A “Berliner from ’45” in 2011

My disease seemed to be in remission, and I was back to making some timid programs, always short-term, even going so far as to think that, who knows, some people will recover from cancer, too. My CA125 at each check-up went up slightly, gradually, but it went up. The oncologist said I shouldn’t focus on that number, but I thought it didn’t mean anything good. My students managed to keep me from thinking about my HPV Test troubles. Teaching involves many problems and requires a commitment of energy. This requires total involvement.

Retreating to Nature for Recovery:

After the state exams, my husband and I went to the mountains. And the Alps also to breathe pure air and test my legs. I feel good, I haven’t taken medicine for a few months now, I have an appetite and… I try not to surf the internet too much to look for statistics on ovarian cancer or CA125, to want to understand and know the expectations. A truce. Somewhere, I read that, during the Second World War, the Allied bombings of Berlin occurred every five hours. People adjusted to making those five hours work, not dwelling on the possibility of death. Life had to continue, and no delay to work was permitted. I remember the end of the article: “And the Philharmonic played as if nothing had happened.” I, too, had to pretend to be a Berliner from those years.

The Challenge of Living with Death’s Presence:

It is not easy to learn to live with death in times when it has become increasingly difficult to discuss cancer and the importance of CA125 levels. Talking about it almost seems taboo, as if it were something to be hidden. We forget that it cannot be inappropriate to discuss something that will inevitably end the life of anyone born, especially something like cancer and how CA125 levels can be a predictor of Ovarian level cancer. I had to imitate the Berliners or try to be “one of them.” I would think now and then about the disease, about that monster who had shown up and then never showed any more signs of himself. In those five hours, I would go about my normal life. I thought about things to do and the people I met, trying to deviate as little as possible from normal HPV life.