ITW n°85: Joséphine - close to K fighter.
today Joséphine, 22 years old, gives us her moving testimony of sincerity, because loved ones also have their say during the war, and Joséphine led this damn battle head-on alongside Lucie (her partner of 5 years , who was fighting against a Hodgkin's Lymphone). An interview which perfectly illustrates how together we are stronger, how love is an essential driving force, and the best weapon to gang up against that damn K.
Joséphine, takes us with her in the accuracy of her words, of her feelings, she gave up everything to accompany Lucie, at 22 years old, yet so young, but this test of life unites and makes us grow in one leap... Joséphine's story is ultimately that of a lesson in love, resilience, life and wisdom.
Very very nice discovery.
Let's get started:
Who are you ?
First name: Joséphine
Age: 22 years old
Where do you live: Dijon
Why do you agree to share your story today?
Because I have had too few testimonies from relatives of my age, old enough to live as a couple and in their own apartment but not old enough to have children, to be married.
What are your qualities (in a few words)?
Um... Funny? Sometimes ? Yes, perhaps I have the quality to do what I want when I want while trying not to give too much importance to the judgments of others.
What bond unites you with Lucie:
I have been his partner for almost 5 years, we have lived together for 4 years.
Can you summarize your story for us (announcement / under what circumstances)?
Lucie told me she had cancer the day she found out. I had one leg in a cast, and I had to go to Scotland for 6 months the next day as part of my studies. We were in the street, in January, it was raining. Later, I said to myself that even a film would not have dared to depict a moment like that. I still went to Edinburgh. I was supposed to leave for 6 months, I left for 6 days.
What K did Lucie have:
What treatments did she have?
She first had 2 courses of Beacoop then, after a positive response to the treatment, 4 courses of ABVD.
What was your feeling/point of view as a loved one when the announcement was made?
First, the human reaction, sadness. I couldn't stop crying. I was and still am very much in love with Lucie, and the idea that something could put her in such danger made me sick. And then, because of my situation at that time, there was the discomfort of announcing to everyone that it was impossible for me to go abroad and leave Lucie all alone (well, without me, since she was not alone, but we are always a little selfish in the most serious moments). Finally, I spent the next few weeks obsessively researching Hodgkin's disease, chemo, the effects, depression...
Besides, I would like to say to all the loved ones who read this: I was very ill for the whole week after the announcement. I couldn't eat anymore. Don't be ashamed, your body sometimes reacts very violently, you have the right to be sad even in front of the person who has cancer.
What are the “nugget”/feeling phrases that someone said to him or/and to you during the K and which could have been avoided?
or that you yourself should have avoided ;)..?
I could have avoided dozens and dozens of sentences. I could have avoided reading that if she isn't eating it's because she isn't trying.
Otherwise, the sentence that I understood the least came from people who constantly told me: “oh yes, cancer is serious, but hey, Hodgkin is very treatable these days, in a few months it will all be over. » No, everything is not over. All the people who asked me for news about Lucie without daring to speak to her. I think she felt a little abandoned, as if in addition to being ill she was incapable of responding herself. Especially since it was incongruous for me to answer for him when you can never really know how someone is doing.
Your questions, your fears, the sentences you would have liked to ask but which you did not dare to mention..?
The question I should have asked more is to the medical profession: “How do we do this, why does she react like that?” Help, actually.
What are you doing to change Lucie's mind? Did you manage to find the right words and activities to change her mind?
The right words, I don't know, I tried anyway. Before the start of treatments, I made him a “cancer pack” with activities to keep him busy, something to boost his morale in the event of a bout of the blues. It was at this moment that I discovered the war of the nipples , by Lili Sohn , Mister K fighting kit .., there was in this pack, among other things, a very small plush to slip into your bag, the comic, a book by his favorite author. Otherwise in everyday life, we laughed a lot. Trouble, illness, suffering, my questions.
Has this same medical body been there for you too, to support you, answer all your questions?
I imagine that I am not the only one, but the people who answered my questions the most, who helped me the most, included in the life of the treatment were the nurses who were fantastic with me.
Did you accompany Lucie:
I accompanied Lucie to all of her chemo treatments except the first, where her dad accompanied her. And a few medical appointments. I tried, and not always succeeded, to never impose my presence on him. It was something very difficult for me, not to impose myself, to let her manage an illness that affected her and her alone.
How did you deal with Lucie's mood swings?
She didn't really have any mood swings! No more moments of deep sadness. And in those moments, we talked a lot, she knew that she could always tell me when things weren't going well, and it helped me to know what she was feeling to know how to react.
Did you get information on the internet?
I did a lot of information on the internet before the treatments and then not at all afterwards. I went there a lot by feeling.
