Sunday, September 18th
I arrive at the train station in Paris.
My friend Paola and her boyfriend come and welcome me back. My parents insist that I wear the mask because there is a crowd of people and a lot of virus during this time of the year. So I’m watching out carefully and it’s a bit stressing to be on constant warning for infection risks. Hopefully, once I see my friends, I feel better and reassured right away.
We go to Paola’s boyfriend appartment, eat some pizza while watching The Voice Kids. It’s funny that they watch the show too!
Around 9pm, I order a Uber to go to Mika’s place. He has a media company with two co-founders. They also are roomates and during the day their employees and interns come to work. The appartment is big, with 3 floors in the South of Paris, near my school and the 13th district.
At the entrance of this big flat, they have an independant studio with its own private bathroom, empty. So Mika proposed me to move in when I need a place to stay the time everything settle down with the treatment and everything.
Their company is called Purée Maison (French for mashed potatoes). They do love potatoes tho and even tattooed themselves with a super potato.
If you need help with photography, filming, communication campaign or website creation and management, they are great and you should contact them!
It’s insane to witness how fast their company grew and the quality of their actual clients, sometimes big brands name!
When I arrive, we decide to watch an episode of Black Mirror before going to bed, a weird but very interesting TV shows on all the extremes that could potentially derives from technology and the web.
Then, I go to bed! Tomorrow, it’s the first day of school. At 9.45AM.
I’m doing the last year of my French master in Accounting. I have class two weeks in a raw, every two weeks. (So two weeks per month basically)
It is made this way so my classmates can both study and work for a company on the other free two weeks. The good thing with this format is that companies actually finance you the whole year. That’s kind of what I was planning to do so I don’t have to pay tuition, but Bob the lump decided another way. My parents had to pay another $9,000 and it made me feel bad. (Last year for BU, I had already done a student loan so …)
Also, while I will have class two weeks per month during Sept-Dec and April-July, I have off January-mid April for the tax season so I can normally work an internship. I was supposed to go back to California and continue my internship with the public accounting company where I worked last Fall but with this happening, I decided to make them aware of my situation and put this project on hold.
I’m not sure what I will do yet during that time. I’m first waiting to hear if I’m the right road to remission once I have the PET Scan. Pretty soon actually!
Monday, September 19th
I’m very pleased to be with my good friend Corinne, with who I was studying at BU, in class. The school did it this way so she can get me the class notes when I can’t go and so I have a moral support in class.
I went to class with my shaved hair. With just a beanie for outside so I don’t get a cold.
In my class, we are around 30. Most of them are a year younger as I took a gap year in the program to do the master with BU. But I have 4-5 friends from my promotion, a nice little group of friends!
The first class goes well and so we decide after it, to go to a friend’ apartment and cook some pasta. We buy beers and apple juice (for me) to celebrate the start of this school year.
After classes in the afternoon, I go meet a friend at a café and go shop for some jewelry, ear cuffs and hair accessories. I kinda stop wearing all of those lately. Didn’t wear ear cuffs since like 3 years or so. I don’t really know why, just felt it was overwhelming my face. Now that I don’t have hair, I feel it helps boost my feminity because I look like a tomboy.
Then I go meet up with Mika and Paola at the apartment for a photo shoot.
We talked about it few weeks ago. I told him that I would be pretty excited about a photo shoot with my shaved haircut so I can have souvenirs of how strong I was going through this situation.
But as soon as I arrive and see the big scene and all the camera and photo materials, I feel not very at ease. Over-exposed. Especially without my hair behind which I normally hide.
We start and I don’t really know how to pose. I’m so bad at doing it. Feels unnatural.
At some point, Paola tries to give me directions on how to do it. She shows me how she pose. It looks like pretty easy for her. I guess some people are just born with the talent Ha Ha. I try to do the same but it looks not very convincing.
She tells me
“Sally, do like this with your hair. Play with it a little bit. Like this!”
I see her shake her very nice and long hair, bomba latina way. And I stop moving. Mika too.
Indeed, I do not have hair anymore so I don’t really understand her advice. Ha Ha! Thanks Queen Paola!
Mika tells her.
“Pao, are you serious ?? “
But that’s fine, it makes me laugh and helps decomplex. I mean I really am bold so let’s be at ease. We continue the shoot.
At one point, I try my wig on. Oh, I totally forgot to post about it. I bought a new wig! So much nicer than the first one and for so much cheaper!! I was walking with my mum in Marseille when I passed by an Afro hair care shop. They had ton of wigs in the window so I decide to check it out. Turns out they have beautiful wig with natural long hair with my original color for €150. Damn! I can’t believe all the cancer care stuff sells theirs for a grant!
I try one on and it fits and look very natural on me. Apparently, I can even curl the hair with a hair strengthener. Sick! We buy it!
During the shoot, I put it on and it sets me free. I play more with the camera, even Mika notices it. I think I still need some time to accept myself this way. I remember too much the “old me” and I fear people’s look while they notice how much I changed. I don’t want them to pity me!
Tuesday, September 20th
Classes go pretty fast! I feel great to be in there and focus on something interesting and learn. I honestly feel less the symptoms of the treatment this way and the fatigue. I feel like a normal young adult in the middle of all these other classmates. Not like the epicenter of the attention, like at home with my parents.
I know it’s normal for them to be worried. I don’t blame them or anything. I know my dad save my life! I know that. I’m like the never really worry girl about health stuff. I was never really sick and I can’t remember last time I went to the doctor for something. I don’t think I’ve ever really did before this. So my dad did, indeed, save my life by pushing and forcing me to go see the doctor and do the IRM.
I would probably turned in myself at the ER once I’m really already in a bad shape, like caughing crazy and feeling very very weak. Probably stage 4B like a lot of people on the web forums or even never really show up… I don’t know I guess I don’t really want to imagine. He at least probably spare me from going through a harder and longer chemo treatment. Probably!
So thanks daddy! I love you!
At night, I go see Corinne and Barbara (who was also in Boston with me).
Wednesday, September 21st
After class, it’s already time to go back to the South of France at my family house. I will miss two days of classes. Thursday and Friday. But I have to! I have chemo tomorrow morning. Already.
I know it’s gonna suck for few days (I will mostly sleep so it will go fast) but, then, I should be able to return to Paris for the whole week of class on sunday night! Can’t wait!