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For Everyone Touched By Cancer

Taking a camper-van road-trip facing advanced lung cancer & radiotherapy.

Written by Maria Grazia Sgro on 
22nd January, 2020
Updated: 27th September, 2021
Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

“Wish” is a story that my husband Luca is writing about our camper-van road-trip of 6.000 kilometres across Europe, facing advanced lung cancer and radiotherapy

It’s about a trip between Rome and Paris, six thousand kilometres on the road, in a camper, just the three of us: Luca, our cat Sylvie and me.

In 2017 my husband was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer at the age of 40, in a short time our life has changed radically. For us, it was an opportunity to change too, and to learn something new about ourselves. In this book my husband retraces the events of the last three years.

“Wish” Is The Story Of How We Learned To Understand Each Other
“Wish” is the story of how we learned to understand each other, to communicate with one another, using the spoken word, and listening to the pauses and the silences, always facing difficulties together.

When we first met, I cannot certainly understand the reach of what was going on. And I certainly couldn’t imagine how much our love would have made us better than we thought we were.

The trip is for Luca to be able to access specialist care, which is not available in our city. It is during this travel where transformation occurs. It shapes and revolutionizes people and thoughts, and takes its revenge upon his ailment. As often is the case, the journey gradually becomes more important than the destination itself.

The journey takes many forms, including getting lost on the road, the odd misunderstanding, delays, breakdowns and potholes, all this with the continuous and dull hum of Luca’s oxygen concentrator for company. Off road, this was coupled with meetings and disappointment when outcomes haven’t met our expectations. Here we made an important discovery, which we had lost somewhere along the way, between ambulances and wheelchairs, hospital beds and doctors distracted by their mobiles.

Suddenly things started to change.

In the face of the daily routine of continuous stops, were the faces that emerged, between increasingly warm handshakes, and new friendships. With the change in altitude and latitude at every turn, and the autumn colours that set the forest on fire, everything seemed to be an invitation to get lost and to rediscover oneself, around another corner.

A journey by road was a necessity because of the embolism, resulting in an inability to travel by plane or at high altitudes. That’s when the maps come out and are sprawled onto the table, between Sylvie's paws, to plan our travel route and the game begins. It unfolds like a maze: a goose chase among one-way streets, floods, rivers and continuous breaks to stretch one’s legs.

A Journey By Road Was A Necessity Because Of The Embolism, Resulting In An Inability To Travel By Plane Or At High Altitudes
A journey by road was a necessity because of the embolism, resulting in an inability to travel by plane or at high altitudes

This is also the story of how all three of us started from scratch.

A metaphor that demonstrates how we became a family, in spite of numerous challenges, including countless rides in ambulances, being in and out of hospitals, a year of being bedridden, being confined to a wheelchair, and another year spent learning how to walk again.

Now Luca is transforming all this into a story, that we hope to publish with the help of many supporters, through a Kickstarter campaign that we are running just now to fund the first 100 copies.

The text will be joined by the photos that I took during the trip, printed at full page (see the photos at Flickr @Sylvienfriends).

Further reading

My Life’s Most Beautiful Story: A Story Of The Most Positive Side Of My Life

Travelling After A Cancer Diagnosis? How To Find Appropriate Travel Insurance

How To Choose Thoughtful And Appropriate Gifts For Cancer Patients

I’m Not My Cancer: Not Just A Breast Cancer Survivor!

 

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