Ich bin eine leber is, of course, “i am a liver” in German. It’s probably not the most practical of German phrases to learn before my big trip to Germany; but it’s comforting and I could use a little comfort right now. I leave today.
Many many many months ago when I imagined that day far, far in the future that I would (probably) have to travel overseas to seek the famed PRRT treatment for my cancer, I imagined that it would be (secretly) exciting to go to Europe for treatment. That I would get treatment one day and be out eating pretzels and drinking beer the next. I imagined that I would beg my parents to take me to Paris or Prague or Berlin or Amsterdam beforehand, you know, while we were in the area. I imagined I would be wearing heels–isn’t that what fabulous European women wear?
Now that the day is today, I am not not excited. I had imagined I would be feeling much better before I left. I have been laying low in my living room for weeks and now i’m supposed to be ready to hop on a plane to fly halfway across the world? I’m not sure i’m up for this; but I have to be, because my tumors are growing and doing crazy things (like causing my legs to swell up) and I need to do something to take care of them. Contrary to my imagination, I will be in the hospital in Germany all week, not eating pretzels or drinking beer. The forecast says rain. I don’t have the energy for much sight-seeing. I can’t fit into any of my shoes. My suitcase doesn’t have room for heels next to all my stretchy pants, compression stockings, prescription bottles, and lung drainage bottles.
In truth, I will be happy when the ordeal is over.
That’s not to say i’m not looking forward to anything. I’m excited about the German train we will ride, about the food, about the apartment we’re staying in for a night. I want to know what an old east-German city feels like. I want to hear German spoken everywhere. I’m interested to experience the German medical system. I suspect I might just be more comfortable in an adjustable hospital bed than I am in my flat bed at home. And once i’ve done it once, feeling like I feel now, the next trip will hopefully be much easier.
As for the treatment itself, my hopes that it will work are buried somewhere inside of all the uncertainties. Where I might be lacking in hope, though, my friends, family, and complete strangers have definitely shown that they make up for it. I am surrounded in hope, and well-wishes, and prayers. For maybe the first time in my life, I really need that. I will think of it when i’m alone in my German hospital room. Hoffen. Hope.
I’m also bringing my new stuffed animal, who i’ve decided to name Leben. Life. May they guide me through this ordeal, along with my wonderful eltern (parents). Here we go. Los geht’s!