Darkness and Light

January 2020 — I was about to celebrate my 4th anniversary since my diagnosis. Pancreatic cancer. I never thought I would live so long, and I was planning ways to celebrate this event with my medical team and my friends.

The celebration never happened. In less than 4 weeks, things went downhill: my cancer markers were up, I caught pneumonia and had to be hospitalized, the cancer progressed into the pleura and to one of my ribs; then, I had another hospitalization after the placement of a permanent drain for pleural effusion. To complete the picture, lingering pains for weeks.

Within a short time, I went from wanting to celebrate the completion of my fourth year from diagnosis to thinking, this time, I am not going to recover from this. I was weak, losing weight, and my mood barometer was on low. Outside my window, the darkest days of the year went by: Grey sky, grey rain, grey trees, grey ground, and penetrating cold.  Cowered on my sofa, the dreadful question came: should I stop treatments and enjoy the few months left? There was only darkness without any answer.

Then spring came.  Sun and green buds. Inside my body, life was coming back. I’m exhausted, but I learned to drain the fluid from my lung without triggering pain and the new chemotherapy regimen started to show good results. Sitting on my front steps, watching the sunset light on the grape hyacinths, I started to enjoy life again.

Brigitte Régnier