Life Challenge of Charly
Written by Charly (31)
Life Challenge of Charly – Turn moments into Memories
My story already started a few years ago, I can remember it very clearly. I think I was 9, maybe 10 years old. I was laying in the hospital in Nijmegen (the Netherlands) because of a benign tumor in my chin. It was the first surgery ever in my life. Luckily everything went very well and I had a very caring doctor. There was another girl laying on the same room. A bald girl. I experienced her as a very picky girl in everything she wanted. Eating, sleeping, fun things, everything was possible, but only in her own way. At that moment I didn’t know that 3 years later I totally understood why she always was like that.
In 1999 after summer holidays it should be the first day of my time at ‘high school’. A new adventure was waiting for me. Puberty, the time of being a teenager started. The moments of ‘boys, giggling and sneaky moments with friends’. Everything is changing on that age. Your life, your way thinking, your body. A girl becomes a young woman. In that same summer I had problems with my right leg. We all know that at that age you can struggle with growing pain, that’s part of getting an adult body. After a few weeks, we went to the doctor because I constantly fell on the ground during skating. But why? I did not stumble, there were no little stones on the road, it seemed like I lost the strength in my leg.
Less than a week later I had visited several doctors. When I was at the the last doctor who was gonna tell me the results, I suddenly realized something. The things he was telling my parents and me sounded like I had exactly what the girl in the hospital in Nijmegen also had. The bald picky girl. Two seconds later he told me exactly that… I had bone cancer. An osteosarcoma. Just like her.
A long process of chemotherapy and a bone transplant awaited me. I had the choice to have a donor bone, or to have my leg amputated and reversal surgery with my lower leg. So I would partly get a protese. I wanted to keep my own leg, the consequences would be that I might be able to do something less with it in the future, but it was more important to me that I could keep my own leg, no matter what. I spent more than a year in a wheelchair and had to learn to flex, stand and walk again. Sometimes I walk a bit limping, but hey, I am walking with my very own leg and it is only me who notice it!
During this time I mainly learned how beautiful and precious life is. The dear people around me and the everyday problems in life are all of a sudden less big and soluble.
In 2011 I got my first own apartment. A house for myself. And although I had a very positive life in the years before, I never dared to make plans for the future. Looking ahead was scary, so let’s just enjoy this moment, now. People around me noticed that for the first time (unconsciously) I suddenly dared to express my dreams. Looking further into the future and following my ambitions. Was this the moment that i was able to look in the future without thinking about the past?
I was still busy with moving to my new apartment when I ended up in the hospital again. My body gave signs that something was wrong. The process from doctor to doctor was speeded up, and that made me insecure. I recognized it from the past. Why did everything have to be so fast? Why suddenly the doctor took a biopsy while I just had an appointment for a CT-Scan? Why? What is it? A week later there was again a confirmation of my feelings, this time I had breast cancer. Hooray.
There we go again. I was 23 years old, almost 24 . As sad as I was when I had my surgery on my leg, as happy I was that my right boob had to be amputated. Happy? Yes. The breast was the culprit. It made me sick so please remove it before I get even more problems. I was more motivated than ever and only 5 days after the diagnosis the big surgery took place. I wrote a farewell letter to my boob.
“…We don’t fit very well together anymore. You expect other things from me, and I can not meet your needs. I think is a good moment that our roads get separate here and I have to look around for a good new replacement, a better version of you. I want to thank you for all the loving years, even though I never believed that you were a part of my femininity. It’s not you. I have to work on this. Because even with our without you, I have the rights to feel like a woman too. Dear boob, thank you for the 23 beautiful years. I’ll miss you. <3”.
Eventually, the doctors in Ghent (Belgium) created a beautiful new breast from my stomach. ‘A DIEP FLAP surgery’. It was a tough adventure with a lot of struggles but the result is amazingly beautiful. And the best of all is; I feel more like a woman than ever before!
Advise after overcoming this challenge:
From time to time we all have our uncertain moments but these adventures have given me so many beautiful things. Especially Life. It gave my life back twice. There is no time to be insecure. All the scars on my body have a story. The little things in life make the best memories now. A story full of adventures about me and my angels. Doctors, family, friends, or in better words ‘Charlies Angels’. I’ve faced some fear, but that same fear gave me the best moments to remember. I hope people will see the beauty in the little things around them more often. For example a flower, a bee, a smile, but even a tear. Sprinkle a little happy dust on everything everyday.
The video below is a video I made myself. This trip was my first trip after all these struggles. The lyrics and the beauty of the islands gave me the ultimate feeling of happiness and power.
Tool or technique that helps Charly on daily basis:
Smile and be proud.
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Written by: Charly (31)
Turn moments into memories.
Favorite motivational video: