I often think about how strange life can turn out. 11 years ago I was probably getting into a wetsuit and about to dive into the Great Barrier Reef. A few years earlier I was drinking blueberry shots on a Greek island with Mariette, a few years after that I was on another island outside the Italian coast looking out the views from Europe’s highest volcano with my youngest sister Julia. I spent my 30’th in London after that my sister Sonya tricked me going there and my loving family also came and surprised me. The following year we visited the impressive Acropolis in Athens, celebrating my sister Jonna’s 30th.  Years before that, me and Josefine rented a very questionable apartment in Egypt. We took the obligatory pictures in front of the pyramids and the Sphinx of Giza. I’ve also been to Bangkok and found out what a ping pong show is… and I’ve had my best gastronomical experience in a Michelin star awarded restaurant in Budapest with Marie. I’ve watched the Swan lake ballet in Tallinn and listened to the bells that played fairytale-like tunes while taking an evening walk down the streets of Bruges’s old town with Timmy. I’ve discovered the epic nightlife in Liverpool with Mairead, Alison, Tara, Niall and Kelly. I’ve had drinks on a rooftop bar in a fancy hotel in Barcelona, together with my childhood besties Marie, Mariette and Amanda. I’ve also experienced very dark sides of life, a man got hit by a car and flew across a busy road in Cairo and nobody came to his rescue… the traffic there is insane, nobody’s keeping inside the “lanes”. The man had clearly injured his leg after it got squashed by the car. We couldn’t cross to help him or we would have been lying down next to him. Nobody cared. It was as if he wasn’t worth helping. It happened outside The four season’s hotel, a very visual scene of the contrast between the rich and the poor. Another time I was in court after witnessing a shooting. The guy was lucky to survive. I was 16 years of age. Some years ago I struggled to close my front door as a stranger aggressively pulled it and tried to get in, I was late coming home after a night out in Limerick and I didn’t notice that the man behind me was in fact following me. He pulled my door as I was about to close it. He was demanding a cup of coffee... I’m not sure if that was the real reason why he was so adamant to come in... I got away that time after I lied and said that my boyfriend was inside… Once I used violence too... Myself and two friends lured a girl out from her class and pushed, threatened and shouted the worst kind of words to her. She had bullied and tormented my sister for years. I don’t even regret it. I’ve traveled a lot and had many experiences. The vast majority of them were very happy ones. Some of them weren’t. Once I heard a doctor telling me I have cancer. Once I started a treatment, got fitted and strapped onto a hard table, hearing the buzzing from the beams of radiation going through my brain. There were specialists watching everything through a window from inside a control room. There was an intercom so that I could be in contact with them. Even if the radiation went into my brain like a machinegun it didn’t hurt.. I couldn’t even feel it. Each session only took a few short minutes. I started my first course of chemo that same week. These treatments became my everyday job for six weeks. My duty in the army. I was a soldier defending my own body in the war against a cancerous tumor.  It wasn’t the kind of chemo that makes you lose hair, but they had already shaved my head before the surgeries. My sister Jonna helped me style whatever was left of it in a way so that the bald patches wouldn’t show. It was the radio that made me lose my hair. “I haven’t lost any hair!”  I said to one of the nurses. Being hopeful that it mightn’t happen to me. “It’s only been a week… you will lose it Vanessa, in the next week or so.” I stopped brushing my hair, thinking that if I didn’t pull the hair out of the roots it could last.. At least for a little bit longer. Watching my hair falling off was the last straw. Losing fistfuls of hair day by day until it was gone was heartbreaking. It’s even difficult to write about. Watching my femininity go (as I felt). Feeling so ugly. Not wanting to look at myself in the mirror. Having to walk in to a wig shop to pick out something that would remind me of me. Some people take the bullet and have their hair shaved off before watching it slowly but surely fall off. I wasn’t that brave. Some people say Fuck cancer and gracefully place a scarf around their heads. I couldn’t. I hated the wig. I hated my hideous head with no hair. For a long time I hated myself and what this illness had done to me. In the grand scheme of things you might wonder what a bit of hair matter… It grows back again. It did eventually, but in that moment.. It was a very, very sad thing having to deal with.. Maybe the whole fucking thing about the brain tumor had been too hard to take in at first, and it all broke out and overwhelmed me as the hair fell off and proved to me that this is real, this is happening to me. Writing about this, thinking back on this has by far been the worst thing... It still makes me cry. The radio made me dizzy for months. I woke up every morning feeling as if I’ve just come off a rollercoaster. The brain swells after a lot of radio. I had to take cortisone for a long period of time to ease the swelling. Cortisone retains fluids and it made my face double its size... took months for it to come down again. The chemo drained me. Half asleep. Half awake.. Too tired for Netflix. I’ve been treated with cytostatic drugs for a very long time now. It was getting easier as time passed... it was actually fine. A bit exhausting... But to be completely honest, a bad hangover is a lot worse… Don’t want to be a party-pooper but...  when alcohol is making you feel worse than what drugs made to kill cancer does..It makes at least me reconsider that third glass of wine.It’s definitely difficult but also not as bad as the Hollywood movies sometimes features it. (… well for me.. it’s of course very individual how people feel and react to chemo, radio, cancer or any other difficult illness) However, having said that about hangovers, nothing quite beats a cold beer on a warm summer’s day! I don't care if it hurts I want to have control I want a perfect body I want a perfect soul I want you to notice when I'm not around You're so fuckin' special I wish I was special But I'm a creep I'm a weirdo What the hell am I doing here? I don't belong here (Radiohead-Creep)