My name is Mateus Andrade. I’m 28 years old and a free surfer and shaper/designer of surfboards. I was born in the United States but have spent most of my life living in Brazil. A few years ago I moved to NY. I’ve always been a lover of sports, surfing, skateboarding, scuba diving, mountain climbing, cooper. Almost every day I’d run around 5km and 15km. I’ve always been extremely healthy and ate balanced diets. As a free surfer I always traveled the whole world looking for waves, always had a free spirit without holding too much for material things.
That year I was in Morocco when i started to feel some pain in my back. I did not think it would be a big deal, but the pain persisted despite being weak. When I went back to NY in May of my trip, during a visit to my doctor, I discovered I had a rare cancer in the spine. Like all who receive this news I did not know what to do! I’ve always been healthy. How could I have this disease? My mother died in 2002 of pancreatic cancer and suffered a lot, died a few months after diagnosis. The doctor said I had to start chemotherapy immediately, because the tumor was in place that could not be removed. The goal with chemotherapy was to decrease the tumor and prevent metastasis. The following week I began the great battle. The first session put a catheter for the realization of chemotherapy something that is extreme discomfort .. Chemotherapy is indescribable, a mixture of unease in every way. I especially had a lot of nausea and headaches. As the sessions go by the feeling is that you will not make it to the end. Each week you feel more and more weakened. In total there were 10 sessions in June and July. In the end I had lost 4kg and was extremely weak. After treatment I got the news that the tumor was still big and inoperable and would need to return to do chemo. I had a break of one month from the previous treatment to restore a little.
In August I went back and did the full 6 sessions of chemo in which stared in a way better emotionally and having faith that the tumor would decrease. There were 6 long sessions with comings and goings to the hospital with infections and other things. To worsen the situation my father had a massive heart attack during this period which also weakened me enough. Nearing the end of treatment the doctor gave me the following options; he said the tumor had decreased a little than was even greater risk of surgery, could do the surgery and can not remove the tumor, or die on the operating table, or it could continue chemotherapy until the tumor significantly decrease. The option was in my hand, in my mind I would not endure chemotherapy for a few more months if he continued I would die, so I took courage knowing that was not the option most suitable to perform the surgery.
With all the strength to face this surgery was 5 hours in which I could die right there, or wake up still with cancer inside me. I was very scared but at all times kept the faith that God would heal me. The last thing I remember thinking before anesthesia was that I was grateful for the life I had and that if I left it was because my time was up, but if you were to live would enjoy every second as if it were the last. When you are in a situation that between life and death becomes a movie in your mind like a flashback of your life, and the feeling is one of total helplessness, we are nothing and there is no control, power, money …. Nothing only something all of us that we forget how important it is called Faith, believing what we see, what we bring to existence does not exist.
It was a deep sleep and when I woke up was drugged and scared to talk to the doctor wanted to know how it was. The night already feeling better the doctor told me it had managed to extract all the tumor at that moment everything stopped as if I had been reborn and I asked but i did not have cancer? and he said we extract all the tumor. I cried a lot .. keep the doctor saying it would be a very difficult recovery and did not know if I was going to get back to walking again without crutches. At that time none of that mattered, because for me I was reborn and going to fight every second of my life and to thank God for each day.
Really recovery is still being very painful, i walk with crutches and still have a lot of pain, other day for my bad luck was coming down the stairs with the crutch and fell, I had to make a new back surgery again … hours on the operating table and I have to recovery start all over again.
Despite being in full recovery I’m free of cancer and this is the greatest victory that could have, I’m alive, breathing, my heart beats, my cells are healthy. Can laugh, cry, dream, love, I’m alive .. And I know that although everyone says how hard it is I back to walk i have sure that one day i back to do everything as surfing, running and other things. I have an unshakeable faith that motivates me to overcome all obstacles.
For you who are fighting this damn disease so I can say has strength, faith and persistence, know how much we suffer throughout this treatment, it’s all over in our minds and always carry with me the phrase “bring the existence what does not exist” this was what motivated throughout my treatment, not everyone believed in me and here I am Free of cancer and I know that I will recover from all the sequels that cancer left.
My brother and sister bring you the existence of that which does not exist, you can never give up, raise your head and believe that the miracle can be performed. Everything is possible for him who believes, and in my mind all who pass through it are special people, only human beings because we know how much it takes to overcome all limits to win the cancer. Be strong and remember that you are a single human and you can overcome everything, believing and fighting until the end . Believe my brother I am just a case of many that already won this battle.