My life without you
女３０才 未婚 子宮摘出
It came as a shock.
I was told I had cervical cancer.
I was 30 years old and single, and about to lose my womb.
I was much healthier and stronger than most other girls.
How could this be happening to you?
最後まで残された病院待合室 ガンの告知を受けた ３０年間で一番の激震な日だった
病院を出たとともに涙が止まらなかった。これって現実？パニックになる。手には確かに病理の結果、私の名前。その日は家には帰れなかった。I will never forget that day of October 10th 2003,the day I was told I had cancer.I was the last patient left in the hospital waiting room.Maybe the doctor needed time to think about how he would break the news to me because I was so young.It was the darkest day of my life.When the doctor told me, I stayed calm and accepted the unimaginable reality of it.Many cancer patients say that the moment they're told they have cancer they stay calm,as if they cannot believe this is happening to them. It can only happen to others.What should I do? Should I quit my job? Will I have to spend time in the hospital? In desperation, I asked stupid questions.What? Did you say you have to remove everything? My womb, ovaries, and lymph nodes?I might even need chemotherapy.Doctor answered with negative answer.Those answers were very opposite with my questions. They were all negative at all.Upon leaving the hospital, I couldn't stop crying.Was this really happening to me? Or was it just a bad dream?But there, on the medical certificate, was my name.
I couldn't bear to go home that night.
I kept tossing and turning.
I couldn't sleep at all.
My head was spinning with horror.
Will I never be able to have a baby?
Am I going to die?
These thoughts invaded my mind, more than the cancer was invading my body.
It was the longest night of my life.
How would I tell my parents?
I couldn't bear to break the news to them.
They didn't know that I'd been to the hospital many times in the past few weeks.
It took me 3 days before I could muster the courage to tell them.
But my parents did what parents should do best: love their child.
As soon as I told them, their shock immediately turned to positive determination.
I would fight this cancer and they would support me all the way.
And it was the day of the local festival my father looked forward to be all year.
Four days after I found out I had cancer,
I came upon a large ad in the newspaper for a movie called "My Life without Me"
about a cancer patient who survived her ordeal.
The ad called on people to write down and submit 10 things they'd want to do if they found out they had cancer and could die.
I couldn't get myself to write anything. The reality of my condition was too
I could only think that cancer equaled death.
It was the most frightening time of my life.
Cancer is cancer.
And nothing, big or small, can change the fact that I have it.
Dismay. A sinking feeling. Hopelessness.
No healthy person can imagine what it's like to have cancer.
Only a cancer patient knows that.
My mind is so unsettled, churning like a typhoon.
Life is twists and turn…
Like setting off to cross the desert on foot
facing almost certain death,
I begin my search for second opinions, going from for doctor to doctor, from hospital to hospital.
With each consultation, I get the same answers.
Hysterectomy, oophorectomy, chemotherapy, ASAP.
The doctors could see the cancer with their naked eye.
I settled on a doctor and hospital I felt I could trust.
The first step would be an operation to remove my little part of cervix.
The doctor said if the cancer had not spread, I could keep my womb and would not need another operation.
But my doctor, though wanting to be positive, was cautious and said it would not be an easy call.
My self portrait
My doctor was right. It wasn't an easy call.
Cancer cells could have spread to my womb. It would have to come out.
I have to remove my womb.
Most cancer patients will tell you that waiting for the operation feels like forever.
Nothing to do but wait… and think.
Here, I turned 31 years old.
My birthday came… and went.
A moaning voice
I will always remember the sound of the shower washing my tears away.
The sound of the rushing water deadens my moans.
To confront the unforgiving reality, I put on a stoic face.
But behind the mask my tears flow nightly.
There is something I want to hide from the world.
Others should never see my tears.
２００４年元旦 Happy New Year
New year 2004
Then, New Years came…and went.
My astrological chart says 2004 is my critical year,
the most important year of my life.
But I was hoping for a good year, the best year of my life.
How many more days do I have left living with my womb?
How many more days before my operation?
The New Year holiday went by as slowly as a lingering storm.
I always buy oversize clothes.
Though they're more expensive, my excuse is that I won't have to buy a new wardrobe if ever I got pregnant.
But getting pregnant is not an option anymore.
That dream has died.
Two days before I was hospitalized, I had a strange dream.Or was it a glimmer of hope hidden deep in the depths of my heart.
I couldn't give it up in my mind.
I dreamt I gave birth to a baby child.
It was a boy and I had named him Sho, meaning "life, live" in English. Honestly I wanted to have a baby.
How real was this figment of my imagination?
I was not myself at the time.
In a moment of folly, I asked my ex boyfriend, "if we were still together, would you have a baby with me?"
But time was running out and the dilemma was obvious.
