After a long search to find the right products for all the side effects on her skin, Lies decided to do it herself.
In the winter of 2020, my boyfriend felt something in my breast that shouldn’t have been there. Just three weeks prior, my family doctor had examined me and found nothing suspicious. A visit to the radiologist revealed abnormal tissue. But, I was reassured that it was a non-malicious lump. A day later I got a call from my family doctors, they had read the radiologist’s report and found it quite suspicious. So they scheduled a biopsy.
Because of covid and the holiday season, it would take me a while to get results. Finally, on December 28, 2020, I received the news that I had breast cancer.
Later that day I met my oncologist. She asked me some questions: What I did for work, how long I was in a relationship with my boyfriend, what had happened in my past, how I lived my life, … At that point they already knew that I had a hormone-sensitive tumor and I had to stop taking birth control medication right away. Later during this appointment I also met the radiologist, she would be in charge of my radiation therapy, after chemo.
Three days later, I found myself at the hospital, undergoing a lot of tests. The suspense was overwhelming, but the results were in my favor – no metastases were found. This glimmer of hope served as a much-needed anchor during the tumultuous journey ahead.
Three weeks after the diagnosis, I underwent surgery to remove the tumor. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just the tumor; some lymph nodes from my armpit had also been affected. After that, I started IVF treatment. Chemotherapy would have a significant impact on my fertility. The medication and daily injections were overwhelming, and the process of persevering my fertility was both emotional and physically taxing. Sadly, the picking was not so
successful, and another round was not an option. The time was ticking to start the chemotherapy. Even so, it was delayed because I got an infection on the wound in my breast.
When the chemo’s started, the hope of persevering my hair with an ice cap offered me a sense of control. Each session was unique, but overall, they took a toll on my body and spirit. As my hair began to fall out, I wavered on whether to shave it all off. But I gave it another chance and after 2 sessions, the ice cap proved its worth. These were perhaps the six most absurd months of my life. With chemotherapy behind me, it was time for radiation therapy, which came with its own set of challenges. My lungs were too close to the radiation area, leading to delays in my treatment plan. When the sessions finally started, I committed to riding my bike to the hospital every day for 30 days. Demonstrating to myself and the world that I could overcome any obstacle. I was persistent, to the point of stubbornness.
My active treatments came to an end and marked the end of one phase of my journey, and the beginning of another – the ‘year after cancer’. This time was different, mentally incredibly hard and difficult to handle the freedom of remission. But that’s a story for another time.
My cancer journey has been filled with highs and lows, fears and triumphs. But it was my curiosity and persistence that kept me going. I hope my story can serve as an inspiration for anyone facing their own battle – a reminder that, with grit and grace, you can conquer the seemingly unconquerable. You’ve got this.
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