MAITE'S PLAN: FIGHT SO THAT EACH DAY IS UNIQUE
E-mail from Maite, a former leukaemia patient, to the Foundation(July 2009):
"Hi, I'm Maite. I've been both a patient and a patient companion: I've gone through an acute myeloblastic leukaemia, with poor prognosis and expectations and, halfway through my disease, my father's life was taken by a devastating cancer. He was a very active, healthy and athletic man. He was my best friend.
Today I'm a person who longs to live, who is slowly recovering from the results of two fights: the one I was able to beat and the one that beat me. It's true that the latter is the most painful because I was unable to convince my father that he had to keep on fighting. He'd made up his mind to leave and wait for me God knows where. He died feeling no pain and took with him a small part of life of all those who loved him. He left a feeling of emptiness that we still don't know how to fill.
My way of overcoming this emotional muddle has been to try to reason out all that's been happening to me. I'm fighting and I'll fight with all my strength so that I don't ask myself these questions that have no answer, since all they do is poison one's mind: Why me? What have I done so that this should happen to me? Where is the limit to so much suffering?
I concentrated all my strength so as to clear my mind of dark thoughts and be left with just one idea: TO LIVE! As far as I was concerned, everything else was secondary. I'd try to solve anything that was within my reach and, as for the rest, destiny would take over since it always has its own criteria.
I can't deny the bad times, or the bitter taste of tears giving way to surrender, or the craving for it all to end, even if the end implied death. On many an occasion I was dominated by the feeling of impotence, desolation, despair...goodness knows! But over and above all these feelings is my firm decision to live. Whilst I still have a breath of life, I'm determined to enjoy the privilege of being part of the world with its contradictions and injustices, but also with its gifts in the form of experiences, surprises, discoveries...
For all these reasons, although I often complain, as far as I'm concerned, Faith is vital. It is thanks to having it that I cheer up when I've gone to pieces. There will always be something to believe in: I'll get better, I'll manage to smile without those I love and who decided to go first, I'll manage to pluck up courage to try and make those still around me happy.
I'll never cease to be amazed by the strength of spirit of those who have brave hearts; all they need is to be given the opportunity to show what they're worth. There's one thing that never fails: the sun will rise again every morning. It'll happen earlier or later, but it will always end up by appearing. It happens just so because there are millions of reasons that push it to rise. And they are there, priceless, with all their weight. All we have to do is grasp them and make them ours.
Every day, when I wake up, I like to come back to life... That is my plan for the future, fight so that each day is unique and so that, at the end of it, I feel it was worth living it."
Maite's tribute to all the "Henries" in the world
THANKS TO ALL PATIENT COMPANIONS
"Of all the moments I have shared with Enrique, my partner, there's one that will stay with me as long as I live. One day, while in hospital, a sudden rise of fever threw me into delirium. It all happened very quickly and, before I knew it, I found myself surrounded by white coats, machines, hasty orders... At the other side of the room, behind the screen, I saw him, trying to keep out of the way; by chance, I came across the look in his eyes. It wasn't fixed anywhere in particular. Restless, it wandered around the room, feeling confused, bewildered and, above all, terribly lonely. I think that when you see that sort of look it's like leaning over a bottomless pit. After that, I remember nothing else because the world turned into darkness.
After a few hours, it was all over. Once again, Enrique again tried to fake enthusiasm and hope, and I tried to believe him, asking no questions.
Of that night, I'll never forget the impression I received when I saw, so close by, the face of desolation, nor will I forget the greatness with which ones mind can put it aside and replace it with gratitude and relief, when it's all over.
I think that every henry is allotted a patient. Some give a lot of work and, no matter how many resources are used to keep their spirits high, none of them work. Other henries are luckier: their patients have all the necessary courage and will power, therefore their main concern is to ensure they don't lose them and, if possible, give them even further hope.
Nevertheless, all henries have something in common: without meaning to they have to fight a losing battle and faith is the only weapon they have to face it. Should they win the battle, they then have a long recovery process before them. Should they be unlucky and things go wrong, then they have no other choice but to try, with a mortally wounded soul, to restart the final race, that is to continue to live.
That's why, to commemorate the first anniversary of my transplant, I drink to all the henries in the world and to whom I express my immense gratitude for being there, for providing that light, although sometimes faint, that always brightens the path that still lies ahead."
Maite, a former leukaemia patient
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