I know this is a blog about photography, mostly alternative things, but behind all that is a person, me obviously, and as a person the things you experience will have their effect on the body of work. In that light I feel compelled to share with you the things I have experienced since the beginning of this year, health wise.
In the Netherlands it is a costum to get your cervix checked for cancer or indications that there might be something wrong from the age of 30. I hit the big 30 last year so I received a wonderful invitation for my first check up. It’s not really pleasant but nothing horrid either until I got back the results.
Pap 3b was the verdict and I was shocked immensely. I do sports, quit smoking almost 6 years ago, eat healthy (or at least I’d like to think that I do :-)) so you don’t expect your body to be anything else but healthy. I’ve read and heard horror stories where you would get sedated locally with syringes (aarrrggghhhh) and where they would take a biopt to see how bad the cells were affected and if it needed further treatment. Unfortunately this was exactly the case 😦
The 10th of February I had an appointment at the hospital where they would have a closer look with a microscope. They decided that the field with these troubled cells was too big so I got the local sedation part (absolute horror to me; syringes do not belong there!) and they took three biopts to see where the cells would be most worrysome. Two weeks later the results came in and I was invited back for further treatment as there was too much affected tissue to leave it.
Past April 28th was the big day. Scared because of the last visit which really didn’t feel all too cool with a couple of clumsy students (long live academical hospitals) starting that session I wasn’t happy going back for a more extended version of it. Fortunately these two women where a lot nicer and more gentle and I survived the colorations, local anaesthetics and removal of tissue again.
Today I got back the results and it came out as CIN 2, which is good. Just ‘nervous’ cells, no cancer and no indication of formation into that. I get to go back in half a year from now for a new test to see how the remaining cells are behaving but hopefully that will be the last of it.
I have had my doubts whether I should tell this story or not. I did do it because it had a much bigger impact on me than I would have ever imagined possible. And I got the soft-pretty-much-okay version of it. I think everybody knows someone, including me, who had a worse version to go through. It makes you feel vulnerable and the god-like feeling of ‘this will never happen to me’ slipped away for a bit. Live your life like it is your last is good advice but at the same time hardly realistic. I’d be frikkin’ tired everyday and possible would have accidentally killed myself along the way haha 😉 But maybe it makes you a little less dramatic about everyday-so-tiny-matters which become meaningless when you’re not healthy, albeit it being so horribly cliche.
I feel for the people who are forced to visit hospitals on a regular base and who have to undergo nasty examinations. Nothing compared to what happened to me but I was thoroughly impressed nonethess. It’s all relative of course. So, now I feel like I can pick up where I left off, for example the making of the Disposable Crisis book and my dry plate photography.
Anyway, love to you all! And one last thing I wish to close this story with is a Haiku (originally in Dutch but I did my best to translate) someone sent me the other day, out of the blue, because we met on a strange occasion. Thank you, Jo Merckelbagh, for your wonderful words in a time where they have more meaning than any other given time.
The empty room
motionless breathes the silence
outside falling leaf
De lege kamer
ademt roerloos de stilte
buiten vallend blad