the tears and dismissed any thoughts and feelings I believed I couldn’t deal with. Although that’s what I believed I had to do, it was probably one of the biggest mistakes I have ever made. It backfired on me in the most horrible way. Keeping everything locked up in the back of my head in a little box labelled “To-Do… Later” may have been what I’ve needed for a while but the problem is, that little box is only so big and sooner or later it was bound to overflow.
Late yesterday afternoon, that’s exactly what happened. After weeks of dismissing thoughts, denying feelings and pushing back tears, my little box exploded. I’m not going to get into the details of what and how, there’s not much point to that, but I completely lost control. I felt like a teenage girl who had just had her heart-broken for the first time, I know, that doesn’t side so bad but if you’ve ever been a teenage girl and had your heart-broken for the first time, you’ll know that at that point, in that moment, there is nothing worse in the world and the pain is absolutely unbearable. With age, we learn that there are bigger things to worry about and there are things that hurt more but at the time, it is literally hell. The truth is, it’s really my own fault, I should have dealt with a lot of things a lot earlier and I should never have let me guard down, but I did. Needless to say, I will never make that mistake again.
It’s so easy to believe that when you have cancer, you’re somehow exempt from the world’s problems, that somehow, having cancer means that the world owes you a break and that no one will hurt you, stab you in the back or try to break you… why would they, you’re already broken. What kind of person would take advantage of a person suffering with cancer? On paper, that seems like a pretty naïve attitude to have and in reality, it is, but trust me, it’s very, very easy to fall into that mind-set and when someone or something proves you wrong and shows you that regardless of your situation and / or circumstances, people can be hurtful and you are still vulnerable to getting hurt emotionally, when it happens, it hurts like hell and all of a sudden, you realise that, dying or not, you’re human and the people you trust most are the people who can and will cut you the deepest.
I’ve been tested on every level in the last few weeks, my strength, my faith, my patience, my spirit and my mortality… all of these have been pushed to their limits and I have been left lifeless far too many times. It’s been a real wake up call for me. I’ve seen so much of the good that this world has to offer, I’ve been overwhelmed by the love, support and selflessness of the amazing people around me and I’ve been overcome by the actions of people who give so much of themselves to helping others. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen the other side of the coin. I’ve seen and felt the hurt that people can cause. I’ve been betrayed and taken advantage of, I’ve been disappointed and stabbed in the back , I’ve lost respect for the people I once had so much for and most of all I’ve been reminded of why I possess such high walls and why I never, ever let my guard down. I am so unbelievably grateful for the handful of people who have carried me through these few weeks, I have taken strength and support from people and places I never considered and found comfort in the strangest situations. For those you are true, I will never be able to repay what you have done for me and I am eternally grateful. I owe you my life, thank you. There are those people who check in on me every single day without fail, who motivate me and support me. Those people who go out of their way to give me strength and hold me up constantly, those people are the reason I am still here and the reason I am able to fight, as weak as I am. To those who have betrayed me, taken advantage of my weakness and broken my heart, I forgive you, I understand your desire for self fulfilment and I will not hate you for the pain you have caused but I will never forget. Life is too short for hatred and I believe with all of my heart that one must forgive. I do forgive but I have also learnt a valuable lesson.
As a result of all of this, I am weak, I am tired and I am sad. I would love nothing more than to tell you that all is well, that my treatment is working and I’m strong but I’m not, not today. Today all I need is to scream. I need someone to hold me tight and say, “I know you’re not okay and that’s fine.” I need someone to see through the mask and cry with me, I need someone to make it better. Today I am bitter and angry and I don’t want to be. Today, I just want everything to be normal and it’s not.
Medically, I’m afraid there’s still no good news. My body is still not absorbing ANYTHING and the pain is almost unbearable. My body does not react to the strongest pain killers or even sleeping pills and I still have no reaction to food or liquids. Basically, I’m doing cancer cold turkey at the moment. I am weaker than I have ever been and at the moment there is nothing anyone can do about it. In January I will start a very dangerous, very controversial treatment which scares me to death. It’s not something that just any doctor will do and it doesn’t have a very high success rate, in fact, it doesn’t have a very high survival rate but it’s a chance, my only chance and I have to take it. I’m told that it’s not approved by any medical council because it’s too dangerous and far too painful and there is a good chance I won’t survive it but if I do, it will work. It’s an incredibly painful process; apparently chemo and radiation are a day at the spa compared to this. I have to do it. I promised that I would try anything and everything and I would leave no stone unturned. I gave my word to fight with everything I am until the very end and that’s what I’m doing. Cancer may take my life but it will have taken a hell of a fight to do it.
My husband and I decided to wait until January to start this new treatment because we both feel that we need to spend some quality time together first. The risk is extremely high and there are a few things I need to do first. If I don’t make it through, I need to know that we had some time to say goodbye and that I got to do the few little things I wanted to. We’re going on a nice long vacation and I plan to cherish every single moment I have with him. If this is all we have left, it will be worth remembering. I’ve often been asked the question, “how would you spend your last days?” well; I’d rather spend them with Marnewicke than anywhere else on earth. He has given me so much, added so much to my life and I love him more than I could ever describe, and so, if this is the end, I want to end it with him, knowing that we never left a word unsaid and we spent the time together that we need to say goodbye.
The concept of having to say goodbye, not only to my wonderful husband, but to my family and my friends, my business and my life haunts me constantly in ways that I can’t even begin to describe to you and although it saddens me, I know that if I have to go now, it’s because that’s how it’s meant to be. If God wants to call me home now, I will go, with the biggest smile and a spring in my step knowing that I’ve done what he put me here to do and I have fulfilled the purpose that he put in place for me. I know I have so many angels to carry me home and wave me goodbye. In the end, if I have touched one life, if I have played a part in helping a single person to win their fight, whether it be against cancer or anything else, I know then that I have succeeded and I have beaten cancer, maybe not in my own fight but in someone else’s. That’s enough for me. There is a saying, I’m not sure who said it but I believe it is so true and I have lived my life to this”
“You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
If I have managed this, I have lived, I am complete and I am grateful. People may take the credit for this, they may find their limelight, but at the end of the day, no one needs to know, as long as someone somewhere got the help they needed.
I will continue this fight, I will keep walking and no matter who or what tries to stop me, tries to break me, I will keep going. I may get discouraged, I may beg for an end but I will keep going. So listen up cancer, I’m not done! I will fight you each and every step of the way and you will not break my spirit, you will not take my soul! To anyone who thinks that my journey is an opportunity to get your 30 seconds of fame, to anyone who believes that because I am fighting cancer I am weak and you can take me on, BRING IT! I may be weak, I may be ill but I am still Mandy Loubser and I am still a force to be reckoned with. In the end, you will not win. So, to cancer and to anyone who feels the need to use my war with cancer against me… I’m ready for you; I am up for this fight.
Thank you again to those wonderful and amazing people who are standing by me. I know that I am difficult lately; I know it is getting hard to watch but I appreciate you. You keep me going. I love you dearly.
Until we meet again.
One Day At A Time