Ana, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia patient
Four years ago, Ana, a housewife from Malgrat de Mar (Barcelona), went to the doctor because she was feeling very tired. It was summer and she put it down to the heat but she thought that it would not hurt to have a checkup. However, from this moment on her life would change considerably.
From the Hospital in Calella de Mar they sent her to the Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital in Badalona but they did not tell her all the details at that stage. Ana, who is currently in an isolated ward, explained that "they told me; they needed to carry out more tests to see what the problem might be. One day a Doctor came to tell me that we would start with chemotherapy in the near future. My surprise was immense: I had cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. The truth is that my reaction was one of complete surprise, but I took it well. I thought ‘these things happen'". Although the doctors explained that the treatment was extremely tough, Ana passed through all the sessions of chemo smoothly without problems. She told us that, "I went back to a normal life, to enjoy my children and my husband".
Although everyone told her not to think negatively, and to stay positive, in March this year, Ana knew that had relapsed. "I expected it. Everyone said ‘I was too negative and that I should think about it, but I was prepared. Ana explained calmly that, "A lump formed on my face and when they carried out some tests it was discovered that the lump contained malign cells". The acute lymphoblastic leukaemia had returned and stronger than before. There was no other option: Ana needed a bone marrow transplant.
After undergoing 4 sessions of chemotherapy, in July of this year, ana had a tremendous scare. She started to feel a tingling in her legs and it was painful to walk, until one day she fell and did not have the strength to get up. She had a very rare viral infection, that up to now has been controlled. After several weeks of rehabilitation she can now walk again. "Today I could shower myself", she told us proudly, "I refuse to allow them to help me too much".
There are only a few days of preparation remaining until Ana will reach D-day (as it is called) for her umbilical cord transplant.
"I am calm. I hope that everything goes well and that there are no complications. This disease has given me a lot of spiritual strength, I am not sure how to explain it, it is a strange feeling", explained Ana. "My sister died of cancer 4 years ago. In the final days, when nothing could be done, she was completely at peace, relaxed and calm. Her reaction left a huge impression on me and I think that I have gained this from her. Sometimes my family don't understand, even though I know that everything will be ok, I feel more comfortable telling them what I want incase anything happens".
To the question, what are you plans for the future? Ana has a clear answer: "To help my children to be happy; to be a grandmother and take care of my grandchildren; to buy a car, after passing my test at 50 years old, I have enjoyed driving and travelling immensely; to take a cruise around the Mediterranean when I feel well enough. I told my husband ‘you save so we can go on a cruise!'"
Throughout the process, Ana's husband will be staying in the Foundation's welfare flat to be close to her and help her recover.
Become a member of the cure for leukaemia and other haematological malignancies, HERE
Find out more about bone marrow donation, HERE