ITW n°36: Delphine (Deedee) - ex K fighter.
The bubbly Delphine "30 years and counting" tells us about her fight against Hodgkin's disease, which she fought at the age of 17 and has now been in remission for.... 17 years!! yeah!
Delphine is above all today, a blogger, of the fantastic blog ((Good) addresses, fashion, beauty and even a hint of culture, because " cancer is behind" her, "I beat it, thank you very much, next" ;)): Deedee's blog ! To discover very quickly ;) !
it's yours ;)
Let's get started:
Who are you ?
First name: Delphine
Age: 30 and counting
Where do you live: Paris
Why do you agree to share your story today?
Cancer is full of so many unknowns, I believe it is important to be able to share, to be reassured, in addition to understanding. Just as much as it is to see that we can get through it!
What are your qualities (in a few words)?
I'm stubborn. Yes, to beat cancer, it’s a quality I think^^
What K (what cancer - grade if you wish / stage ditto):
Hodgkin's disease, stage 2.
When was it discovered? How old were you ?
The summer of my 17th birthday. We spend our family vacations in the Pyrenees where we meet friends. That day, we went for a hike/picnic. As I walk, I run my hand over my collarbone and I feel a lump. Oddly enough, even though at the time I wasn't a hypochondriac, I was freaking out. Return from vacation, general practitioner, blood test, not great results, suspicion of tropical disease (?!), specialist, re-examination, and the sentence: Hodgkin's disease. In just 3 weeks, my life was turned upside down.
If you are currently undergoing treatment, or in remission (for how long?)
Total remission since 1998.
Can you summarize your (K fighter) story for us ?
Mmmm difficult to summarize the whole story in a few words. Let's say that it was hard (no joke?!), but that I found great people to help me face my daily life as a cancer patient. My mother first and foremost, who put her life on hold for me. My brother who surprised me that day while finishing shaving my head (I couldn't stand the idea of all my hair falling out one by one) and who helped me to laugh at the situation, the nurse from Cochin who prepared a chicken colombo for me that day to help me eat, mother. of O, a patient like me, with whom we spent our days in the hospital, and that of A, who had said to my mother “you are lucky that your daughter has Hodgkin, it is treatable. Mine has lymphoma”, the ambulance driver who we often met and who made us laugh... I'm probably forgetting some, surely.
During this year, I had the impression of leaving my body and being mainly a spectator of my own life, it was certainly a way of accepting the treatments, the pain, most of the medical teams who consider you like a simple number, fear, doubt, etc.
I wouldn't do it again for anything in the world... But I must say that as incredible as it may seem, cancer has also brought me beautiful things.
What treatment did you have?
Chemotherapy from September to January, every 15 days from memory. Protocol? I didn't care, I think.
Radiotherapy from February to June, every week.
apart from the biopsy and the insertion and removal of a catheter, no.
What tips directly related to K do you want to share?
(your feeling with the doctor, your good treatment organization plans, anything that seems useful to you ;))?
1/ chemo: (ex: your tips, the helmet, your affinities with nurses):
frankly, I have no idea. I took things as they came, I'm not sure I have any "tips" to give, other than taking it easy as much as possible, surrounding yourself with caring and available people, protecting yourself. But these are obvious.
2/ hospital: (e.g. contact with nurses / doc / caregivers):
the caregivers and nurses are sweethearts and I salute the extraordinary work they do on a daily basis. Attentive, attentive, adorable... They were part of the positive elements of my daily life during that year.
Doctors are more reserved, more “mechanical”: we are just a number, we ask questions, they are not there to reassure. Not the ones I saw, in any case, with the exception of the oncologist who followed my case: I saw him for 10 years in addition to that year. Professor Dreyfus, in Cochin. Incredible energy, intelligent, respectful, positive speech. A beautiful person, in short.
What did you do to clear your mind/clear your head (before chemo, surgery & co)?
