Scan, challenges and a book

Saturday, October 1st

I arrive in Marseille from Montélimar. I spend the weekend with my parents and rest a lot. A LOT.


Monday, I feel down a bit. First, I got a cold. My parents are a bit concerned and I’m afraid if it gets worse, they will blame it on Paris while I paid attention. Not very careful, but a little bit.

Also, it’s pretty hard to be back at home in my “cancer bubble” after a week of independence and classes. Feeling my age.
I decide to go study from the library the next day so at least, I breath some fresh air.

Study for what ? Well, my 7 midterms which will be waiting for me the next time I go to Paris. Damn!

Normally, I’m suppose to go back to class on Monday, October 17th.
For two weeks. But I will have to miss the first of those two weeks because of a scan and another chemo. Miss 42 hours of class…
Feels a bit stressed already writing that down.

I’m not even sure what stresses me the most?

The scan or the exams ? Which scan ?
Well, THE ONE which determines if the chemo treatment is working or not…

It would take the doctor a bad scan and 5 minutes to announce me I’m not nearly close to be done. Starting from the beginning. Again. Let’s not hope for it …

At the library, I borrowed a very cool book.

“Who Am I and if so, how many ?” by Richard David Precht.


Young German philosoph.
I do love philosophy but I have to admit that rare are the teachers that are able to capture our attention and stimulate our minds to get us into the complex world of philosophy. Most of the times, they keep studying the same old theories in a very scholar way …
But wait, this book is EXACTLY the opposite!

The Author is SO smart and talented! And he is able to re-use those old philosophical concepts and theories and put them into perspective with the technology and sciences from today. Amazing!
I love Nietzsche and his theory of the human as a smart animal! (Or maybe also because he was so bright in his sickness and disease).
Here, the author illustrates his theory by the anatomic discoveries of the evolution of the brain from the monkeys to the human, to raise some questions if yes or no we have limits of our consciousness, knowledge capacity and way of thinking.

Anyway, if you like thinking, learning and if you are curious, it’s a great read!


How I learned

This entry is part 5 of 21 in the series Oldest to latest posts

Back from the hospital, I am spending the week resting, catching back on assignments and researching what could it be ?

I’m pretty stressed out and I got a valid reason. The MRI showed one mass but the surgeon got two out. TWO lymph nodes way over their regular size. This was totally unexpected. (How did the MRI missed that ? Weird..)

My aunt, who is a doctor too, calls and tells me that an adenopathy (swollen lymph nodes), is due either because of an infection, an auto-immune disease, a cancer which has metastasized or a cancer of the lymphocytes cells in the lymph nodes and blood (lymphome). Those all sounds super GREAT…

I don’t feel like an infection could be the cause. I mean I took like 8 blood tests since this whole story started and they are cleaned, I don’t have weird symptoms. Could an infection be undetected ? Maybe. I start reading mode in-depth about lymphomas. The symptoms are pretty general but sound familiar: fatigue, adenopathy,…  I guess. I don’t know. It’s all messed up in my mind, I should stop thinking about it and try to calm down.

The secretary of the surgeon calls and asks me to come in tomorrow first thing in the morning (Friday, July 15th), I say OK.
Then I get another call from this hospital, but this time from the hematology and oncology department for an appointment on tuesday. Wait, what ? Oncology ? Isn’t this department for cancer ? Did I hear right? I feel that maybe they meant something else.. I’m confused!

I decide to call my dad. He gets really silent for a minute and then say “Well, it’s probably to be sure to have an appointment for you for prevention purpose, but I got an e-mail from the surgeon 3 hours ago and he said the results weren’t back in yet!”
Ok, he’s right. Whatever this is, it will wait till tomorrow.

Tonight, I’m going out! It’s a thursday night, we go to a bar full of student, trashy music and cheap booze call TITS (Tavern In The Square*).
During the night my dad call me back to ask me if it is possible to move my finals and take them later. I don’t really understand his question. I don’t see the point. I just ask him why is he asking me that and that there is no point of moving my finals for later, I want to be done with that in time! He says good night.

Friday morning, I wake up and I’m not very fresh. Not very fresh AT ALL. I shouldn’t have drink knowing that I had these appointments but whatever I got a good time and it was nice feeling normal again after this whole surgery and resting thing! I had the life of a 80 year old grandma last week!

stromae-tt-width-604-height-403-crop-0-bgcolor-000000-nozoom_default-1-lazyload-0Arrived at the surgeon office, I check-in.
They move me in the examination room and while waiting I check my phone. I got a message from my mum on Whatsapp.
I open it. Rrrrrr again she wrote me like a book.
I start reading it fast, jumping half of the words since the doctor is supposed to come in very soon.

Sally.. you are sick… you got cancer … dad is coming tomorrow and you’ll come back here together… you’ll see it’s gonna be all fine… you need support you need your family… and you need to get cured… you can’t stay anyway you won’t be able to take your could get fever fatigue and feel more sick.. you are very young you have all your life to finish and work.. the health is what matters most..your classes can wait your body can’t… ask you boyfriend to come he can come live with us… i can’t wait for you to be back i miss you i love you”

I drop in tears.. I feel everything is falling apart… I just can’t stop crying. I don’t even understand what is happening. What is happening ? What does this mean ? I’m just very confused.. Am I dying ? But I feel ok ! No I feel ok I refuse I want to stay ? Who says I’m sick ? I don’t understand.

” Hi Sally !!

– Hello Dr. Jalisi..

– Your dad told you huh ? You have Hodgkins’ Lymphoma. It’s a cancer. You need to get treated. We booked you an appointment for tuesday at the hematology-oncology department. I know your dad wants you to follow the treatment at home.

– Yes … (I start crying in front of him now, so ashamed!) My mum wants me to go home right now, but I can’t right now, I have my class right now, I have my life, I just can’t quit on my life like this ! (Crazy how little matters come first sometimes when you are talking about life and death..but I’m human)

– You know, I won’t lie to you. A cancer, it’s hard. Whatever cancer it is, it’s still a cancer and we call it like this for a reason. But you have one of the best cancers you could wish for if you have to get one… It is really well cured nowadays. I know two of my students who got it and they were back on track doing medical school and residency, not too long after it happened. But you have to fight, there is no secret. Now, you need to get strong and fight. You know, with my job, I have to tell patient your ages about even worse diagnostics sometimes, like some of the cancer in the throat. More advanced and more agressive. And when I tell them, I don’t even know if they gonna make it.. But you, I know you gonna make it! I believe in you! And when you’ll be cured, we will raise funds for cancer research together ! Do we have a deal ? I’ll be waiting for news from you!”

I think I knew somehow deep inside me that something was happening. I can’t really tell how and why, it just feels like a lot of stuffs have happen. The fatigue, stress, cramps, hitching, the swollen lymph nodes,.. and without what I just learned (the combinaison) I wasn’t able to read the message. But now I understand it, fully.