Micaela is a happy, tender, 10 year-old girl and more importantly a very BRAVE girl. On August 29th 2011 she was diagnosed with Type B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. The symptoms that raised the alarm started more or less one month before. They were headaches, big fatigue, loss of appetite, paleness, muscular pain and fever.
We immediately went to the emergency services at Vilafranca del Penedés Hospital where, after a blood test and a urine test, they diagnosed her with urine infection. They said she would get better after taking an antibiotic and an antithermic for 10 days, but because the symptoms still remained after 2 or 3 days, we went back to the family doctor. He said she had to finish the 10-day antibiotic in order to be tested again. During this time the symptoms started getting worse. Finally, the time of "nightmare" as we called it ended, unknowing that the real nightmare was just starting, and we took Micaela to the hospital again for a new test. This time, as soon as they had the results of the blood test, after 15 to 20 minutes waiting, the doctor came and just by his twisted face we knew that something serious was happening.
While the doctor explains the diagnosis, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, you feel as if the floor were opening and you start to fall, but at the same time, you know you must give your 100% and be strong. At this moment we were transferred to Sant Joan de Deu Hospital in Barcelona. Our life changed completely. New things were happening very fast and it was very difficult for Nassly, her 16 year old sister, for her father and for me to assimilate them together with Micaela. But we knew we had to face them, not with the fear and desperation we were feeling, but with strength and courage as Micaela was doing, with a smile in her face.
We passed through transfusions (blood, platelets, albumin), surgery (placing of a catheter, lumbar puncture), chemotherapy (vincristine, asparaginase, clexane, methotrexate, mercaptopurine), loss of hair, morphine to reduce the pain, comings and goings to the hospital at unreasonable hours because of the fever and frequent admissions for the treatment. Now she is in the maintenance phase and she just needs a check-up and a blood test every month. Micaela has been able to go back to school with her friends and have a normal life.
While living in this uncertainty, we have always counted on the great affection and unconditional support of the great and truly professional team at the 8th floor (haematologists, nurses, physiotherapists, nutritionists, volunteers, day hospital, etc.) of the Sant Joan de Deu Hospital, who guided us and we want to tell them we will always be grateful to them.
There is a saying: "Every cloud has a silver lining". For us this is a big truth, as we have been able to meet wonderful people, we have never felt alone and we have always had a friend's hand to hold.
Our plan as a family, our best wish, is to tell people that doing their bit (blood or bone marrow donation) the lives of many people that deserve another opportunity to smile can be saved.
If you want more information about the donation of bone marrow to help people like Micaela (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.