On a cold evening I had stayed a little longer at work. Under the window hung a bunch of youngsters. One of them suddenly saw me, probably to his shock. He decided to yell CANCER WHORE very loudly at me and ran away. I joked to my colleagues that I assumed it was slang for “Oh wow, there’s that nice lady who puts her heart and soul into a PhD program to help cancer patients and their loved ones”. I absolutely did not feel addressed, because I am 100% sure that I am not a whore. Plus, I completely assumed I didn’t have cancer. That was a year ago. Less than three weeks later it became clear that I had a tumor of 9 cm in my chest and multiple metastases in armpit and bones.

If there’s anything I’ve had to learn in the past year, it’s that I’m apparently a poor predictor of whether I have cancer and if so, what it’s doing to my body. On January 10th. there was also such a complete surprise when suddenly my whole head turned out to be full of cancer.

With gleeful glee in my eyes, I recently realized that this doesn’t necessarily mean that I am always overwhelmed by bad news. After all, the fact that I don’t understand anything can also offer unexpectedly favorable insights and outcomes. Like that the increasing package of physical discomfort I experience may not be the result of cancer or the inflammation around the eight major tumors and damaged membranes in my head. Perhaps those discomforts only come from the drug Dexamethasone and from the short nights that I always make. After all, for two months I have been sleeping on nights at most 4 to 6 hours.

I love experiments and so – completely against my own expectations of a terminal trajectory – I am now weaning off the Dexamethasone. This has to be done slowly and in very small steps, otherwise my body will rear up. I am now on a clearly lower daily intake than when I started two months, without the predicted functional impairment and without an increase in headache. My plane is flying well.

Maybe I started January 10 with too much Dexamethasone that my head doesn’t need yet. Or maybe the inner peace I have experienced since then has a positive effect on the inflammation sources around my tumors. In short: the fact that the reduction is successful says nothing about the amount of cancer in my head that can simply have increased in the meantime. When I finally understand in all modesty that I don’t understand cancer, I better be consistent. And enjoy all the days that are much better than I had dared to dream on January 10.

As of today, again half a pill less!