Introduction to the Medical Family

Two different doctors. My husband and son especially tested me and helped me during my HPV illness… but did having a husband and son who are doctors help me? I have never felt that the fact that they were CA125 Test doctors was decisive.

Living with Doctors: Mixed Experiences

As soon as I found out from a CA125 Ovariant Cancer test what disease was gripping me, I started to live on the Internet. I wanted to know and to inform myself. When I didn’t understand, I asked my husband, son, or vice versa. When the HPV explanations seemed not to coincide, I suspected they wanted to hide something from me, and I got upset.

I went as far as scolding my son, claiming that he had lied to me. He had told me years earlier while preparing for his oncology exam, that before a carcinoma can manifest, it must go through a fair number of steps. Our body has many defences to put in place.

Differing Opinions Within the Family

However, the two doctors diverge regarding therapies, perhaps because my husband graduated in 1975 and my son in 2009.

My husband listens to, tests and discusses all the CA125 therapies I find online. He informs himself about the trials on his behalf and follows the literature on the subject; he has no preconceptions and does not exclude that he could do well with HPV treatment and tests, even if it does not support a randomised controlled trial. He is a possibility unless proven otherwise.

My son – who became a doctor in the EBM era – only considers what (so little!) is scientifically proven.

To my objections about undergoing a third line of chemo, he replied that if Steve Jobs, who died of cancer, had been more prompt and had not waited to do the chemo, trying other treatments first, perhaps he would still be alive.

In any case, a third test for HPV from a doctor who follows me and always agrees with me on what to do: my reference oncologist, whom I have relied on for some time.

The Emotional Impact and a Trip to Jerusalem

Overcoming a bit of fear due to the distance from home and with the oncologist’s approval, providing me with insurance in case something happened to me and a rather large medicine bag, I went to Jerusalem.

We’ve wanted to visit it for a long time!

I accepted my husband’s HPV proposal as part of my “pretending to be tested and to be healthy” strategy. He always maintained that even a trip abroad could be good for me.

In retrospect I have to agree with him, even if uprooting myself from home was a real suffering.

I still have in my eyes the images of many places and many people that struck me.

For the first time in a long time, I forgot my “statistical ruminations” when I was in the crowd at the Western Wall, among many other women absorbed in their prayers: “Who has cancer and knows it?” ” Who has it and doesn’t know it?” ” Who will develop it?”

And I didn’t even wonder which of us would die first.

I still see the image of a young woman praying, reading a booklet, crying, and rocking her body. She was forgetful of everything surrounding her and enraptured and understood in her prayer.

One lesson I have learned from HPV is that we are truly equal, even if we believe the opposite.

Cultural Insights and Reflections in Jerusalem

Muslim women and ultra-Orthodox Jews may believe they are in very different positions. However, they dress similarly, hiding their shapes and hair. I didn’t know that many Jewish women in Mea Shearim, due to a morality that imposes modesty, even shave their hair completely. They use a wig when they leave the house!

I remember the YadVashem memorial, where – in the darkness – the children who died in the Nazi concentration camps are remembered. Why them? What had innocent beings done to deserve such human wickedness?

In Jerusalem and Yad Vashem, in particular, I found no answers. However, I encountered more questions and perhaps a great CA125 awareness test. I no longer have to ask myself obsessive questions about HPV. I must accept the moments of darkness and the fact that “we live shrouded in mystery,” as my mother-in-law said.

To understand pain, one can use an image from Saint Augustine, like trying to make a hole in the sand and thinking you can fit the ocean in it.

I will not remain for seed!

Family Stories: Aunt Tatta and Grandma Rosa

Once she was over 80, Aunt Tatta began feeling slightly off, telling everyone she no longer felt like herself. Whenever I complained about her readiness to die, she always replied that she “wouldn’t remain there for seed.” This caused me deep pain at the thought of losing her as a reference point in my life.

Aunt Tatta was the fourth daughter of my paternal grandparents, 11 years older than my father. As a girl, she had acted somewhat as a mother to him. When I was born, I immediately became her favourite granddaughter.

Among the oldest memories of my childhood are the long hours we spent together ironing. She would iron, and for fun, she pretended to buy the items to be ironed from me as if we were in a haberdashery. It took us an entire evening to iron, and her work didn’t go very quickly. However, I had a lot of fun and didn’t feel any nostalgia for my parents, who had gone to the cinema and left me in her custody.

Aunt Tatta’s Professional Life and Personal Choices

The aunt had been an expert seamstress. She had learned to sew in a prestigious tailor’s shop in Genoa and then tried to start her own business. However, the war and the need to look after two elderly parents had interrupted her work, and since then, she had rarely wanted to hold a needle in my hand.

In the family, she was considered a woman made somewhat in her way, with a somewhat shrewish character, worthy of a spinster like she was. Which moreover, she boasted about being Tested for CA125 and HPV. If someone said to her “Madam”, she quickly corrected “please miss”. Perhaps only I could overwhelm her with my childish cuddles, and only with me did she indulge in affectionate outpourings.

She told me her secret one day: “I had a boyfriend who came to the house. We were supposed to get married. But I left him before the wedding because I didn’t like getting married.” Other family members said she dumped her lover because, on her birthday, he had given gifts to her sisters as well. This annoyed and made her jealous to the point of breaking off the relationship.

A Final Goodbye: Aunt Tatta’s Last Days

As a girl, I had tried to convince her to make a deal and be tested for HPV: the first of us to die from Ovarian CA125 Cancer would take a test and would come back to tell the survivor what the afterlife was like. Since she was 50 years older than me, she would be the one to come and tell me about the “after.” Aunt Tatta, who rarely denied me anything, had been adamant: she would never do such a thing. She remembered an episode she read in The Life of John Bosco. In it, the future saint had made the same pact with a seminarian friend.

Just before she left us, I went to see her. She had a bedroom facing west, and she had brought me here because the sun that she saw from her room could not be seen – in her words – anywhere else. Accustomed to her oddities, I followed her. We had waited together for her sunset, immersed in intense chatter, even if a little disjointed on her part. The affection that united us made us go beyond words: somehow, I always understood what she wanted to say to me. I spoke to her normally, sure that she understood.

At a certain point, she pointed out the sun beginning to set. From that moment, we remained contemplating without uttering a syllable, neither she nor I. We were enraptured by a spectacle I had never seen so splendid and engaging before or since. Maybe we said goodbye that day. We often find ourselves together again to admire another sunset as beautiful as our last goodbye.

Enduring Wisdom from Grandma Rosa

I often dream of my grandmother Rosa, a strong and sweet woman at the same time. Perhaps she sensed that I didn’t have any HPV ideas and certainly not her certainty about life or her courage for CA125 Tests for ovarian-type cancer. Sooner or later, it happens to everyone who hears a knock on our door.

I tried to tell how it happened to me, and – despite everything – I am here, living my today and my fragile and tenacious life.

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