Today we will tell the story of Patrizia, who in the moment that was supposed to be the most beautiful and serene of her life, had to fight against a greater evil, the disease.
“Since then I carry silently in my heart, the annoyance in listening to those who waste their days complaining about every pebble they meet on the street, who don’t understand the nature of the problems, the real ones, who when unwelcome and unexpected occur, teach you that life is only one and every day should be lived as if it were the last”.
Enjoy your reading. 🙂
Autumn with its freshness, its bright colors and its warm perfumes were pervading me when one afternoon I was led to a medical examination that worried me: my husband and I had been looking for a child for a year and a half, but nothing was happening, and when you are young, just married, with your life ahead, eighteen months seem like an infinite time. We went together, he and I, trying to fend off the anxiety of being told that we would be banned from the joy of becoming parents in our life, forever.
The fear of a sad sentence that decreed our inability to become father and mother. On the couch during the ultrasound, the verdict was different. I was pregnant. I was pregnant right then. How had I not noticed? A feeling of inadequacy pervaded us, but it was soon overwhelmed and flooded with the happiness, joy and serenity that went on the following months. I was fine, proud of my belly, I continued to do my activities: work in the office, household chores, Sunday lunches. I was fine. I was happy. Towards the sixth month, a bit of a dry and annoying cough began. Avoiding taking drugs, it did not pass. But in pregnancy it is normal. Towards the seventh month, however, I began to gasp as I walked and when I spoke it happened that my breath broke, leaving a sentence a bit in the air, as if suspended. But in pregnancy it is normal. I felt good, full of that life growing inside of me. It was around the eighth month that I noticed a swelling in the center of the throat, between the collarbones. For the sake of it, I showed it to my gynecologist. It’s normal in pregnancy, right? He sends me to an endocrinologist, who in turn immediately prescribes a neck ultrasound and a needle aspiration.
My husband had left that morning to go to a congress in Korea and my mother accompanied me: she came out of the doctor’s office upset and I felt sorry for her, imagining that it had impressed her to see a needle entering my throat. But she already knew. The doctor had given her a strange nod, he understood everything. From that moment I, for my family, became a non-thinking being, unable to decide, they took my life in their hands.
And I looked at them without understanding. My father, with the report of the aspirated needle, went to our general practitioner and asked for an explanation: what was Lymphoma? How was it possible that a young woman, healthy, who had always lived a healthy life without excess, pregnant in the eighth month, had lymphoma? But above all, how was it possible that this thing was happening to her daughter?
They called my husband and brought him back from Korea without even giving him a chance to recover from jet lag. My mother, with a smile on her face and the anguish that peeked out from her green eyes, ironed the tiny clothes she had just bought for that life that was being born, in spite of everything.
They agreed with my gynecologist to hospitalize me for further investigation and, if necessary, for childbirth.
My husband arrived at the hospital after two days, around midnight, distraught, with a long beard and suitcase in his hand, he hadn’t even been home and the only thing I remember was the moment he left, because he was crying: I felt sorry for him, not for me, for him, tired and worried, like all the people around me at that moment. After a week I was discharged with a precise diagnosis: Hodgkin‘s lymphoma, nodular sclerosis.
On June 15 we went to consult with a professor in Rome, who took my hands in his and told me that everything would be fine, I would have 12 chemotherapies and certainly some radiotherapy, but then the nightmare would be over.
Federica was born on June 18, three weeks before schedule, she had a lot of black hair, she was crying and looking at me.
On June 19 with two pills they sent my milk away and we started therapy.
On July 5th, the first of six chemotherapy cycles began, which apart from severe heartburn never gave me too much trouble. I went to Rome every two weeks, if the white blood cells allowed, to make an infusion and I brought a book to read in whose pages I had a picture of my daughter, consumed by all the time I was looking at her.
When I came back home I was tired, nervous, my arm in which the drip was inserted hurt and I felt guilty if I could not hold my baby. I have spent moments in which I felt sorry for myself, I trembled every time my mother brought Federica in front of my photographs and told her: “See your mom? How beautiful she is!” because I thought that maybe in a short time only those photos would remain of me.
I cried every time Federica ran her hand over my hair and the locks of them stuck to her fingers. I imagined that poor little girl how much happier she could have been with a happier mom. I laughed and cried over people’s reactions to the announcement of my illness: those who didn’t hold back their tears, those who never showed up, those who told me I was lucky, could have been worse.
My pregnancy lasted nine months and my therapies lasted nine months.
On Federica‘s first birthday, all the tests were clean, wonderfully clean, not even an inflammation of the teeth, nothing. It healed after 10 years of remission. I was healed that day.
Since then I carry silently in my heart, the annoyance in listening to those who spend their days complaining about every pebble they meet on their path, who do not understand the nature of the problems, the real ones, which when unwelcome and unexpected occur, teach you that life is one and every day should be lived as if it were the last.
Illness upsets you, annihilates you, but when it passes it tears the veil that obscures the essence of things and of life itself. After Federica I had two other girls: Flavia and Matilde.
During the long sleepless nights, while I kept them attached to me, I cried with rage, because such a beautiful, tender, intimate moment had not been granted to little Federica.
But she doesn‘t care: she still has her mom to hug.
If you want to tell your story and share it, you can contact me by email or in response to this post.