Non classé

The Bad Day

Depression is something strange, among many, many other things. The more I live with it, the stranger it gets.

I’m happy. I’m at a place where I do things that I love, I am taking time to find my true calling and to write, I have exceptional friends and a soul family I adore, and I have a few connections with people that are beyond magical. Supernatural in its various and different facettes makes me the happiest I have been in a very long time. And, on top of all of this, there’s my convention baptism that is just around the corner, and that makes me dizzy with joy, anticipation and excitement. Things are good. I am more than okay despite a few minor setbacks from surgery and I am enjoying how my new self look. I am content with my own self inside and out.

And yet.

However good things are overall, depression likes to rule over your life even in your best days.

I have lows. Lows are more and more easy to manage because I know when they are here and I know I have to triple down my own efforts to fight them. But I can detect when I am on a downward path to my own hellhole. Lows aren’t my problem, currently. Maybe they aren’t anymore. Maybe they are just taming themselves, kicked down by Jared’s immeasurable advices and good words that are working miracles on my cracks.

Highs can be tricky. They are because they will eventually induce crashing down moments and those are traitors. I enjoy highs because they make life so much better, but I am cautious around them. I have a strong handle on them anyway. I am learning day in, day out how to turn highs into solid and constant elevations rather than irregular and vaguely menacing spikes.

It’s the in between that is the hardest part. And it is the longest, most common, almost routine side of my existence. Some are good days. Some are bad days. None of those are really dangerous. They just…Are.

Today has been and still is one of those. Full disclosure : the Winchesters have been called and are on their way home. Which means that in a little while, I won’t be focusing on myself and the gaps and holes and tears and cracks in my soul because they will gently (or not so gently) soothe it and make me see beyond my own fights and my own wins and my own losses, and they will remind me how much of a warrior I have to be to be there and be strong and be aware of my friend’s pains and struggles and give my time and my energy and to keep my head way, way above the dark waters. Supernatural is my safe haven. My good place. My happy place. My own, private heaven.

But it doesn’t erase the progress I make even during those weird, badly outlined days. And how aware I am of my own triggers, and the things that will set me in an anxiety path and wake up little demons no one but me can salt away.

My biggest anxiety lately is the fear of being left away, overlooked, forgotten when I am away. The fear of not being missed. I suppose that it had been fed off my health scare (“terror” is a more fitting word, actually) and the concern you suddenly have, when facing your potential demise, that soon enough, nobody will miss you anymore and your name will be lost in the winds of a vague memory people won’t even be sure they didn’t created, rather than it existed. So, when I feel like I am being ignored by the false pretenses of a twitter setting or that my opinions are ignored or dismissed in the flow of the conversations, it pains me a lot more than it should. And I know that rather than letting the light show through my cracks, it shows the opposite. The fear and the pettiness and the selfishness and the neediness and everything I fight all year long. But that is the way this disease crawls back in, fragment of dust by fragment of dust. I am fine, I am good, but I know it is a fight that never stops and that those dust powders needs to be acknowledged in order to sweep them out.

Depression is like the abusive relationship you can’t seem to get rid of. You never let it come in the first place but once it is there, you let it question your every move and every thought and you let it convince you that you don’t exist outside of that permanently shrinking realm. There is no running away, no fleeing it on a dare. It will eventually find you back. On nothing. On a poorly worded sentence, on a badly managed sleep pattern, on a loss of a favorite sports team or on a troll trying to breathe hate, on a difference of opinion you wrongly feel is targeted at you, or on wishing you could be closer to the people who matter. It can use anything to twist your emotions and make you feel useless and emotional and like your own pace is either to slow or too fast to catch on the world’s. I am finding my pace. It just isn’t the same each day and I have to adapt myself to my own self each day, and to what version of myself is allowed for public consumption, and what version isn’t.

It is a learning curve. You can not kick depression like you would, say, a demon tablet-sized tumor. You go under, you get cut wide open, and someone with skills take out the problem, and when you wake up, it is only a question of when you will be able to walk back from it on your own two feet and to breathe easy and to build whatever you want to build from that point on. It leaves a scar only, however big. A trace of a fight long gone. It’s not possible to surgically remove depression. And at times…And often, actually, I wish it were. Because it is easier to explain to people. Because you have a scary, terrifying procedure to prove how brave you are to handle this. Because once it’s gone, it’s gone. Because there are physical proofs that something is wrong with you. A scan picture. An ultrasound video. Numbers on a blood test result. Appointments and meds and injections and painkillers and tubes and nurses and the all-too common hospital journey. It is palpable. At best, with the toughest of mental illnesses downfalls, you get medicated beyond measure and overlooked as the weak creature whose problems can’t be handled.

