Natalia Presnyakova
23 y.o, oncology

About a year ago I was told that I had nasapharyngeal carcinoma, stage IV. First days I spent crying, I was shocked. I couldn’t figure out, why such a bad thing had happened to me. A year earlier I had cured of a depression which lasted for 4 years, and thought: This is just unfair! I got over it, got married, finally became happy — and got cancer! Why? I felt like a real loser.

I lost my hair two weeks after chemotherapy. It was summer, and I was wearing a wig. It was boiling hot, and it felt like a fur hat! But as I took it off, people started staring at me, and I was like: Gosh, I am ugly!

Finally, there comes a time when you put up with the disease. You no longer view yourself as sick and dying. I am on a treatment, that’s all. Yes, you don’t have eyebrows and lashes, but at least you are alive! And once you think so, your attitude changes.

When first stages of acceptance are over, you are ready to enjoy every single day. There are mornings when I wake up and think: I could have died tonight, but I am alive, I am still here. Incredible!

Too often people are embarrassed to discuss my diagnosis. But I speak freely about it because I want to change social attitude to cancer as to the worst of the maladies. I really know people who say: I would kill myself if I had cancer. Just think of it! Somebody who had all chances to cure would commit a suicide? That is totally wrong. People get help and support these days.

I think that comparing one's problems to someone else's situation, like 'Look, that friend of a friend of mine has been through worse and she didn't moan', is also wrong.

I am often told, 'Oh come on, it's just a little something in the throat. There are people fighting bone cancer — that's much worse to treat'. I don't think that if someone else happens to be in a worse situation, your own problems should seem less important. If someone can find other people's examples helpful, that's great (for them).

 

I would like to address everyone stuck in their negative mindset — any accumulation of negativity leads to a further negative impact on life. Remember that and learn to enjoy your life.

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