April 15, 2021

when the cancer becomes a chronic disease

when the cancer becomes a chronic disease

In cancer there are no winners or losers. No one is victorious of a disease that shakes you and puts your life upside down. Metaphors that compare it with a battle or just talk about winners and losers are not right. Because all the people with the wand of bad luck fight, and cling with nails and teeth to life. What we can talk about is cancer survivors. In Spain it is estimated that there are 1.6 million people who have been able to get rid of an oncological pathology. Begoña Barragán is one of them, although it is hard to say. He always points out that he is not cured, but that current techniques can not detect his illness. And that is precisely what allows him to make normal life. His was a lymphoma that he did not want to see despite "he was suffering all the symptoms of a book." Testing, waiting, uncertainty. Unfortunately, the process until the diagnosis is well known. Distressing. And, when the news finally arrives, that "click" happens that orders the ideas and emphasizes one: I'm not eternal. "In those moments, everything happens to your mind. Death is the first ghost, "he acknowledges. Before her there are no heroes or heroines. It matches us. «Nobody is stronger than anyone. You have to assume it ».

In October 2001, with 41 years and three children in full age of the turkey, tried to keep the same pace as before, but it was almost impossible. Her husband had to control the awakening of his adolescence, keep the family business in order and take charge of the house alone. «Family roles change: I went from being the mother and the wife to the caretaker». That is why, after a year and a half of treatment, doctors told him that his cancer had remitted, it was difficult for him to recover his routine. In the face of the "tironía of positivism" that is often imposed on cancer patients, this surviving woman is emphatic: "Cancer is a terrible experience that is never worthwhile. Now, when you have no choice but to face it, you acquire new mechanisms to adapt to a new "I" ». After 16 years free of the disease, she feels especially fortunate, but she does not forget so many others who do not survive: "Therefore, we must be very respectful of the message we want to send."

When someone gets the title of cancer survivor as a child, as happened to Alejandro Abajo, he becomes an adult with more vital learning than many grandparents. At the age of 11, he was diagnosed with a Hodgkin lymphoma that made him an "extraterrestrial" in the eyes of his classmates. The seven months of chemo left many physical sequels, the most visible hair loss. But also psychics: not only had to deal with the disease, but also to survive the schoolyard. "I've always felt like a strange child. Everyone looked at me, it was not the same as the rest ». Perhaps, what he has most criticized the "bicha" is that he stole his childhood, although he insisted on retaining it. His great obsession, in that sense, has always been "being normal" and being able to play football like the rest of his friends did. That's why he never de-selected from the team and never gave up what made him happy. "Although it was missing a few times," he jokes.

The relapse he suffered after the first chemo treatment left him devastated. For two years, he had to receive sessions of up to twelve hours that, fortunately, worked. In 2008, he was assured that the cancer had subsided and he has already carried more than nine without him. However, like the rest of the survivors, he prefers to remain cautious: "I know that I am going to be a sick person for a lifetime and, although it seems hard to say this, cancer has shaped my personality. I am the person that I am thanks to him ». Beyond that, the only good thing he brings out is all that time he has spent with his loved ones: "All the hours I spent with my mother in the hospital united us a lot."

In Spain, 50% of cancer patients live more than five years. Marisol has more than ten, so she can speak from the perspective of a survivor, but also from the completely opposite plane. When a lump in her chest was detected and she was diagnosed as malignant, she could not devote much time to herself. Her husband was suffering at the time an advanced colon cancer, so she was forced to relativize what was happening to her. His was a tumor of breast of 0,7 centimeters that remitted with two surgeries, four sessions of chemo and 30 of radio. But her husband's did not respond to any therapy and he died. «It was a hard stage. I remember that I was in the final stage of my treatment and we were going to the hospital together to receive the treatment. "

Marisol had no margin for the emotional consequences of cancer to make a dent. Her 17-year-old daughter did not understand why cancer was hitting her family again. So this courage mother put the world on her head so as not to sink: she went back to work, became a volunteer of the Spanish Group of Cancer Patients and decided to live without fear. «I do not plan to a year seen. I know that at first I am healed, although those of us who have been through this always have the sword of Damocles behind us. " Since then, his recipe is to live busy and prioritize what is truly important: "I do not care if the house is shiny or shining," he laughs. «Now I prefer to devote all my time to my loved ones».


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