Depression is a sad mistress. A fake friend. And such a hard, lonely, unsafe path. Despite the encouraging liberation of the narrative around it, and how more and more and more and more people get inspired to tell their stories, and that, all of a sudden the whole world realizes that everyone knows someone, be it a close kin or the person in the mirror, it is still a poorly lit tunnel with no end in sight. I do hope that it is about to evolve, and that all those people inspiring others to open up and own their stories, however broken and messy they could be, are hints that this path won’t be as hard to travel as it currently is. I am hopeful. I am optimistic. I do believe this is not an end in itself. And that one day, I will be fully aware that I didn’t bring it on myself. That I am worth the time and the efforts and the emotions and the engagement and the worries. That it won’t keep me up at night that people doesn’t really appreciate who I am, or that I am too peculiar to be more than tolerated.

It is just one of those days. I’m fine. I’m fighting.

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Non classé

Alpha Kilo Foxtrot (and how I became my own super-heroine)

My best friend and I had a quite nice conversation this week end. Her birthday and mine are a day apart, and she playfully asked me whether I was sure of what I want this year. Playfully, because it’s set in stone for quite some time now.

Months, actually.

I’m not really keen on making a big deal out of my own birthday. Or any deal whatsoever, actually. I’ve never been celebrated as a child, and I’ve never really felt the urge of changing it as an adult. It’s just the day I was born, and that’s about it.

This year, however, things are going to be different. I’m going to embrace those 24 hours and make them mine and mine only, and I’m totally getting an outrageously expensive present. I have a lot to celebrate.

Being alive, for instance.

Sounds like a good reason.

 

A month ago today, I watched the sun rise for the first time in a long time, after a sleepless night. I usually like sunrises, they remind me of younger days spent camping in front of concert venues for Muse. I’ve done that quite a few times. Muse’s front row are are demanding like that. Wembley stadium, Glastonbury, Rock In Rio, and about every single European stadium, a few times over.

I didn’t like this sunrise. I didn’t like it at all. For all I knew, it could have been the last one I’d ever see. December 15th, 2017. I had been dreading this day for weeks, and the self-inflicted terror of the absolute unknown worn me out in ways I couldn’t even fathom.

All I could think about that morning was one thing : I wanted to see many, many, many more sunrises. After a harrowing fight against depression and suicidal thoughts, I had changed my mind entirely.

I wanted to live.

I had to live.

***

Early August. I had to be rushed to the E.R for a mind-numbing pain in my lower-left abdomen, and got brilliantly misdiagnosed with the dumbest UTI they could find. I knew that something really, really wrong was happening to me. And, true to myself, I buried that feeling as deep as I could. Oh, I’m good at that. And if a bunch of doctors don’t see the need of giving me an ultrasound when I am barely conscious because of levels of pain I wouldn’t inflict on the worst person in the world, they’re probably in their right minds not to.

Naturally, regardless to the depth of the burial of my uneasy feeling, the pain kept on coming and going, and pretty much forced me to arrange my life around it. I was terrified, but when nothing is palatable, real, or exist on scan pictures, I can brush it off fairly easy. And I did. Time and time and time again. My GP forced me to get the overdue ultrasound anyway, and on a wet, rainy Thursday morning, I lay down on the cold examination table and hoped beyond hope for nothing life-altering to happen.

Late October. All I could think about not to drive myself insane with fear was a thrilling story about two brothers, an angel, Lucifer’s son and a really, really cool car. Thursday meant new episode. I had that to look forward to. It helped. A lot. But as my mind was drifting away to Lebanon, Kansas, I couldn’t help noticing the absolute lack of sound whatsoever, beside the distant echoes of my worried heart on the ultrasound screen.

When doctors are silent, it’s never a good sign. Something was going totally off the rails, I could tell it. I begged for explanations, they were elusive at best. My head was dizzy with fear, and my heart was pounding in anger. It’s my body, for Chuck’s sake, talk to me, tell me what is that huge, scary white mass devouring the entirety of the screen.

It lasted for the longest twenty minutes of my life. Complete, absolute silence paused by occasional expressions of surprise and concern only, and when he was done, he simply told me I had to have a CT scan ASAP. He wasn’t gonna explain to me what exactly caused that conclusion until I pressed him, as my eyes were filling with tears and my throat felt too tight to even breathe.

-I’ve found an 11 inches tumor.

Oh.

And for the first time of my life, I understood exactly how Rick Grimes felt in the pilot of The Walking Dead, when Morgan knocks him out with the shovel. However, had I got a shovel myself, there, I would probably have gone full-on homicidal on that asshole of a doctor. I can do a lot of damages with a simple shovel. I’d have painted the walls in red, Supernatural-style.

The only problem with anger when you’ve been on the receiving end of, basically, the worst-case scenario news you really really thought couldn’t happen, is that it doesn’t last. Anger is warm, visceral, it’s alive. It wore off instantly, to a much, much less pulsating mind-numbing fear. I could feel the heaviest weight on my shoulders, and everything around me looked eerie, as if either too real or not real enough.

