Bon dia! I’m currently in the crowded, touristic city of Barcelona. Today is Black Friday, so we want to go shopping. I will meet Tobias in the city center after he finishes work. One problem is that I should take the subway by myself to get there.
I used to travel alone, I never worried about taking public transport in foreign places, or about getting lost. But since I am sick from brainstem cancer, which left me struggling with my balance, my movement and double vision, somehow dealing alone with so many stairs in the Barcelona metro system become difficult.
This brings me back to the memories last year:
::: STOP LETTING FEAR BLOCK US
Around this time last year, I went out to the city center of Karlsruhe, my home town. After my biopsy, this was the first time I went, alone without stroller. Tobias was going to meet me there for lunch from office.
I left home with anxiety. I managed to walk slowly (like a sloth) for 300 meters to the tram stop. It wasn’t easy. I had to concentrate on my balance and focus on not falling down, and my double vision made it even more difficult.
I managed to get on the tram, it was crowded inside, but I found a seat not far from the door.
After 10 minutes, just before arriving at my destination, I stood up, carefully reaching for a metal bar in the metro, holding on it and waiting to arrive at my destination. Suddenly the tram made was breaking hard. My grip was weak, I fell. It felt like I was thrown on the floor. I was shocked.
Other passengers were surprised too. A gentleman immediately helped me stand up. I had difficulties getting up by myself. My leg muscles were weak, my left arm was in tingling pain and had no power. I shouldn’t have held this metal bar with my left hand.
I managed to step out the tram, I felt the crowd staring at me. Still in shock, I immediately walked to the side, standing and leaning to the wall of a shop. I called Tobias, and cried.
Tobias came and checked if I was ok. I only had light bruises on my legs. But it punched harder emotionally. I said “I don’t want to travel alone, no more going by tram by myself. I can’t”. I am scared.
“I’m proud of you! You made it! Travel again alone and without stroller! Don’t let this accident stop you of becoming independent again”, said Tobias.
Together we took the tram then for two more stops to get to a restaurant.
I often felt afraid in my life. In the past 1.5 years, my fear was mostly related to cancer. I lost my hair to being almost bald from the chemotherapy. My overall appearance changed from having to take high cortisones doses during my radiation treatment. I was afraid of what others were thinking of me. I couldn’t move after my biopsy, couldn’t swallow. I was afraid of my present and my future.
Being as experience with fear as I am, I learned something: fear has no power.
I learned that no matter how difficult, I can push past my anxiety and keep moving forward. I can choose to stay stuck in my miserable situation or I can choose to stop letting fear block me. So I acknowledge my fear, to ride its wave. And finally to live fearless.
My key to live fearless is courage. Courage is not about suppressing my feelings of being afraid and reaching my goal, but it’s about to get back on my feet no matter how many times I fail or I feel afraid.
::: OVERCOME THE DEFAULT OBSTACLES
When I was home after 2 months in the hospital. I depended on a lift to get in and out of the shower. I had an elevated toilet seat, had a wheelchair and could only walk with my rollator. I was fully dependent.
For months I had physiotherapy, I made progress with my movements, yet I was afraid to let go of these helping equipments. With them, I felt safer and in control.
Tobias often asked me to get rid these equipments and I declined. I was not sure I could live without it. One day, Tobias insisted to put the shower lift and the wheelchair in the cellar. and said “I know you can do it, don’t be afraid”. I let them go.
I’m thankful he did that. Otherwise I wouldn’t be so happy now. I could walk, cook, write, I went to language school, I had girls nights out, I traveled without fear, and much more. I felt no longer dependent.
I learned that it was me myself that hindered my progress. Just like I let go things that hold me back moving on, we should let go things in us that hold us back from blooming. For example: being lazy, not having self control, being selfish, live in fear, or with lies, or depending on validation from others, low self esteem, and much more.
::: FAITH OVERCOMING FEAR
don’t trade your freedom with your fear,
don’t trade your promise with your present difficult situation,
don’t trade your trust in God because of unanswered prayer or healing that has not yet come, a worsening financial issues, losing a job, etc.
Even in the darkest moments, don’t shut down your hearts, but remain hopeful; don’t be afraid and discouraged, but be strong and courageous; knowing that God is there for us, and remember to say thank you.
I believe when we live by faith, and not let fear rule our life, we can live a fulfilling, peaceful and joyful life.
“When I am afraid, I put my TRUST in you.” Psalm 56:3 NIV
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is FOR us, WHO can be against us?” Romans 8:31 NIV
“No, in all these things we are more than CONQUERORS through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the PRESENT nor the FUTURE, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39 NIV
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably MORE than all we ASK or imagine, according to his power that is at work WITHIN us,” Ephesians 3:20 NIV
::: UPDATE ABOUT ME
18 Months Post Biopsy.
Brainstem Midline Pontine Glioblastoma(DIPG) Grade 4.
No major changes of my symptoms. I have regular fits of laughter. I believe it is because of my tumour. Tobias thinks it is because I am a happy person who has a happy life. We will ask our oncologist next time we see her.
Last time I met my oncologist, we agreed to continue chemotherapy and not take a break. Until March next year, then we will discuss again about having a pause.
On upcoming 4 December, I will have MRT.
Please keeping me in your prayers 🙏
Thanks a lot 😘