That literally was the whole text of a tweet I send out some weeks back.
— Andreas Heigl (@heiglandreas) June 3, 2020
And it returned so much warmth and positive responsens for me that I want to share a bit more of the story.
Be warned: It is a sad story.
5 years ago
It all begins at the beginning of 2015 where my wife Anke was diagnosed with breast cancer. Dammit. But after all a lot happened in the last years and if it has to be cancer I’d rather have breast cancer than something else. The healing rates are rather good. So we went through this (with a lot of tears for sure) and came out stronger as a team and a family. It was sad that she couldn’t join me on my first conference gig in 2015 due to a slight overlap with her Chemotherapy but such is life.
So she won the battle. Since October 2015 everything was kind of OK. No one tells you about the fatigue that can be caused by the Chemotherapy or how slowly the body recovers after being swamped with poison multiple times for over half a year. But the main thing is: You are still alive!
Of course everything could have happened. So 5 years ago we settled everything. We went through all of it: Last will, living will, chats about how to handle the kids and all the little details that you think you will be able to handle together but that now need to be handed over. Just in case.
But everything went well. According to plan, one could say.
2020 sheds it’s light
End of last year suddenly some blood test results weren’t as they were supposed to be. That could be a sign of a new cancer but it could also be something else. So a lot of diagnosis startet again. But all results were negative. So it must be a false positive. I had a numb feeling about it but well, al the docs my wife was at couldn’t find anything and I mean they know what they are doing.
So everything was still fine.
Yes. I know what you’re thinking about! Exactly like that.
All this time Anke had issues with her back. Pain since time immemorial. But that somehow got worse. She started to walk with the dog more often but realized that herback was killing her. the amount of pain-medication shall not be revealed here, but well…. let’s put it that way. It’s good when you have sources to get prescription-only stuff. So to get to the root cause for that she made an appointment with an orthopedist. And they seemed to have found the cause for the pain. Two spinal discs that are a bit dislodged. Oh. And these shadows in your pelvis look like methastasis. Like about a dozen…
2020 finally hit
She came back that day and was completely calm. I’ve only seen her like that a handfull of times and the reason never was a good one. So I immediately canceled the call I was in at that moment and well… Imagine a lot of tears on boths sides.
At that point we didn’t know what might be the consequences. From what we heard before Methastases usually mean the end. Not necessarily right away, but that’s not something that will heal. So this is the end. The proverbial IT.
How do you handle that your whole dream of your life just shattered? She might not be able to see her kids grow. I might have to support my kids on my own in their relationships. I can’t share the joy and the tears when they marry. I will have to give them advice with their kids on my own. No getting old together. There was so much we wanted to do together.
That was barely 4 weeks ago.
But up to that time we didn’t know what it was. Three was just this MRT-Image with shadows where they didn’t belong to. So now more diagnosis. The uncertainty was perhaps the worst. No one was actually talking about metastasis as no one actually knew exactly what they were. The next day I looked for a specialist and luckily found one “nearby”. It’s interesting what you call nearby when you live in the countryside. But no matter where you want to go it’s always a 45-minute drive.
Luckily that specialist not only seems to know her stuff, the chemistry between her and Anke was just right from the start. So it looks like she is now in much better hands than the last time she fought the battle.
And now last tuesday the final results came. Anke is fighting against breast-cancer metastasis in at least her pelvis and her sternum. The therapy has started and we are talking about years that we might have togethre. Perhaps even more.
In the end we will see. There is nothing we can do other than accepting that cancer came back to stay. That the beast is now part of our live for the rest of our life.
The last weeks were hard. We talked about a lot of final szenarios. Anke started her bucket list and we might travel a tad more than we thought we would right now. We cried a lot. Death was never far away but now it is a part of our conversations . Between us two but also with our kids. And that seems to somehow take a lot of the panik.
I now have the great possibility to make the best of the time I have with the best person that I met in my life. And I don’t know how long that will be. But I know for sure that it will not be as long as we both would like it to be.
And what I learned from that tweet from the beginning is, that there are a lot of amazing people that I have the honour to call friends. That there are people in the world that are willing to support you. Sometimes people I never thought of. And that is amazing! Thank you for that!
So for now we are looking forward with the idea of still having some years together. Some tough years with pain and trauma but years we have together. So there still is some time to settle the final arrangements together. Unless one of us gets hit by a bus, that is…
Thanks for reading so far! Thanks for your support!