Very, very quickly, I was showered with appointments and papers to fill and answers to give to the people who were casually asking about how it went and send you hearts and kisses emoji, completely unaware of the fact that you now know that you are ticking time bomb. “They found something but I’m pretty sure it’s nothing”.

Yeah, right. Say it again for the ones in the back.

The CT scan was scheduled for early November. 14 days. Three times faster than the average waiting time for an average appointment.

Two weeks is a long, long time when your number one talent is developing awfully creative worst-case scenarios out of E V E R Y T H I N G.

Massive tumor inside of my body ? My brain had a field day. Days. Plural.

I was trying to worm my way out of the gloom by pretending I was fine and fighting and pretty sure everything would be just fine and we’ll be fine and it all was going to be fine and yeah, I’m fine. Lie, on top of another lie, on top of a pile of lies. There was something terrifying in admitting out loud my own absolute vulnerability. Supernatural worked marvels on my mental health, even in the middle of fandom drama I would have happily ignored. Funny how trying to attack my boys really, really shifted back my focus to…Well, not me, and how getting involved in erasing the bile stains really helped me keeping my head above the sea level.

I wasn’t confident about how destructive the whole thing was going to be, on the psychological side. I was barely out of the woods after my early 2017 row with depression, and this level of terror was already eating away at my newly built walls. My bus trip to the hospital on the morning of the CT scan showed to me that I was on the verge of crumbling, and that I was nowhere near strong enough to fight off the tears.

Upside of having Jared Padalecki as your phone lock screen (full disclosure : he’s my background picture too) ( yeah, I know, shocker) : when you’re about to fall prey to the claws of a full-on panic attack monster, guy’s good at reminding you of three letters that can make a major difference. AKF, anyone ? It hit me hard. Hard enough to make me swallow back my tears, keep my trembling hands steady and chin up. You never really measure up your own fighting ressources, and your true allies until you really need them to have your back.

Wherever he was that morning, Jared became my biggest ally, and the one thing I would be able to blindly rely on any time I would feel weaker. He didn’t let me down. Not once.

The scan in itself is harmless, if not for the injection of a contrast product that set my insides on fire for a couple of seconds. The noise is overwhelming at times, but it went spectacularly well. My smile was back in full force, and I didn’t flinched once waiting for the results. As far as they could see, nothing was screaming “cancer” out loud, but the tumor was so big, it was impossible to get a clear diagnosis out of simple images.

You, my friend, are headed straight for the O.R.

Three days later, I met my surgeon. The laughters coming from the waiting room ? Yep, they were mine. I don’t remember why precisely, regardless to the fact that I was in an oncology ward. Better safe than sorry, apparently, but thanks for the cold sweats every time the word “cancer” would pop up…About everywhere.

As charismatic and warm as the doctor was, the whole thing looked rigged from the get-go. Within ten minutes, the best case scenario, a simple one-hour intervention and a massive 14 inches scar all the way across my belly, was pushed aside, and I was fed the grim, bloody and scary details of a five-hour organ harvest if anything on my tumor showed any sign whatsoever malignancy. And all the possibilities in between, none of which were remotely hopeful. We talked of potential pluri-disciplines meetings, of the consequences it would have on my day-to-day life, how it would change everything about everything, how others surgeries were to be considered, how chemotherapy treatment would happen in another hospital,  and radiotherapy in a third one, and it took me a monumental strength not to run away screaming.

We scheduled surgery for Friday, December 15th, and he blocked his whole afternoon for me.

I wasn’t flattered.

The flow of informations I received afterwards was swallowing me whole like a goddamn flash flood. Appointments with a cancer nurse, with the anesthesiologist, with the lab to get a full blood work, with the admission desk of the hospital, and I went home with a strict order to drink three Bricks Of Liquid Hell per day to increase my calories intake by a thousand and make sure my body would be strong enough to handle it all. My free will, at this point, was a non-existing thing for the time being, and my body wasn’t really mine anymore. I was a walking, talking tumor, and one big enough to make the front page of Medical Freak magazine.

Three letters, Axy. Three letters.

The cancer nurse was extremely kind. She still gave me a fancy transparent ring binder with a “chemo” tab on it. As I froze in terror, she quickly hid it under a little blue-inked cloud of faked lightness. You’re not a cancer patient yet, she said. I missed the first few words and kept on hearing her “yet” dancing around my head. She told me that to materialize my fight against the tumor, I should maybe name her.

Ruby was the one name that came out instantly. Gen, I love you and you’re a light in a dark, dark world, but Ruby had it coming.

Ruby it was.

