Saturday, April 29, 2006

Stay Strong, Irene!

Just shortly after Bernice posted an entry about the gift of life, this happened today. It came to me as a shock, why must bad news flood in all together?

Irene texted me yesterday wanting to meet up for lunch. I agreed since I didn't get a chance to meet her before the Easter holidays. I didn't suspect anything even though she proposed to meet in the north campus (my area) instead of the south (her area). I thought she must've been busy since in the message, she mentioned that she'll be going back to Germany again. (Must be some serious business, I thought)

And, so we met. There she was, beautiful as an angel, smiling so cheerfully with her boyfriend, Ricardo (Italian) by her side. We greeted, he said he had to go back to work while we sat down and chatted over lunch.

10 minutes into the conversation, she said to me: "I'm going back to Germany again on Tuesday (in four days time),"

"But I thought you've just came back (five days ago) from there?" me, making conversation.

"Yeah, my parents wants me to go back as soon as possible for the operation."

"Operation? for your dad? is he alright?",

"No, for me. My doctor says I have cancer over here," she finally let it out, pointing her finger to somewhere on the left side of her chest.

"What?" I was stunned. Here I am, talking to this beautiful talented young lady, who loves music and art (museum), plays flute, enjoy the same music as I do, the only other person who would enjoy theatre, plays and orchestra concerts, whom also loved the gay village, with a good sense of humour has got cancer. It just isn't fair and yet she looks as healthy as any living person in the cafe with one exception, CANCER.

She proceed to tell me more. She only found out about it a few days ago and it was the day after she landed in Manchester (three days ago). Her doctor suspected something about three months ago and urged her to take the "breast cancer" test just to be sure. She admitted being skeptical about her doctor's advice but now she is really thankful that she went for it anyway.

I met Irene through Christine, and I remember the day Christine introduced her to me, I kept asking (like little Peter Parker when he met little Mari Jane) "who's that angel, nanny Christine?"

The funny thing is, she reminds me so much of Bernice. The way she talks, the way she laughs even though it holds "strains" of french-ness (she lives in France despite being a German). And it's so coincidentally what happened on Bernice's side of the world at the moment. I can't take coincidence very well these days, they happen a bit too "related" to one another to make me believe in "coincidences".

As the conversation went on, her tears started rolling. (oh please... please for the mother of god! Why do I always have to see another of my friends cry? broke my heart! and its so unfair because my tears just won't flow)

She fear for her life, her studies, her boyfriend, fear of losing everything. Everything becomes so uncertain. She may survive this trip but she knows that nothing'll be the same anymore after the operation. She may lose a breast. She may have cancer cells getting into the main artery (that's deadly) or lose everything she have in Manchester.

I, being the usual useless fool I am don't really know what to do. I thought maybe putting some hope into the future might help bring up her spirit. I told her to get well as soon as possible and that I'll meet her in Berlin on my Germany trip.

I complained about how many times I've been dead but how each time I've been given a chance and am still alive. How to cherish each and every waking moment you have while you are still in this world.

Here are all the photos of her, on the night out we had a long time ago in the Eden, Gay Village. May her smile shines here. Even if we'll never meet again.









*UPDATE 8/5/06: On Skype today, Irene told me the operation was successful. And that the tumour was actually benign, so it wasn't really life threatening. Still it was necessary that it was removed as early as possible. If you are a girl, and you are reading this (obviously) go and have a checkup today. You'll never know what you'll find.

References: a, b, c, Make Peace with Death, the gift of life, loved the gay village, Christine, french-ness, how many times I've been dead, english-arent-europeans, nadina-french, schaefchen,
Tags: breast cancer help

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