What were your good plans to take your mind off things, get some fresh air, and recharge your batteries?
What are your best resources?
What helped me get my head above water was especially seeing my friends. I'm 22, and I didn't go to college anymore. When Lucie was better, we often invited them to our house, we had the impression of having a “normal” life.
What did you tell yourself to go the distance / what did you do?
I told myself that whatever happened, someone somewhere would have a solution. And then from time to time I cried too. I would like us to break the myth of the spouse who is always full of strength and who must never show his sadness. I cried once or twice in front of Lucie. It did me a lot of good and she always told me that it was also up to her not to feel entirely cut off from the emotions of the rest of the world, to share her difficulties.
Were you able to have an “Almost” normal life, seeing your friends/relatives?
Almost normal, no. I stopped my studies to take care of Lucie. It's a personal choice. Neither she nor anyone asked me. It was simpler for me and I wouldn't have been able to combine the two I think. I saw my friends on the other hand and that helped me a lot.
Were you able to talk freely about it to your loved ones?
Did you feel supported/supported/understood?
I needed to talk about it. And sometimes not talking about it. I felt understood by a few friends, but a little alone obviously because you never really understand until you have experienced it. On the other hand, I was supported throughout Lucie's illness. Talk about it, don't stay alone, and you will see, the unexpected reaction of certain people will pleasantly surprise you.
What do you think you did wrong, or said? What reaction do you regret?
I regret my omnipresence sometimes. Because being there was something I knew how to do, something I could do when many other things eluded me.
What advice would you give to other loved ones to arm themselves with strength?
Go have a beer on the terrace with a few friends, go for a walk alone, buy the pair of sneakers/the book that makes you dream, you deserve it, have a good laugh, cry too, tell yourself that even if it's horrible , it could hardly be worse.
What tips directly related to K do you want to share?
1/ chemo: During the long hours of waiting before treatments, we played board games. The other ladies in the room and even the nurses played trivial pursuit with us. Take something to occupy yourself. I remember that once the treatments started, Lucie was too tired to speak. I became unbeatable at candy crush.
2/ Daily: Communicate! I know that when things weren't going well I always asked Lucie what she wanted to do/eat/drink. It's a concrete way to help and relieve a little pain. But if you don't ask, she won't tell you anything.
What practical tips can you recommend to us, from your daily life and yours?
That was her pleasure. And to me by extension ;).
Like, she's the one in charge. Before the treatments started, we went to buy comfortable clothes that weren't too ugly. Lucie had her first chemo outfit! And the nurses elected her miss hematology ;)
3/ food (do you prepare good dishes for him)
I cooked throughout the treatment. Lucie ate according to her pain. If she felt sick it was compote or white beans. If she had mucositis, it was avocado/mozzarella for their fresh properties!
Did the K war change your vision of Lucie?
Lucie grew in 6 months. It’s definitely not the same anymore. She is stronger. But I was very afraid that the new Lucie would no longer want me after her cancer, but don't worry – it's a myth, she still wants me ;)!
What has the K changed in your life…?
(for example: your vision of the world, priorities, your essentials, refocusing those around you, in your work, your philosophy, disappointments? great discoveries despite everything?)
At 22, we are still somewhere between the end of adolescence and being a “real adult”. I'm not anymore. I no longer have the same concerns as my friends, nor the same priorities.
Free field ;)
tell us what you want (which might not be in my questions):
We talk very little about the daily life of the spouses of someone who has cancer. We talk about sexuality, children, feelings but very little about everyday life. So that's the main thing. What to feed your partner? What to say when she/he cries, When she/he is too tired? Is it possible to get help without appearing too cowardly? And if I'm sad, can anyone help me? I asked myself all these questions at one point. I felt extremely alone. But now that it's all over, well almost, I know that I shouldn't hesitate to ask for help, or to refuse it. That some people don't understand our daily lives but that doesn't matter, they are no less capable of listening to us or helping us. And then there will always be someone who will come to see you and say: “you live with someone who has cancer, you know, I’ve been through that too..”. Remember that faced with cancer and the difficulty of living against cancer without having it, faced with the difficulty of seeing the person you love suffer, we are never alone.
Thank you Joséphine, for this beautiful, sincere testimony.
*Many of you send me your testimonies, thank you for your precious trust, for this same reason, the broadcasts of your interviews will sometimes be broadcast in several months, but know that I keep and transmit absolutely ALL the testimonies that are sent to me , Thank you for understanding.
Please note that I do not retouch any Interview, they are completely free, it is your freedom, your story, I just add my personal touch with the illustration, they are delivered as they were sent to me ;)
NEVER GIVE UP!!