The anesthesiologist was Harry Potter. No, I mean it. A middle-aged Daniel Radcliffe, glasses and all. The scar only was missing. I was hoping for a Winchester, but I’d settle happily for a wizard. “Did they told you about the needle we’re going to drill through your spine ?”. No, they didn’t. Apparently, good ol’morphine ain’t so good, so instead, epidural is the way to go. Awesome. No, really, thrilling.

In France, your anesthesia risks are assessed on a scale of one to four, one being the patients who are going to do ok, to four being those whose mortality is heavily considered.

I’m a three.

Oh.

 

Providing nothing really, really wrong happens, I’d have to stay at least six days, in the best-case scenario option, hospitalized. The other cases were spreading across ten, twelve, fifteen days.

Christmas.

New Year’s Eve.

Half of the stay would happen in ICU, possibly more.  It’s a pretty big terminology, ICU. Intensive Care Unit. Bloody semantics. My reasonably messed up brain kept on putting one picture over that idea, and one picture only : Sam in the season nine premiere. The one episode I can’t watch because it is unbearable to see him like that, to the point of being physically painful. Not helping, brain. Not helping at all.

Those parallels, however tragic, kept on increasing my love for the character.

Early December. It’s a joint effort from Jared and Sam to keep me sane. The clock is ticking, and I am unable to project myself beyond December 15th anymore. Which sucks, because I’m five months from my first convention, and ten from my first time in Canada. Supposedly. I don’t even know what I’m allowed to hope for.

Staying alive at all costs sounds about right.

And by all costs, I mean it. If it has to be a cancer, then bring it on. I’m ready, I can take it, I have no choice.

There’s nothing stranger than beginning a new year by wanting to die, and finishing it with the strongest will to live. At times, it felt like I had it coming. As if, for some obscure reasons, crawling back from the hellhole that depression is wasn’t enough of an insanely tough fight in itself. My brain worked miracles, in the last few days before surgery. That thing can pull out fabulous stunts in self harm and guilt.

Thankfully, the last convention of the year was webcast, and so, for a week end, my brain and I called a truce. I authorized myself to become a normal fan back again, and to put on hold the pile of steaming terror I was sitting on. Gil and Jake were brilliant, David was magical, Richard, Rob and Matt were amazing, Misha was hilarious, and for a change, Jared and Jensen were too good to be true, and had me going from laughter tears to the purest level of overwhelm.

The minute they left the stage, I broke down, unable to take any of it anymore.

I begged a god that doesn’t even exist to let me experience this just once for real. Just. Once. I prayed my dead father, the one I never knew, the one I need to believe look out for me from afar, the one that’s my own, private St Jude to make sure I’d get to live long enough for it.

I wasn’t even bargaining for a full life.

I was bargaining for Birmingham, and Birmingham only.

 

***

 

The last few days were a nightmare. The closest I got, the worse I felt. The pain I was in was unbearable, and none of the known painkillers could do anything for me. And I still had to take the Bricks Of Liquid Hell three times per day, outside of the meals in order not to puke them out. Awesome. Vomiting sounded great, on top of everything else. It was awful. Imagine the texture of snot, with a taste halfway through fish and orange juice / vanilla.

At times, I was growing convinced that the main aim of those damn bricks were to make me so miserable I would actually want not to wake up.

As dark as it was, my sense of humor was among the last few things that were still entirely mine.

From early December on, my diary was the keeper of things I wished I never had to write. A letter, addressed to my three-letter captain, and a sheet of useful numbers in case things went wrong and some people I had to leave behind had to be informed of my passing. I left instructions, too. As hellbent as I was on refusing any form of agressive therapy in desperate cases prior to that, I changed my mind entirely and wanted them to try every-fucking-thing to bring me back even in the most hopeless scenario. Including angel possession. And should the worst happen, I wanted my ashes to be scattered across Glastonbury’s pyramid stage field. Let me haunt the living fuck out of the happiest place in the world. Since a part of me forever belongs there, the Winchesters won’t even be able to hunt me down. That’ll teach them, and give them a perfect opportunity to get a week end off.

I also told my best friend that she HAD to attend the conventions anyway. There needed to be some good out of this, and it was a real relief when she promised she would.

In a strange turn of events, the very last episode I watched before the surgery was “The End”. I fought hard not to make it more of an omen than it was.

I failed.

 

***

 

And so the sun rose, on Friday morning. I was exhausted, both physically and mentally. I had reached the outer limits of what my mind was capable to take.

The sky was wonderful. A stunning canvas of purples, oranges and pinks, threatened by a big grey cloud. The metaphor was ridiculous. Tears were non-stop, that morning. The more I tried to fight them off, the heavier they get.

Leaving the flat was tricky. The walls at home are covered with pictures of Sam, Dean, Castiel & co., and if not the characters, then it’s the actors. Everywhere. It is our safe space, and having them within eyeshot from anywhere I stand in the apartment is something that’s comforting beyond words. I was so close to fall into pieces, as I stood in front of season 12’s poster, trying to find something inside of me strong enough to keep me away from going insane for good.

