by Masako, Japan
Born and bred in a family of a military cadre, I had been very self-confident from childhood. Ever since elementary school, I had been an honors student, and naturally, I went to a selective junior middle school and high school. Also, certificates of merit were stacked in piles in my home. After graduating with honors from high school, I was admitted to a military academy of higher learning with the male-female ratio 20 to 1, and received a high-level education and strict military training there. With these successes, I confidently believed that my destiny was in my hand.
After graduation from the college, I joined a foreign company easily, and then became the focus of its cultivation on account of my family, educational background, and personal achievements. At that time, an elder accountant who had many years’ work experience was always pecking at me. Nevertheless, by my own efforts, I was soon approved by the leader, who put me in charge of the general accounting department half a year later. Again, I used my ability to testify that I could control my own destiny.
After a year, I gave up the well-paying job to study in Japan. My choice was then incomprehensible to both my family and friends, who deemed it unnecessary for me to study abroad and suffer hardships now that I had such a good job. However, I believed that so long as I worked hard, I could be adept at living wherever I went. Work-study life was surely austere, yet I never asked my family for even a cent. When my 6-year life of study was over, I successfully got my degree, at the head of the international students. Since my graduation, whichever company I worked in, both my capacity and attitude had been approved by its leadership. And some companies said that later they would continue to recruit the Chinese students who studied in Japan, even though they had unfavorable impression on Chinese students. These achievements even more strengthened my belief: I can control my own fate, and nothing is impossible if I depend on myself.
In the second half of 2014, I was already a mother of two children. One day, there was a continuous feeling of discomfort and stinging sensation in my left breast. After that it still pained occasionally, yet fully occupied, I couldn’t afford the time for a checkup in the hospital. One day, when seeing that I was massaging my breast for pain, my child cried loudly and asked me, scared, “Mom, have you got breast cancer? I don’t wanna lose you.” I didn’t know then where a seven-year-old child had heard of breast cancer and even knew that it was fatal; but all of a sudden, I felt frightened: Have I really got cancer? Am I dying soon? At this moment, my children cried and I cried with them. Looking at my little children, I told myself: I can’t die, absolutely can’t. Thus, I decided to go for an examination.
The next day, sitting in the streetcar alone, I felt both lonely and unsettled, my vision blurred by tears time after time. It seemed as if all the noise of the moment had subsided and I could hear and see nothing, It was all worry and fear within me: What if it’s really breast cancer? What is to become of my children? After arriving at the hospital, I felt all the more inexpressibly desolate and scared.
After an ultrasound check, I seated myself on a bench in the corridor alone, waiting for the result. I was so desirous yet also afraid to get it that my heart suffered bouts of torments. After a short while, it finally came out. The doctor told me, “The growth is benign, but at the position where you feel pain, there appears a vesicular tissue that is to become malignant anytime. It will always be inside you and keep growing. Granted that it remains benign all along, it must be removed surgically when reaching the length of over 3cm.” I was stunned by the words as if sentenced to death. Nevertheless, I, competitive, would not easily give in to anything but would strive to reverse the result. So I asked the doctor, “How to have it cured? What shall I do?” The doctor replied, “You can do nothing but have it removed when it grows up. Come back for a check in six months.” At his words, I was very angry, thinking to myself: What do you mean by nothing? One can take medicine while he has a cold, and accept chemotherapy when he gets cancer. How come that there’s nothing I can do about my illness?
Despite that the doctor said so, I couldn’t just wait. After getting home, I borrowed various medical books and materials from the library to learn about the sickness, and turned to the Internet for its cure. I even studied knowledge involved in breast cancer for several successive days without sleep, wishing to study medicine to have myself cured. After a long struggle, when I found that the answer I got was no different than the doctor’s, a sense of desolation and dread pulsed through me, yet I still did not give up. I thought: My family had connections with so many specialists, and good hospitals; there must be someone that can offer me a therapy. Thus, with all my contacts, I went to consult and see some authoritative specialists, yet only to get the same answer: There’s no effective therapy but waiting. With all my efforts actually repaid with such a result, I felt desperate and helpless. For me, the answer of waiting was much crueler than the sickness. I felt myself really sentenced to death this time, and felt for the first time the sense of helplessness in my heart.
I, haunted by fear, did not know how to face every day. When busily engaged, I forgot that I was a patient; yet when in pain, I was besieged by fears, wondering whether the vesicles were deteriorating or growing. Those days seemed just like a year to me.
One day in 2015, Xiaoyang, the mother of my daughter’s classmate, preached the to me and gave me a book. Although I did not decline, yet influenced by atheism from childhood, I simply regarded belief in God as a kind of religious faith. Therefore, in my contact with her, I made no mention of my illness.
Half a year passed and I was going to have a second checkup. Several days before that, I became agitated and kept thinking: What if the vesicular tissue really becomes malignant? And what is to become of my children? … Then the result was out; the doctor pointed at the sonogram and said, “Here’s a comparatively big vesicular tissue. Its size has been doubled and the cells are fairly cloudy. Judging from my years of clinical experience, it isn’t a good sign. We must abstract the living cells for analysis at once.” Then, I was made to lie on the sickbed, waiting to have my breast punctured for abstracting the cells. I lay there with tears streaming down from the corners of my eyes; the loneliness and helplessness within my heart were beyond description. I felt suddenly: I really can’t save myself! The instant the needle was introduced into my body, I tightly closed my eyes. At that moment, I truly felt that I was so weak and small, and that nothing I possessed could then harden me, much less save me from the torment of the illness. After the puncture was finished, the doctor asked me to come for the result a week later. A week is not a long time, but for one who is waiting for the diagnosis to figure out whether it is a cancer, it is so long and worrying. Every night when I lay down, I was occupied with the thoughts: Will I fall to cancer? Am I going to die? Never had I felt that death was actually so close to me, yet I could do nothing.