A Journey Led By Destiny
Chaos.Cat survived bone cancer when she was a child. But it left her trapped in a body which she never felt at ease with. After years that were marked by sadness and frustration, she took the brace decision to have her leg amputated. This, so she thought, would enable her to start a new life, open up new possibilities and finally allow her to be who she always wanted to be. And it did. Read her story - both in the German original and the English translation.
Cured From That Wretched Cancer, But Marked For Life
When I was diagnosed with bone cancer - reasons unknown - at the early age of 12, my path of life hit another dimension. I was still too young to really understand what was going on. So I did what I was told in order to survive. Two years of chemo therapy and plenty of suffering, especially for my parents and my family. During a major surgery my femur and tibia with the tumor were removed and replaced by an endoprosthesis. After that I was classified as cured. Cured from that wretched cancer, but marked for life. Marked by a story that will forever be part of me. And marked by a knee that was stiff after the surgery.
But that wasn‘t the end of a long and often arduous journey. I had just started to live my life. So aged - almost - 14 I went back, back into the world out there. But everything was different. Or was everything the same and it was me who had changed? I grew older and experienced mean classmates, constant teasing, bullying and it all made me harder and more self-confident. All of that was necessary so that I am able to laugh about such people today.
I never managed to identify with my fate, let alone accept it. I hated my leg. It just wasn‘t me. The scar was deep and tough, the joint itself was stiff, immobile, like glued together from the inside. All I wanted was to be a ,normal‘ child again, living a ,normal‘ life. But that wasn‘t going to happen. Something else was planned for me.I was never a normal child, was never like all the others. My life was formed by fate. But it took years until I was able to accept this.
I grew older and wiser and my life was similar to those of others. I learned a trade, made friends, went out partying and dancing and found the love of my life. Wasn‘t my life all that different after all, despite my stiff leg?! I learned to live with my leg, with my fate. But I never really came to terms with it. Year after year I went to see doctors, asked about new methods to mobilise my knee. But in vain.
There was nothing the doctors could do, except for pointing out how well I was managing. Was that the best they could do? Really? Telling my I was managing and should accept things as they were? I couldn‘t! And I wouldn‘t! I had a desire for so much more in my life. I had aimed high, had big plans. Wanted to do things that just weren‘t possible with a stiff leg.I wanted to get more out of life than just managing, than just getting by. I wanted to live my life according to my own ideas.
Long Years Of Soul Searching
Over the years many thoughts crossed my mind. I had moments when I felt depressed. I was utterly sad, despite having everything I needed: Friends, love, a cool job and an incredible family. But that was not enough. I wanted more. When I turned 25 and lost my job once more, because I just wasn‘t happy with it, I started re-thinking my life.
I spent endless hours on the internet. Looked for people that had similar experiences; that were in a similar situation. I looked for ways to be happy again. And then the day came when I finally found people who shared my fate. Thanks to Facebook I finally found my tribe, other survivors who also went through a lot. This was the first time in my life that I actually met other people who had battled with cancer. Many of them were diagnosed with the very same cancer I was had. For me this was just mind-blowing.
Why didn‘t I think about this earlier? I should have searched for these people much sooner. I never had the feeling I was understood. I was never able to talk about my life - until I met these people who had gone through very similar experiences. That was like an epiphany. And it suddenly dawned to me: I wasn‘t alone anymore.
After having talked to many people, I developed new ideas, new wishes. As you know I was never able to befriend my stiff leg or accept my situation. And I finally knew where my journey was taking me. By now I was mature enough to realise what I really wanted. Was mature enough to realise where I belonged and what my destiny was. My fate was not just to survive the cancer and live with a stiff leg. No, that was not my path. My path was to grow, to grow beyond what I thought was possible. And to take a decision that would change my whole live once and for all.
Taking A Decision And Seeing It Through
And that‘s what I did. After many discussions with people in similar situations I knew what I needed to do. Knew what would be the only right and realistic way for me: To have my leg amputated. Initially this thought scared me, but only for a moment. The more I read about it and the more I heard about it from others, the surer I was that that was the way I wanted to take.
So many new possibilities, so many new paths and people, so many new thoughts and feelings. And then? How can I turn this new idea into a reality? How do I explain this decision to the people around me? How will it actually be? Will it hurt? Will things really be alright? Or will I regret this decision? Will I manage to fulfil all my desires with this change? Suddenly there were so many new questions. But then, I was without fear, only full of new hope. Finally I had found a way forward that felt like it was my way. A way that could actually lead to where I had wanted to be all my life - without consciously knowing it.
Supported by my husband and my family who - after many questions and long explanations - always stood firm by my side, we approached the doctors again. And finally they also saw this as a realistic way for me. So my new dream about my life came true. Suddenly so many doors seem to open. All those years I had been waiting for such an opportunity, always hoping, but always looking in the wrong direction. But now my heart was bursting with joy. And there was no way back. My decision was final. And once I have made up my mind, I will see things through to the end - no matter what.
This was my dream, my desire for a new life, something I have waited for for so many years. I was so happy that all my fears just disappeared. It felt as if a sad part of my soul deep inside of me was finally filled with joy and hope again; as if I finally blossomed again. The way I was looking for for so long was finally found. And this time the way was truly my way.
After I had finally convinced everyone that I was serious about this, things could move. Once I made an appointment things began to feel real. In November 2016 I had my leg amputated. Everything went well. I woke up, looked at my new little leg and felt like newly born. Finally I had a body in which I felt at ease. So this was my new life, my new stump. I didn‘t lose anything except for my sadness and my frustrations. I only won; won a beautiful stump, new opportunities, new hope, a new life, new chances.
It‘s been almost a year since the amputation. And my path since then as not always been as planned. But nevertheless I am more than happy. I don‘t want t single second of my life before the amputation back. Except for the on and off phantom pain, I feel great. This has been my true destiny. A hard and at the same time in so many ways easy decision led me to where I always wanted to be. Never had I though that I would take such a decision, to make that move and be happy again.
Be Who You Want To Be
Many of the old doors closed, old friendships died, old habits are forgotten, old wounds have healed. But by closing old doors, new ones open. New true friends, new habits, new temporary pain ... life is full of surprises. And it‘s essential for us to learn to grow. You need to learn to take decisions. You need to learn which people and which things are good for you. Ad which are not. You need to learn to sacrifice in order to be given new things, new hope, new friends a new life.
Only the ones who are willing to take the risk and change will experience the joy of personal growth and true development. Standing still makes you sick. We only have this one life, so let‘s dream, be hopeful, learn to love and embrace change. It‘s not enough to just make it through your life day i day out. Every human being should have the life he or she longs for. Everybody can make it, no matter what life throws at you. No matter how lost you sometimes feel. Make the best out of your life. Only you yourself have the power to make yourself happy. It‘s your life, your responsibility.
Try to look at things from various perspectives. Life is not only back or white. And if sometimes you only wish to be ,normal, see it as a gift that you are not ,normal‘. You were chosen to be so much more than ,normal‘. And not everyone is so lucky.