I did find it. Three letters, always and forever.

On the road to the hospital, we saw a double rainbow. As far as good omen goes, this one takes the cake.

Breathe, Axy. You’ll be fine. There’s no other acceptable narrative. You’re a fighter and you

got

this.

I can always count on my phone’s background picture to take the fight over when I’m not capable of doing it anymore. Jared, how am I even gonna be able to repay you for all of that ?

Hospital rooms are depressing. It’s like they’re making them gloomy and ugly on purpose. Just to make sure you won’t stay any longer than you need to. It took me about twelve seconds to get my paperback copy of Family Don’t End With Blood and the special edition of Entertainment Weekly on the table. First couple of mentions from the nurses of “the patient who love that show with the pretty boys”. Really, ladies, they aren’t THAT pretty.

The day took a strange turn, afterwards. To adjust whatever drugs they were going to give me, they had to get my exact weight. And scales aren’t exactly my best friends. On top of everything, I lost about seventy pounds from summer 2017 on, but had been stuck for a while at the same weight. Well, not anymore : fifteen more pounds shed in three weeks. This made me way happier than it should. Way, way, way happier. With any luck, if Ruby was heavy enough, I’d reach the 100-pounds milestone sometime soon (spoiler alert : she was).

I had a good cry with one of the nurses, who was everything but helpful in telling me that in my position, anyone would break down and that it must have been awfully hard to handle it all. Thanks, lady, but you’re supposed to tell me that everything is going to be ok. Lie if you have to.

They gave me something fizzy and orange-y to drink, and a pill to swallow with it that was supposed to take care of my anxiety. Right. That was right about when my phone started to vibrate every other minute with beautiful messages from my beloved Supernatural family, coming from every corner of the globe, piling on my twitter notifications. I was surrounded with more love than I’ve ever felt in my entire life. Supernatural was already pushing me to the winning side of this fight.

And then the Xanax kicked in.

Niiiiiiiicely.

Probably a little too nicely, actually.

I don’t suppose that calling one of the O.R nurse “completely fuckable” (that’s the closest translation I could find) when he’s still around is the epitome of “smooth”. Oh, and the very last thing I did before being walked down to the operating room ? Buying another photo op with Jared for Birmingham.

The third one. At this rate, it’s going to turn into a full-on meet and greet.

IMG-4821

Getting ready for the O.R. meant wearing this thing. I look like I’m about to go to some kind of super cool party downstairs. I can’t believe my own face.

I joked with everyone down there. Since I’m extremely nearsighted and had to leave my glasses with my best friend upstairs, everyone was too blurry for me to identify, or to sort out, gender-wise. Confusing. But fun.

Harry Potter bailed on me, and so, instead, I got a John LaRoquette lookalike. Still no Winchesters, this hospital suck. Okay, John. I like you. You’re cool. It’s fine by me. I got hooked to a three-bag I.V. before I even understood how, and within minutes, without any pain whatsoever, John successfully epiduraled the fuck out of this bitch. My language was colorful enough to remain acceptable while still making them all laugh. So far, I was handling it like a goddamn queen.

Of the O.R. in itself, I remember close to nothing. I think I’ve recognized my surgeon…Mayyybe. To be honest, I was high as a kite at this point of the afternoon, and I really couldn’t give a damn about anything anymore.

Last conscious thought ?

Guess.

 

***

 

The next conscious thought was messy and painful and ugh. Waking up from this weird anesthesia cloud  is like having an out-of-body experience. The first ten minutes were disconcerting and scary, and I have a very distinct memory of a nurse that wasn’t very patient with me and asked me to keep quiet because there were other people waking up from other surgeries. I wasn’t exactly shouting, I was just saying that I felt wrong. Repeatedly, I suppose. Nothing is clear. I just remember distinctively that it wasn’t fair, and the feeling was overwhelming. It was wrong.

Pain quickly disappeared, thanks to my BFF the epidural, but I was still feeling…Like my body wasn’t mine anymore. Back then, the angel possession theory was surprisingly comforting. I was loopy. And resumed back the light talking with everyone, including Lilith. Turns out Lilith’s real name was Axelle. Same as mine. I mentally revoked her membership from the club of the cool Axelles.

I completely forgot that I had no idea yet of what had been done to me, and when my surgeon’s head popped out of nowhere (attached to his body, I suppose) with a great big smile, I felt the strongest relief I’ve ever felt. I was under for 45 minutes and it was a textbook operation, with zero complications and no reasons whatsoever to worry it might be anything else than a stupid ovarian cyst. I lost an ovary in the process, but this was the least of my concerns. Ruby was 11x9x10 inches, weighed over ten pounds, and was definitely the attraction of the day, week, month, possibly year.

