Hello, my name is Ester and telling this story is very difficult for me as I do not want people to feel sorry for me. I do not like talking about it either, but it is a part of my life and I should be proud to do it. When it happened to me and in the place where I was living, Miranda de Ebro, there was a big ignorance about it and it is still there. I am also aware that this story would sound different if the ones who were telling it were my mum or my grandfather. They are the ones who were with me since it started.
I am a leukaemia ex-patient. I was diagnosed on February 6th 1989 when I was only 6 years old. I was admitted to the hospital in Miranda due to a cold, but obviously it was not that. From there I went to the hospital in Vitoria where the process started. What worried them more was that I had a bruise on my right calf muscle that made me stand motionless for 3 months. The doctors said I would never be able to walk again, but I was convinced I would and I learnt to walk as a baby.
In the meantime, I went through horrible chemo every week. I still remember the vomits and the faces of my brother and my little cousins, who were all there with me. Once during the treatment the doctor forgot to give me some pills and that caused me what is known as "sweet death". I was admitted again and I recovered from it in 10 days. In the meantime my dad was all the time studying Mr. Josep Carreras' case and his autologous transplant and the Foundation he had just created.
The chemo did effect perfectly and the doctors suggested us to forget about it for a while as I was in full remission and the transplant could wait for 5 or 6 years.
My dad didn't agree with that and, after calling thousands of times, he was able to get an appointment with Dr. Albert Grañena to ask him about my situation. Same year in October my father, my mother, my grandfather and I went to Barcelona, to the Clinic Hospital. I remember perfectly the corridor with the white benches where I used to cry because of the lumbar punctures they were going to do to me. The people I first saw when I got there were Professor Ciril Rozman, Dr. Albert Grañena and my doctors, Dr. Jordi Sierra and Dr. Enric Carreras. They used to carry me in their arms and affectionately called me "ratona". I am very fond of Dr. Enric Carreras and I am happy he was the one who explained everything about the transplant to me.
Going back to my story, we stayed there for a week and the doctors did a lot of tests on me as if I was a guinea pig. Among them they did the lumbar puncture and then we went back to Miranda. I went on going to school and living a normal life, till they called us at the end of November and told us everything was ready.
At noon, on September 7th 1989, I had the autologous transplant. It lasted 8 or 10 minutes, like a puncture. After the autologous transplant Mr. Josep Carreras came to the hospital for the opening of a new floor for his Foundation. I saw it on TV, but my parents and my grandfather were there with him. The next day we went to the new floor and I was a little ill there. I stayed in the new room for 2 months and I signed when I left it. The worst day for me was when they shaved my hair. They had to do it for hygienic reasons, as I hadn't it lost it completely with the chemo. After that I went to another room where I didn't stay long and in May of that year the doctor suggested me to go back to Miranda. The change was good for me, although we had to go back there for the check-ups at first weekly, after that every three months and then every six months or a year until I was discharged.
I want to give my support to everybody that is now in this situation, normal people or famous people, and I wish them and their companions a lot of luck. When it happened to me I was so innocent, but I was a girl and I used to think: "When I get out of here I will have gotten over it." And I did, so, you all go for it too.
If you want more information about the donation of bone marrow to help people like Ester (and many other patients) to have the opportunity of a cure, click HERE. Remember that the donation of bone marrow is altruistic, anonymous, and universal. If you register as a bone marrow donor, you could be making a donation to a person from anywhere in the world. If you want more information, write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on our free phone number (in Spain) 900 32 33 34.
You could also become a member of the José Carreras Foundation. With a little amount you could help us to continue our research.