Five years ago, I was hit by a tsunami. Cancerous white blood cells were flooding my body, wreaking their silent havoc. Immediate hospitalization was required, and for months, a sterile room at the hematology ward became my home. Holed up behind the isolation screen – shielding me from the dangers of the outside world – I felt safe and protected.

But as the chemotherapy drugs slowly dripped into my body, a very different tsunami struck. For weeks, I remained glued to the television screen, watching in horror as the unforgettable images of monstrous waves washing away entire villages and towns on the east coast of Japan filled my room.

Confined to the four walls of my inner sanctum, the television screen became my window to the world. Faced with the suffering of other people, my own ordeal suddenly seemed less terrifying, and my hospital room the cocoon from which I would emerge as a butterfly – ready to spread my wings.

Five years on, the butterfly has flown back to the world. And if the fluttering of its wings can whip up a storm on the other side of the world, then I hope it will send the people of Fukushima a gentle breeze to wash away all of their pain.

 

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