Smile for the camera, Ruby, you’re famous. Dead, but famous. We were still in need of definite results, to come in early January, but I was far too relieved to actually worry even so slightly about it.

Apparently, as my best friend inquired about what was happening, someone told her that I was doing good and was joking with everyone already. I have very few memories of said jokes, and I’m mildly concerned I might have said inappropriate things here and there. Knowing my somewhat dirty mind, it’s a possibility.

When I finally got my phone back, I had 32 messages of all sorts. I was overwhelmed by the love and the absolute beauty of this fandom, and for the first time in my whole entire life, I felt at home. We might be dysfunctional, loud, and borderline insane, but the Supernatural family IS the best fandom in the world, no questions asked. Nothing can compete with it. Nothing.

The first look to my phone background picture post-surgery was the loveliest thing I have felt in a long time. I made it. He was with me all this time. And the hard part was over.

IMG-4818

I felt invincible, for a minute or two. As defeated as I looked, I was invincible.

In ICU, and despite the fact that I was hooked to a dozen of captors, tubes, and I.Vs, plus my BFF the epidural, I noticed that it was far less scary than television taught me to be. It’s just the most annoying place in the world where nurses wake you up every thirty minutes just to make sure that you’re ok.

Yeeesss I aaaammm, leeeet meeee sleeeeeep.

 

***

 

It took me 15 hours to stood up on my feet-on my own with barely any help-and 20 to walk up and down the corridors of the hospital. The physical therapy nurse laughed that at this rate, we’d go for a marathon the next day. Apparently, I wasn’t expected to walk before Monday morning.

Saturday noon, bitches. Saturday noon.

ICU nurses are easily more than a dozen, but all of them knew me right away as the Supernatural fan. Even those who had no clue whatsoever what Supernatural even was. It’s the one word I have heard the most, spoken by everyone. Granted, books and magazines and computer background pictures permanently on clearly helped. So, yeah…The Supernatural fan was my official designation. And I was more than happy about it.

There were a few whistles, a couple of “jeez, wish my husband was half as hot as any of those two”, a three of them actually asked me how they could catch back on the show. I kept for myself the number of seasons. Evil, I know.

I will forever regret that I am, at best, a mediocre photographer, because on Saturday night, as I was watching one episode from season nine on telly, I noticed that the lights of the scope monitoring my vitals reflected itself on the television screen.  This was the biggest, and most emotional metaphor for how good I was doing, and how hard I was fighting. I’m not always aware enough to grasp at life’s signs, wherever they are, but this one was, quite simply, perfect, and so, so right. I wish I could have captured it one way or another. As Sam was worried he’d never be fine at the end of the episode, I suddenly noticed I was more concerned for him than I was for myself back again, and in a weird, twisted way, everything was fine in the world.

I was out of the ICU in 36 hours, unplugged from the epidural in 40 hours, and free of any I.V in 48. I went for a twenty minutes walk with the physical therapy nurse on Sunday morning, and by Sunday noon, my surgeon told me I could go home on Monday.

Three days.

It took me three days.

I didn’t pushed myself. Well…Maybe a little. But not that much. Not consciously anyway. It was natural. I could do it, so I did it. I have a few people to credit for it, almost more than I have to credit myself. I had the unwavering support of my best friend, I had the Supernatural family who was, quite simply, ten flavors of fantastic and constantly surrounding me with care and love, and a three letters motto that possibly saved my life. I’d never have walked out of the hospital exactly 73 hours after the surgery (and with a 14 inches scar) if it wasn’t for everything Supernatural brought me, one way or another. It’s the most incredible bottomless pit of strength and happiness I’ve ever, ever, ever seen, and yes, I know that I’ve basically just said that watching the Winchester die time and time again kept me alive (…Oh boy, that is so wrong).

I spent my recovery halfway between a series rewatch, and time spent with my newly found community of fellow fans, most of whom became friends in weeks. I was supposed to keep quiet and calm and avoid stress at all costs, and so, to fulfill my doctor’s prescription, decided, after a conversation where the idea sparked with a friend, to create a hashtag to celebrate Jared, then Misha, then Jensen over a period of ten days each. I did the graphic thingy myself, and we launched it to a success bigger than we could possibly dream of. My tweet counter tool reached roughly 5K tweets in ten days, and that’s because my plan refuses to count over 5K. Stress and excitation costed me three stitches and three hours at the E.R. on Christmas Eve’s eve, but it was well worth it. The daily injection of anticoagulants was at worst a nuisance, and even when one side of the scar got infected, I ran away with a best-case scenario. My body did an extraordinary job.

I’m wonder woman. 