Not being able to bear a child is not easy to accept for a woman.
If you are an artist or if you like to make something,
Making a child is the most creative thing than any other things.
I have a creative mind.
Someone I truly respect once told me that if I really wanted to be creative that I should make a child. It would be the most creative thing I could ever do.
Her words echoed in my mind. Faced with my impending reality,
The words she said echord in my mind.
If there was someone who I could depend on,
putting everything on the line and risking it all for a mere chance to conceive would not have been an issue.
Despite living a life of chance, the wager was of too extreme. I faltered...
"All in" was not an option.
If that "someone" was there for me... the decision would have been made in a heartbeat.
There are two ways, whether I keep my womb with cancer or lose my womb.
It is a gamble of my life.
Which way would you choose if you were me?
I was faced with a difficult choice to make.
Either I kept my womb giving me a chance to have a baby one day but risk the spread of cancer and loose that chance and my life, or save my life but loose my womb and the chance to ever have a child.
It is the greatest gamble of my life so far.
How would you choose if you were me?
A couple of days before the operation, I asked my surgeon what were the chances of keeping my womb.
This was my last chance to weight the odds.
Because I am 31years old woman who don't get marriage and no baby yet.
I still have a life ahead of me. I could still find a husband and raise a family.
For one last time, I asked the doctor for her counsel.
In the examination room full of nurses and doctors, I cried in despair.Someone passed me a tissue box.I had to save my life… above all.
And I gave in.
Hidden behind a curtain.
Someone is sobbing.
I know. I would hide too.
At night,only the silent sound of my tears falling from my eyes.
My mind was finally set.
The clouds in my head dissipated.
I bathed and shaved, the final preparations for the operation.
I felt like I was on death row, the last moments before the end.
Nonetheless, I kept taking pictures.
At least this would prove to myself or to anyone later that this was my reality.
I took one last picture of myself… whole.
It was the saddest picture of me, but it was also the best picture me.
All of me. Just as I am. Nothing to hide. Nothing to be ashamed of.
There is pain, sadness, emptiness. All that ever matters is in this picture. Who was this "me" who took this picture? What wells up into the mind when you're in the final hour?
After my bath, I drank the two liters of laxative I was given.
I'm feeling nervous.
When will I have my next meal?
I imagine my next trip, looking at a small globe of the world I was given as a get-well gift.
I love to travel. I try to be positive. Look ahead, Look ahead.
Tomorrow will be your second birthday.
My doctor does her best to cheer me up.
Tomorrow, I will be reborn.
２００４. １.２０朝 生まれ変わる朝
A ray of hope
Morning light from my window the day of my surgery.
It is a beautiful reflection.
It brings a glimmer of hope.
The sunlight greets me and cheers me up.
It's soft and tender rays sooth my anxiety giving me strength to face the last day of my life as I have known it.
It reassures me. It gives me faith.
It was the 20th of January, the day I will be reborn.
My 2nd birthday.
まな板の上の鯉 手術直前、意外と余裕そうな顔 ストレッチャーに寝かされる 肩に筋肉注射、うとうとが始まる 朦朧とした意識の中 なんとも言えない気持ち ごめんね。ありがとう。がんばってくるよ。 そんなのより心の奥はもっと複雑な心境で親に何も言えない。泣きたいけど泣けない。ただここは凛として親に心配かけないようにすること。でもそれすらも考えられない時間 一刻と時は過ぎる 手術室に呼ばれるのが怖い 私の子宮といられるのもあと少し 今までの人生で１番酷な時間だった。Moments before I was taken to the operating theatre, I was lying on a skinny stretcher.I seemed to be perfectly relaxed.The nurse administered a tranquilizer by intravenous injection. Immediately, I felt groggy. In this semi-slumber state, I felt confused."I'm sorry..Thank you! I'll do my best!"Those are the words I wanted to tell my parents who'd been by my side throughout this ordeal.I was sorry for having to loose my womb after they'd given me a healthy body from the day I was born.I was emotionally troubled. I was loosing control.Time stops momentarily as I fell into the abyss of my empty soul.I didn't want to hear my named called when my turn came to be taken to the operating room.Only moments left before I'm not whole anymore.
If I tried to utter a single word, nothing but tears would come out.
Something would break.
I was barely holding on to reality… only by a thread.
Not a word.
Time stood still. I waited no more.
ワタシ ユメノナカ ナニ ユメミル
Deep deep sleep. Was I dead? Was I reborn? Was I dreaming? I had no conscience.
From somewhere, far away,
I could hear a voice calling my name.
I was waking up from the anesthesia
There were my father and mother.
Slowly I realized it was all over.
I couldn't move.
Not one bit.
I fell in and out of sleep with a 39-dgree temperature, a reaction to the surgery.
