I will tell you now,
how it all happened.

I already sensed it at the end of 2019, when I felt that lump, that the shit is about to get real.

I didn’t catch the moment it grew there. You know, I didn’t pay that much attention to myself. And then I went to see the doctor. On February 4 I received a referral to an oncologist. It was the first alarm, when I realized – that’s it. Something new is about to begin.

A question

02/2020, diary

I wanted a change in my life, I needed it. I remember once, standing in a traffic jam, I talked to myself and said in despair – did I really need to get sick, so I could finally make a difference in my life. I didn’t have the courage to change anything, and I wasn’t strong enough to change myself. And then it happened.

Photo: Māris Ločmelis

My diagnosis was confirmed on March 4. A month passed of not knowing anything. That feeling is excruciating. It gets much easier, when you’re told. What relief and joy I felt, when I entered that consulting-room! I was simply fed up, four weeks, everyone is asking you, everyone is worried. I said – go ahead, say it right away.

And I said phew, and started laughing. That I finally knew, finally had some clarity. Imagine, it all happened at the very beginning of the emergency state, when everything was crumbling. I had the surgery, if I recall right, on March 25. After that I recovered quickly, a couple of days and I was back in shape.

Photo: Māris Ločmelis

Post-surgery reflections

03/2020, diary

A few days after the surgery I was desperately waiting for that moment to arrive, when I would finally understand something, when that revelation that everyone always speak about comes to me – “And I understood, I look differently at everything…”

I didn’t feel, nor understand a thing. Each and every shock doesn’t guarantee that we will get smarter, stronger. We can live an entire lifetime and still remain fools.

And I started walking along the sea like crazy.

And while walking along the sea, I got an impulse.

I wanted to do something with my hair, as the chemotherapy was inevitable. I would loose my hair anyway. I wanted to do something with it myself, before it happens.

Year 1998
Year 2020

Episode 1

It is time to say good-bye


watch now →

Snake. Hair.

04/2020, diary

Just as snakes shed their skin and deer shed their horns, it's time for me to shed my hair and instead grow something new, something strong, something true.

two years of my previous life and chemo cap, my reliable companion

I thought that my hair would fall out straight away, but hell no.

In total, I had six chemos at three-week intervals. The first was on April 30, and the last on August 20. Hair started falling out after the second chemotherapy. Fell like snow, in pieces, in areas, until at one point I had lost half, and I just shaved them.

Sudden rage at the seashore

04/2020, diary

I have this funny feeling, suddenly like cotton in my head, I can’t understand if it’s all really happening to me? I am standing in the sea with a fluffy microphone, talking about having cancer and all those thoughts of mine… Is this really happening to me? This cannot be real.

drawing by daughter Anna Luize

A course of chemotherapy means going to Stradins hospital, picking up a number and waiting in a line.

I had 6 courses – 3 courses with one medication, and 3 courses with another. And those first 3 courses… Do you know what an Aperol Spritz looks like? That's the colour that went inside me.

And then I peed the same colour out. The red chemistry, that’s its nickname.

A month break after the chemo, then radiation for a month and a half. Every day at the same time. Went to it like to work, it seems some 25 times. You cannot be late, my nurse once truly made sure I understood it.

And for the next 5 years, a tablet per day – it’s called hormone therapy.

Photo: Māris Ločmelis

Very controversial reflections

03/2020, diary

OK, now I’m going to say something really controversial. I am somehow glad that it has happened to me, that I have finally had this push. That I have finally been given a chance. To think more, to look deeper into yourself and to make some life choices. It’s not that you have to get sick to change something, definitely not… But what if it is the only option. Maybe it’s not so bad after all?

I finally feel,
as they say, happier. Somewhat a little happier, you know.

See, how I look. Look at my hair.

I never felt so good with those shitty long hair, as much as I do now, when looking in the mirror.


06/2020, diary

On a sunny summer day, sitting in an outdoor cafe, drinking coffee, I feel great. I am in some kind of recovery process of mine, but someone comes and bothers me. Asks, if I have heard of apple seeds, that they help against cancer. Oh, but actually, that relative of his died after all. Fuck… I was chilling here, you know.

birthday gift from my daughter Anna Luize

I know that everything will be fine, I believe that everything will be fine.

It is impossible to survive this period with other thoughts. Of course, there are days, when it seems to be the end of the world. But there are also days that are beautiful, in which I am really happy.

And this evening is like that. I am happy.

Paula Tisenkopfa

Photo: Māris Ločmelis

Let’s talk?

Maybe you have something to say now. Maybe you or one of your relatives is going through a similar experience right now – if you are willing, drop me a line.