 

***

 

4 weeks later, I don’t think that I could possibly feel any better. I’m still a little tired, but I’ve walked two miles the other night without breaking a sweat. I was completely off painkillers in 5 days, and the blood tests results were stellar. Final results taught me that I’m 100% cancer free, which is about the best damn way to start the new year. My surgeon shooed me away and laughed that he never wants to see me ever again. I don’t even need a yearly scan or anything. I’m as healthy as it gets, and I have a lifetime ahead of me.

The real hard part is to put this all behind me. Things were so bad for several weeks, and then within a few days, they were good, then great. It’s disconcerting.  I’m not convinced that setting people for worst case scenarios really is the best thing to do. Sure, the relief is awesome. But the rift between fear and reality is hard to fix.

I learnt a lot about myself, and as strange as it may sound, I don’t think I’d change one bit the experience I’ve lived anyway. The darkest times taught me where to look for inspiration and what drastically increased my will to fight, and how to find it every time. It taught me that I’m a million times stronger than anything I would credit myself with. My recovery taught me that my body is magical in every possible way, and that it’s accomplishing miracles permanently. I’m completely blown away by my own ressources, both physically and mentally. I am walking up a path of self-love and acceptance, and for the first time in ages, whenever I see a mirror, I am not afraid of looking at myself. I actually like what I see. I’m fabulous, and it’s about time I understood it. We all are.

I grew up a whole, whole lot the past year. I place kindness on top of everything, even when I don’t feel like it, and it’s the best thing I could possibly do. I’ve learnt how not to get upset when stupid people are trying to vomit stupid arguments, and if sometimes it does sadden me, I’ve also learnt how to embrace those emotions and never be ashamed of it. All in all, I’m just embracing who I am, and I can’t actually believe that something so good would ever happen to me.

But if going through this taught me one invaluable thing, it’s how Supernatural is a million times bigger and better than just a simple, thriving show. It’s home to a group of phenomenal people that are so much more than just a bunch of actors. They’re a lifeline, and a force that is both unstoppable and inspiring. What they are bringing to this world is impossible to quantify, and neither is it to repay, but it doesn’t really keep them away from doing it day in, day out. They’ve created a fandom that is such an extraordinary home for so many of us, and hosts hundreds, thousands of friendships that, for most of them, are closer to brotherhood and sisterhood than it will ever be of anything else.

I’m proud of being a Supernatural fan. It’s the best damn thing that could possibly happen to me, and by far. It changed me to my core, in more ways than I can actually acknowledge.  I was aware of it before all that, but this certainly helped me focus on the things that matters, and those who are making a massive, major difference. And this one is a miracle. Never, ever let anyone tell you that loving a little TV show is silly. It can save your life.

This has also changed my relation to Sam, and ultimately, of course, to Jared. For once, I’m loving an artist that’s not just covering the noise inside of my head, but actually help me figuring it out and clean up the mess with me. That’s going to make for a very, very emotional Axy in a few weeks…

There’s no other plan I would settle down for. I’m definitely celebrating my 33rd birthday in a couple of months. Instagram-worthy cake, the exact number of candles, alcohol, and the best present I’ve ever had.

Me and my 14 inches scar, we earned it.

 

 

 

 

Non classé

Dear Stephen.

 

Dearest Stephen,

 

Over here, above Europe, the clock has struck twelve already. It won’t happen at Vancouver before another solid few hours, but from afar, October 12 looks very, very promising.

I’ve been waiting for today for a long time, now. I know you do too.

I’ve counted down dozens of days before we reached it, and I’ve sighed and smiled and bounced in anticipation for weeks, now. I can’t believe it’s there, finally. I can’t believe that a few hours only are now keeping me away from a premiere I can’t wait for anymore, and if I close my eyes, I can still see how torn apart I was by the mean cliffhanger last season has left us with. I’m ready to take the pain, the losses, the sadness, the anger, the threats, all the consequences last year’s events will elicit, and all the beauty that will eventually flow from it all.

Oh, I am more than ready. I crave for it. I dream of it. Every single spoiler read here and there send shivers of anticipation down my spine. Every new picture make me squee in delight. Every tweet, every instagram post makes my heart beat faster, my eyes shine brighter, and cloud my brain with a warm breeze of pure love. There’s so much power in being a fan, and so much happiness coming straight from 40 minutes of weekly television.

My dear Stephen, today’s our third season premiere together, and all I have for you are apologies.

I’m so very sorry, but…It’s not your show that I’m *so* excited about.

It’s the downstairs neighbor’s. You know, the two brothers with the beautiful Impala ? Those who die relatively (to my greatest despair) often but can’t stay (to my greatest relief) dead ?

Yeah, them.

My dear Stephen, today’s our third season premiere together, and I’m afraid it’s our last one, too. And from where I stand, on top of two years and a half of love, the taste of a fading fandom is sour at best.