My body felt heavy.
Would it be morning soon?
I kept waking up every 10 minutes.
I could hear the humming and beeping of the monitors wired to my body.
Was morning ever going to come?
To get up.
Any actions in hospital are our big duties.
To brush my teeth
To comb my hair
Little things we do without a thought suddenly were major chores.
But the toughest thing to do was to end the day without incident with a smile.
The doctor had me walking a little the day after the surgery.
It was crazy torture.
Only a couple of days ago, the walk from my room to the nurses' station took only a few seconds. Now, it takes forever.
Simply standing up was just painful.
Five days after my surgery, friends came to visit and cheered me up.
I was excited to see them and sprung back to life.
Then, I was struck with anemia.
I looked as pale as a character in a comic strip.
２ bullets from my belly
Two bullet holes in my belly.
They removed lymph nodes during the operation.
Draining tubes were installed for the excess lymph.
I looked like a cyborg.
For days, I walked around with these tubes sticking out of me.
自尿が出ず毎日計尿する日々 膀胱はパンパンで痛いほど出したいのに 出ない現実を突きつけられる
Measuring my pee.
The surgery has damaged nerves that connected my womb and bladder.I was sore.
It's common I'm told, after such an operation.It hurt to pee. Terribly. But I had to measure my urine levels daily. My bladder was swollen. I wanted to pee to relieve the pressure, but I couldn't on my own.The nurses had to insert a urethral catheter five times a day.I'd wake up in the middle of night, wanting to pee but not being able to. Not even a drop. It was so painful.Then I figured out how to pee by pushing on my belly with my hands.I was sad and disappointed at how my body had changed since the surgery.This was only one of many ways in which my body has changed.
Dear god, I pray.
When we're sick, we pray to god every day.
We need god.
We're weak. We want to depend on all gods in any religions on Earth.
I was sad and lonely.
I wrote these words down and repeated them to myself over and over again.
I felt uprooted,ungrounded… an emotional rollercoaster.
What if I was pregnant?
I'd want to take nude photos of my pregnant self, as I did of friends of mine when they were pregnant.
I'd take a photo of me with my baby and my mother, all of us nude.
Hello, My Womb
It looked at once grotesque and beautiful.
It looked more like a split grapefruit.
But where was the cancer, I wondered as I stared at it?
Some think it's strange to want to see one's diseased womb.
But it was my decision.
Unfortunately, it could not be of any use to me anymore.
But she had been with me faithfully for 30 years.
Now, I feel different from everyone else.
My Crying Heart
Up on the hospital roof
I heard someone playing the piano
The playing wasn't so good… lots of mistakes
But it was a very beautiful and soft sound
I started crying
The light and tender sound echoed in my heart
On the rooftop, I flied my tiny little kite again and again
Like a bird held back by a string
It's too early to say, but I know everything will be all right.
Try to stay positive. I tell myself.
Just wait a while and all this will pass
The string will disappear and like the bird
I'll fly free
Believe it. That day is coming.
At sunset the day before I leave the hospital.
A tall smoke stack rises high into the sky.
What will happen to me from tomorrow?
The chimney reminds me that from tomorrow,
I'll be stepping back down into the world.
Out of prison!
Out of prison.
The day I left the hospital, I felt like I was returning from a long trip to nowhere.
But I did travel… many leagues… in my mind and soul.
It was a trip I have ever experienced in my life.
For a while
A time to rest
We went our separate ways
Because of the abundance of support he offered, I was always able to confide in him.
Without him, the grass would never have never appeared green again.
I'm grateful that we were able endure it till the end.
Living in solitude is no longer tough.
I'll be able to find the light at the end of the tunnel.
It's cherry blossom season.
I wore high-healed shoes for the first time in half a year.
I was happy to feel my muscles aching from being unaccustomed to the shoes.
I had longed so much for this spring.
Lymph waters swished and swirled in my feet.
My skin tingled and stung,
like after a bad sunburn.
Edema, we have to learn to be friends from now on.
We're going to be together for a long time.
You might not get to see the cherry blossoms next year.
It is said you come alive in the spring.
Spring is a special season.
A man with lung cancer I often spoke with up on the roof said
he might not live to see the cherry blossoms in the spring.
I told him that they'd be even more beautiful seen from wherever he would be.
Tragedy can be a gift sometimes
Tragedy can sometimes be a blessing in disguise.
I was discovering a different side of myself.
I experienced a lot of emotion during this trial.
I met a lot of interesting, nice people too.
After all, I'm still alive.
I feel that I am still alive.
My life without you.
My mind is fickle.
Since I lost you.
I wanted to be with you a little longer, but I had no choice.
I have to go on without you.
Sometimes, life is unforgiving.
But I want to believe l can be happy even without you.