"One day, Dr. Vall-Llovera came, sat in my bed and told me: "We have a donor". The search had just been initiated three months earlier! It was like a shot full of energy and strength to go on and try as hard as I could. Life was giving me an opportunity and I had to take it".
Hello! My name is Montse and I’m a former myelodysplastic syndrome patient.
In 2005 my blood analytics started to show weird results, my red blood cells were very low and larger than usual; I had Macrocytosis. The truth is I didn’t think it was important. Although my doctor recommended that I took more tests, I kept going on with my normal life.
In 2009 my groin glands started to swell and I had to be operated. Because the infection was so huge, the surgeon preferred extracting them to analyse them, but he obtained no specific result.
In November 2010, another gland became infected right in the opposite groin. I took antibiotics again and took several tests: no clear result, but the Macrocytosis was still there and it was worse.
The best present: unconditional support. Thank you girls! September 2011.
On January 1st 2011 I started to feel ill. I had a cold, my fever wouldn’t stop; I believed I had the flu. On the 6th, I waited for my daughter to open the presents that the Three Kings had left for her and I went to the emergency room where I was admitted that same morning. My temperature wouldn’t go down and the oxygen in my blood was insufficient. Consequently they put me in the ICU with assisted ventilation: I had the flu and acute bilateral pneumonia. The doctors couldn’t understand why I had such a big infection. They isolated me. It was hard being apart from my daughter, without being able to see her on her birthday. I spent 16 days isolated. Little by little I started to get better and they transferred me from the ICU into a room. My analytics were still altered and they did my first bone marrow aspiration. The diagnosis was Refractory Anaemia. Everything started then, something was not going well. They discharged me but kept taking tests.
They called me from the hospital in Terrassa and told me that I had to go there urgently. After some analytics and a bone marrow aspiration, in April, the doctors told me: “You have a disease in your blood called Myelodysplastic Syndrome, which is the first step to an acute leukaemia, meaning one day you will have to undergo a bone marrow transplant”.
January 2012 in the isolation camera, number 5, of the Clinic Hospital in Barcelona.
I didn’t really understand what he was telling me; actually, I didn’t really want to understand it. I remember the first thing I thought was: “How am I going to tell my mother, after having spent days in the ICU, that sometime soon I would have to undergo a bone marrow transplant?” I did, I told her and it was one of the hardest moments of the process. It’s weird but I wasn’t scared. Life had prepared me somehow for what I was about to live. I didn’t think about the possibility of everything going wrong, it had to go well. I took it as a stage of my life I had to go through. My doctors told me that I was in a stage of my illness where I didn’t need the bone marrow transplant yet, but that they would prepare everything for when the time came. They tested if my brother was compatible with me but there was no luck, we weren’t compatible, so they initiated a search for a compatible donor through the José Carreras Foundation.
My daughter’s first hug.
In August 2011 I went to a check-up and everything was worse; the time had come. I was admitted to undergo chemotherapy to try and stop the disease while they searched for a donor. One day, Dr. Vall-Llovera came, sat in my bed and told me: “We have a donor”. The search had just been initiated three months earlier! It was like a shot full of energy and strength to go on and try as hard as I could. Life was giving me an opportunity and I had to take it. I was amazed by the organization of my doctors, everything went as planned and I just had to follow orders. They discharged me and three months later I was admitted at the Clinic Hospital in Barcelona to start radiotherapy, chemotherapy and undergo the transplant. It was hard but it was worth the fight and I couldn’t give up.
On January 24th I received four huge bags of stem cells, filled with life. I started to weep thinking about that person who, without me even asking and without knowing me, had given so much for me. They spent four hours transfusing me life, not at all like I had expected it. A lot of people think it’s an operation when we talk about a bone marrow transplant, but it isn’t like that, the blood entered through my catheter with no problems.
A few days later I was able to see my daughter. The nurses dressed her up with a gown and a mask… She looked so funny! It was so nice to be able to touch her, hug her…
With Laurita in October 2012.
This was exactly a year ago. Today, January 24th 2013 is my life birthday and I am fine. They have stopped my medication and my daily life is almost normal.
THE BEST PART:
I always say that, in spite it’s something that should never happen to you, if it does, you have to take advantage of the good things, such as giving value to the small things in life, the simplicity of what is simple. Your priorities change; you meet a lot of people: doctors, nurses, other patients… In these tough days they all become your family, they smile at you, support you, understand you and give you very good moments with you will never be able to forget; they are in your heart
THE WORST PART:
To me it was the fact of not being able to avoid the suffering of those who are by your side. It’s something you can’t control, although if they see you are as “fine” as you can be, in spite of the situation, you make it easier for them.
TO MY DONOR:
Thank you, thank you for giving me life, because thanks to you I am still a mother, a daughter, a wife, a friend… thanks for this huge present you have given us.
My 33rd birthday with my mother and my daughter. September 2012.
I ASK LIFE:
I want to have enough days, years, to be able to thank everyone for everything they have done for me. Every small detail, although it may seem insignificant, is important.
My goal is that, together and with our collaboration, we are able to build a magic wand that will cure every patient from this terrible illness".
Christmas. December 2012.