We’ve been defeated, Ollie and I. After such a great run, too. I’m not one to do things in a logical order whatsoever, and so, this summer, the Winchesters sneaked in, dropped twelve seasons of the most amazing television experience I could possibly dream of…And that was pretty much it. I was done. There was nothing I could do to escape the Supernatural monster, and it won me over completely. Game-changer. Actually, life-changer too. And sadly, opposing Sam and Dean, it quickly became evident that Oliver would never recover from that fatal blow. Whatever bond we both shared didn’t resist the unbreakable one the brothers created between them and me, and while I was terrified about each and every spoiler about Ollie’s future, the Winchester’s is nothing but exciting and so very promising.

Oh, I have loved Oliver immensely, and forever will. Arrow was, and for a long time, such an emotional and visual shock, such a dark, gritty, and fascinating ride…The first three seasons were nothing but perfect. And even when the quality of the show started to decline, and the writing stopped being so powerful to bump into invisible corners and get stuck in bizarre obsessions, I was still so proud to call myself a fan, and to call this show my favorite one. Then, one of my favorite ones. Then just a good one. We reached the sunset of this whole story faster than I wanted to. The new characters didn’t cut it for me, and despite a few brillant ideas and a stunning finale last year, the naked truth is that…Winchesters or not, we’d probably be exactly at the same point. The only difference, and it’s a massive one, is that the newcomers took over my whole world, and instead of just slowly losing that one thing I loved so much, there’s another one that’s blossoming spectacularly.

As sad as it is, I’m nothing but grateful for so many things…

Thank you, Stephen.

For giving me one of my favorite character of all times. For giving a life to someone as beautifully complicated as Oliver. For being one step ahead of anything that was expected of you, character-wise. For never losing an inch of credibility even when the story went off the rails. For your exceptional chemistry with David and Em, and for giving us OTA, one of the most inspiring friendship in the history of television. Thank you for carrying Arrow with such grace.

Thank you for my very first convention. Despite the, well, rogue (pun intended) organisation, and the, erm, villain-ish staff members, you made it one of the best week ends of my life. You were amazing with everyone, sweet and fun and gracious with every single fan, and your hugs are probably worth awards on their own. You made us laugh our socks off on a Saturday morning, and you never stopped being the nicest guest all the way through the weekend. I’ll cherish that picture for the rest of my life.

 

 

You gave me the convention virus, and I’ll never thank you enough for it. There are very few experiences as mind blowing as meeting your favorite actors in person, and having the opportunity to discuss those characters with you all remains, to this day, among the craziest, most amazing things I’ve ever had the chance to live. After that first time, I was on a lifelong-high. I didn’t know that packing so much in those two days was even possible, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve felt like I was the luckiest fan alive. Technically, if you make people feel like they’re lucky to be with you, you must be doing something right. You did, Stephen.

Thanks to you, and to this beautiful first one, I’ve decided to replicate the experience with other shows. Walker Stalker, this year, and something on the other side of the world next year. It probably wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for you.

Thank you for your endless generosity, your honesty, and your beautiful soul. You’re one of the very, very few who earned a lifetime of admiration on my side, regardless to my fading relation with Arrow. You’re just a good person…And it’s not that common, nowadays. I’m glad for all the things you fight for, and I’m glad for the way you do it. I’m glad for your sense of humor, and for the quality of your social media interactions. I’m just happy you’re you, overall.

And finally…One last thing. And it’s a big one (pun totally intended, and yes, I’m proud of it)

Remember what you posted this morning on Instagram ?

For most of the people who stumbled upon that post, it’s nothing but a great (and fun) picture of two of the greatest CW actors, and a strange version of a crossover we all want to see (oh come on, Oliver in the back seat next to Castiel ? I’d give a lot to see that). For me, it’s a little more. If it weren’t for you, and for your friendship and the sweet pictures of you and the Supernatural boys (or, alternatively, the Supernatural boys trashing your set), I would never have given Jared a second of my attention, and neither would have I followed him on twitter and Instagram.

It took a little while, but as it turns out, it was the very first step toward what could possibly be the greatest thing that ever happened to me. He and Jensen pretty much brought me back to life this summer, and he’s behind the most important fictional character of my entire existence. You, Stephen, were the one thing unknowingly connecting all the dots that would send me on a path of self-awareness through Sam Winchester’s destiny, and that would give me one of the greatest gift a fan could want : a real life superhero, none other than Jared himself. I love that picture a whole, whole lot, for those reasons.

I don’t know how much longer I have with Ollie. Maybe the season will appease all of my fears after all ? Maybe it’ll get back to the roots. Maybe getting back Felicity and John will light the fire back. Maybe we’re not done at all.

But I know I’ll forever have my love for you, and for everything you are. That’s never going to change.

Take care of my friends at Heroes And Villains London next year. I can’t be with you all next year, but it’s for a good, 9-hour long up in the air reason. And yes, it does involve the great human being next to you on the picture above.

With all of my gratitude and a good chunk of my heart

Axy