ESTEBAN'S PLAN, A FIGHTER AND FUTURE CRIMONOLOGIST
"My story starts on a day like any other, in which I decided I want to be a career soldier in the navy. At 19 I left home. Being an only child that broke my mother's heart as you can imagine, but it was accepted. It's sad that at 21 I found myself in front of the coasts of Yugoslavia, in that cruel war that many of us witnessed firsthand. After that I continued studying and getting promoted, and went to the USA to study the AEGIS combat system, which is what my job was about. The last conflict I was involved in was Iraq in 2005 and after that I returned home hoping to start a new life in Spain, but my plans were shattered.
In August 2007 my wife left me, taking our children with her and leaving me feeling very alone. In November that same year, while I was taking a shower first thing in the morning, I fainted and lost consciousness for a few minutes. Once I had regained enough strength to get out of the shower I realized I had hit my head and was bleeding, so I got dressed and went to A&E at the Hospital de Ferrol. In that small hospital there was no-one who could explain what had happened to me so they transferred me to a larger hospital in A Coruña. I had a blood sample taken and a very sweet and sympathetic doctor told me I had Philadelphia chromosome-positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. After a puncture in my back I was left without platelets and spent 3 hours in Intensive Care because I kept bleeding, but eventually the bleeding stopped.
In the meantime my parents, who lived in Malaga, travelled to A Coruña to see me. We spent a week trying to find my ex-wife, but she never answered the calls, despite telling her it was a serious issue. Finally a friend called her, and as she did not recognize his number, she answered. My children were in Vigo so my doctor and I decided I should fight my disease there, and be close to them. However, my ex did not want to bring them to see me so together with my parents (who never left me alone) I decided to move to Malaga, where they lived.
This is when a new chapter of my life starts on a new battle field, as I spent 3 months in chemotherapy until my marrow was ready for the transplant. I am moved each time I talk to the team of doctors. And that group of nurses..., such affection, such patience, such warmth... Thanks to them I was able to continue fighting and made it to an isolated chamber for an umbilical cord transplant. Thanks to your Foundation for everything you do. The transplant gave me some problems but I'm more or less OK, which is what matters.
To keep my mind busy and to have a new hope I enrolled in the University of Malaga to study Criminology. I was able to complete the first year with a good grade and that really motivated me. At that time I met a woman who would become the woman of my life. She has been supporting me throughout all this time, in moments when I had no strength to fight on, like the end of 2009 when I relapsed and had to start a new struggle. I had to abandon my studies even though I had already signed up for the second year. I faced a second transplant in June this year after which I'm feeling great and I am still fighting, even though the corticoids I had to take have caused necrosis in both hips. I've had an operation on the right hip and I have a prosthesis which has adapted well. Now I need the left one operated on which I expect will happen before the end of the year.
After all that's happened to me I'd just like to tell you that one needs to continue fighting as life is too nice to lose. My plans are simply to continue living in peace, be with my loved ones and finish my Criminology degree.
Greetings to you all and good luck!"
Help people like Esteban by becoming a member of the cure for leukaemia and haematological malignacies, HERE. You will help us to continue our research so that one day these diseases will be 100% curable. With only a little you can do so much. Thank you!
Find out more about bone marrow donation, HERE