Interview with Judit, ex-leukaemia patient
Judit is 37 years old and lives in Zaragoza. In April 2004, when she was 30 years old and pregnant, she received a huge blow: she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. After following the chemotherapy treatment in the Clinic Hospital in Zaragoza, and having an abortion, Judit underwent an autologous bone marrow transplant. As a result of the treatment she suffered an early menopause but thanks to a donation of eggs, she is now the mother of a little girl.
Judit with her husband and her daughter
- You were diagnosed whilst only a few months pregnant weren't you? What happened after that?
Earlier in my life I had suffered a miscarriage. When the gynaecologist told me that I could try again, and they found that I was pregnant they sent me for the preliminary analysis. It was then that they detected the disease. You don't know what is going on or what will happen, you ask "why?" but you summon all your strength. Once you are in the hospital they explain that the treatment will be really hard and that without a doubt an abortion would be necessary. There are mothers who give their lives for their children and in my case my child gave its life for me, because due to the pregnancy they found the disease so early.
- One of the worst moments must have been when they told you that the treatment could leave you infertile?
In my case they only told me that there had been cases of women who couldn't have children after treatment but they didn't know if they had been sterile before that. They knew that I wasn't sterile because I had been pregnant twice but that wasn't seen as important. The first thing is to be cured and the truth is that at the time you don't think abo ut it either.
- After the treatment you were diagnosed with a premature menopause; how did they tell you that and how did you react?
No one told me anything. Little by little I realized because after the treatment I didn't have my period and months passed without any change. Finally, I went to my gynaecologist who told me that there was nothing that could be done and that I should start the calcium treatment because I was going through a premature menopause.
- Did anyone explain the possibilities you would have to become pregnant after you overcame leukaemia?
No, no one talked to me about this until I finally asked my gynaecologist about the possibilities. I was referred to a private clinic that I was told would be able to explain everything to me.
- Once you recuperated it occurred to you that the donation of eggs might be a possible way to become pregnant. How long was it between your bone marrow transplant and undergoing this procedure; and what was it like?
A year and a half had passed since my bone marrow transplant when my gynaenocologist explained the only possibility that I had, after realizing the desire we had to be parents. The first thing that they told us was that it would have to be through an ovary donation but that it shouldn't be a problem because I had already fallen pregnant naturally twice, with no issues.
- When they told you that the ovary donation had worked what did you think?
After several difficult months you suddenly find out that you are pregnant. After they made the implant 15 days passed and at the first test they told me it had come back positive. However, obviously you have to let the first 3 months pass because they are the most risky in terms of a miscarriage. Despite this you cannot help being crazily content because it feels like your life is changing and you start to see differently all that passed before.
- Now that you have a beautiful girl, what would you say to a woman who is currently experiencing the same diagnosis as you?
Have no doubts. There are new advancements all the time and thanks to the donation of eggs we have a beautiful little girl who is the joy of everyone. Although the treatment can make it difficult to have a child, it is worth all the effort. For that reason if you are reading this, don't have any doubt: the best thing in the world is the power to have children.