I was going to class...! Until cancer, I was in boarding school. My parents changed schools for me, and I, who dreamed of leaving boarding school, was finally going to a “normal” high school! It's stupid, but putting on a show and pretending to be like everyone else while wearing a wig and suffering from the illness clearly helped me cope. The people in my class were great. I never had an inappropriate look, a doubtful question... I was just there, accepted, one girl among others. At 17, on top of everything else, it's so important... They were great too!
What practical “well-being/beauty” tips can you advise us?
beauty: your essential products (e.g.: creams, varnishes, scars, oils, etc.)
Apart from a knee-high to put under the wig so that it doesn't scratch the scalp and apart from the catheter which I would have agreed to wear sooner if I had known (I have some pretty annoying after-effects in my veins ), I don't particularly have any tips to share.
hair problem (eg: were you wearing a wig, scarves, hats)
I wore a wig because I wanted to show off. During my final year, I was convinced that by wearing my wig, no one would suspect that I was sick and stigmatized by cancer... What a good joke! In May, my hair was growing back and I was hesitant to take off my wig: I told my best friend that I didn't want to shock others with my almost Z-shaped hairline. And she told me that on the first day of school, the main teacher had said “Delphine has cancer, if you see her come back with a hat on Monday, don’t look at her strangely”. I cried with rage... I was so convinced that no one had seen anything! Obviously, I understood what this teacher said afterwards.
If I had to do it again today, I would probably wear a scarf/hat more: firstly because a wig is really not at all pleasant to wear, but also because I am older now, I know how to free myself from the gaze of others.
Were you concerned about the views of others, were you afraid that their views would change? What did you do to counter it?
cf. upper ;)
What are the “nugget”/footed phrases (that you remember) that someone said to you during K and that you could have avoided?
the mother of D., a guy I liked, had forbidden her son from approaching me. “She has AIDS” she told him. When ignorance meets crass stupidity….
How did your loved ones support you?
cf. upper ;)
And what advice could you give to loved ones who accompany a K fighter?
We largely underestimate the role and difficulty of facing illness when you are a loved one. My family has been extraordinary, but I know that putting all 5 of their lives on hold for me, getting to grips with the illness and the treatment must have been incredibly difficult, especially for my two little sisters: the youngest was 13 years old. When I first got sick, you don't want to be confronted with the violence of cancer at that age. I don't have any advice to give on the matter, I think it would be up to all our loved ones who are with us to speak up on this subject!
Do you find out about K on the internet?
I had consulted the forum of I don't know which association where young people like me shared their experiences. Okay, but in 1997, the internets weren't what they are today either!
If so, does it make you feel good?
Yes. Undeniably. But I think we have to know how to sort things out and not take everything at face value: for some, cancer is a kind of trophy, they make a fuss about it, put themselves forward, dramatize it... We are happy to do without this. kind of opinion.
If so, what would be the useful (internet) links that helped you during K?
today I would definitely check out Rose Magazine.
What has the K changed in your life...?
(for example: your vision of the world, your priorities, your essentials, refocusing those around you, in your work, your philosophy..?)
It's incredibly cliché, but being sick gave me a different outlook on life. I have always been a fairly positive person, but this trait was certainly reinforced after the illness; I can't stand people who whine about yes or no and who put up with their lives. Knowing that everything can stop overnight changes the situation.
The negative point, because there is some!, is that apart from the fact that I have been an absolute hypochondriac since then, that I can no longer stand the sight of a needle, however small it may be (which is quite complicated to manage, in reality), I became quite impatient. A little complicated to manage on a daily basis, therefore.
Free field ;)
tell us what you want (which might not be in my questions):
cancer is a stage, it ends, and you have to turn the page afterwards. We are not limited to that, a patient, a former patient. This is the first time I've talked about this stage of my life here, like this, publicly and with many rather intimate details. And to be honest, I didn't like doing it. Why did I accept then? I tell myself that perhaps, in what I experienced, some people will be able to find comfort in their own situation, a hope. But cancer is behind me, I beat it, thank you very much, next ;)
Thank you again for your testimony and for sharing your experience (even if I understand that it was not an easy task ;))
Lots of nice positive thoughts
See you soon