Brazil, Life events

What if I die tomorrow?

26/03/2014
foto by khrawlings
Last weekend, I met a childhood friend, the kind that you used to spent the whole day playing hopscotch and hide and seek with. For 15 years we kept a ‘like’ friendship on Facebook. Now that we were sitting face to face, she told me about her life.

“I had cancer when I was 26 years old. One day, I laid down on my bed and felt a lump in my right breast. I went to the doctor, had surgery and they removed the lump. A biopsy was taken and found that I needed to remove the breast.”

“Do you have silicone?”, I asked.

“No, I have a removal prosthesis, have a look – she pulled her dress to show me how it is and kept telling me more details. “I did more than 50 sessions of chemotherapy. The hair was falling and I shaved my head until be bald. I also gained weight 30 kg, so far I lost 20 kg.”

“And now? Are you healed?”, I wanted to know.

“I’m in metastasis and the cancer has spread to my lungs and axilla. I take medicine. Honestly, its all under control.”

“But when you found out, did the doctor give you a life expectancy?”

“Yes, four months. I survived the statistics and then he gave me five more years. Next year is the last one.”

“What? Do you not freak out? Do you live life like a crazy person? What do you do?”

photo: Bill McChesney

photo: Bill McChesney

“I don’t think too much, actually. I live, you can’t stay the hole day thinking about it. In September, for example, I’m getting married.”

While we were talking, she told me that due to the chemotherapy and the medicine she cannot sunbathe or have children because the premature menopause caused by the treatment. I went back home with her story in my mind and every day, at some point, I wondered: what would I do?

I never had a doctor giving me a number of years, days or hours of life expectancy, but everyday the world gives me examples.

1 – Cláudia da Silva Ferreira was shot during an exchange of gunfire between police from the 9th BPM and drug dealers at Morro da Congonha, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Then she was dragged by a Militar Police car for about 250 meters, her body slamming against the pavement. Claudia died at aged 38, left four kids and worked as a cleaner assistant.

MH3702 – A plane from Malaysian Airlines (MH370) with 239 people disappeared during a flight to Beijing. The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, said the flight would have “finished” in the southern Indian Ocean, without survivors.

In these examples, none of the victims were informed that a fatality would happen in their lives.

Thinking of my friend’s story and the examples that cover the newspapers, I believe that we should respect ourselves and be grateful.

“I have walked this earth for 30 years, and out of gratitude, I want to leave some souvenirs” – Vincent van Gogh

Enough of sayng: tomorrow I will start a diet, tomorrow I get another job, tomorrow I book a doctors appointment, I’ll call tomorrow to apologise. What are you going to do if there isn’t a tomorrow? While many of us cheated ourselves with excuses, few people are conscious of the need to celebrate each day as a new life.

photo: Nick Saltmarsh

photo: Nick Saltmarsh

So, be a better person every day, listen to advice wisely and make good choices. Be thankful for the days you have, whether they are as many as possible.

Ps: Breast cancer is still the kind of illness that kills more women aged 35-54 worldwide. For every 10 women diagnosed with this cancer in Brazil, three die because of the disease, according to the Instituto Nacional de Câncer José Alencar Gomes da Silva, an agency of the Health Ministry.

Thanks to Maythe Gimenez who allowed me to write her story in this post.

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