That call one Friday in January 1997 changed my life. I had been for some tests at the hospital and they were calling to tell me that they had found an abnormality....
And that's where it all started...
After several days in the hospital and a multitude of problems the diagnosis was confirmed: Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia.
"Gosh, that's a cancer isn't it? Yes, they had diagnosed me with a form of cancer..."
What a shock. Until then I had always believed that these things happen to other people. My world turned upside down. First, the denial (it can't be true...) then the anger (why me?), and finally the acceptance (I have to be brave and face the reality).
This was the only way. To be brave and face up to the reality...
I wasn't alone. I had my partner, my close family (parents, brother and sisters), the rest of the family and my friends... I couldn't disappoint them, and I knew that they wouldn't disappoint me. And so it was...
We started the process...
Hospital Clínic bécame (and continues to be) a place of reference for me: the first preparatory visits, the infinite tests, and the search for a compatible bone marrow donor.
I remember something that Dr. Montserrat said to me during my first stay in hospital: "If you want you can ask for a second opinion, even in the US if you want but make sure they are good, at least as good as us". I had no desire to go anywhere else. I knew I was in the best hands.
In the end, my little sister Coralí was my donor.
I began another phase of the process. Days upon days closed in my room. I think it was 30 days. The truth is that I don't remember exactly. I do however remember the many moments of silence. I remember how I learnt to enjoy thousands of life's simple things; imagine the flight of as fly. I also became very aware of the quantity of rubbish programmes that are presented on television.
I received such warm embraces the day that they opened the door and I could feel the contact with my loved ones again.
Although the transplant was a success, the first years were hard. I suffered relapses, readmissions to hospital, and steps forward but also steps back. That said, they were necessary steps in order for my new bone marrow to adapt to my body. One day the nurse told me: "it is like an orchestra with new instruments. Each one has to be tuned and connect once again". I liked that metaphor..."
It's true, the orchestra was playing once again, every day a little better, a little more in tune and with more beautiful melodies. Every now and then a violin string breaks or a clarinet falls out of tune...but the melodies were getting better.
After being reborn, you see things differently. You value more things in daily life, seeing the normality as something magical and special that should be cherished and lived.
The first years were hard, above all the winters, which went slowly and at times appeared to never end. However, they always do and spring comes, followed by summer and autumn and then another winter.
My life now is in a period of relative normality. Normality like any other person my age; with a process of professional growth and consolidation, a more or less stable job, a mortgage...but above all the enjoyment that each day brings just being close to my loved ones.
All this, with the addition of annual medical visits. Every year, in the days before my appointment I become a little nervous: "Am I ok? Will they find anything?" In the end it all passes with a routine visit to Dr. Montse Rovira (Thank you Montse, you are a great doctor and a great person) in which we talk about everything but the disease.
Nowadays, I have two beautiful daughters: Mar, 7, and Aina, 3. All that I could tell you about them would not be objective because for me they are the most beautiful and precious girls in the world. They help me, along with Olga my partner and the rest of my family and friends, to enjoy the wonderful thing that is LIFE...
Become a member of the cure for leukaemia and haematological malignacies, HERE
Find out more about bone marrow donation, HERE