Hi everyone! My name is Raquel and I am 25 years old. I want to share my story with all of you in case it can help anyone, like all of these stories helped me from the moment they gave me the news.
On July 25th I had to go to the doctor due to a sore throat. I was in vacation, it was the village carnival in Allepuz, a small village in Teruel where I always go during the summer, and it had been very chilly, so I didn't think it was anything to worry about. The bad thing was that after a few days, I still had pain and I felt every time more tired. I thought it was due to the medication but I was very wrong! Finally, on Wednesday, August 10th, we decided to go to the emergency room at a hospital in Valencia. I wanted a throat specialist to see me but none were available in Teruel. There, they ran some tests and when they got the results they told me: "Your problem is not in the throat, your blood test is completely altered, and you'll have to be admitted. In that moment I didn't think it was anything serious. On the next day, the doctor came and told us: "We have to isolate you, you'll have to have the minimum visits and these have to wear gloves, masks and dressing gowns." This time, without knowing what I had, I felt scared.
They transferred my case to haematology and they came to take a bone marrow puncture. On Friday, the haematologist told me: "You have a blood disease, it's a long and tough illness, but you will make it through". He didn't say exactly what it was and because I was so scared I didn't even ask him. There I was with my parents, my sister and my brother-in-law, all of us devastated, but a while later, when they all calmed down they told me: "We have to be strong; we are here to help you be positive". Therefore, that is what I decided, no more tears, we have to fight.
Because we are from Seville, they had to transfer me in an ambulance. I went to several hospitals (because my parents are members of MUFACE) until they told me that my illness had to be treated in HHUU Virgen del Rocío. I got there on August 14th. When I got there and I saw my reports which said "leukaemia without identification" I got very nervous, although it was what I guessed since the moment they said I had a blood disease. Once at the hospital, my second home during all this time, they told me, after more tests, that I had myeloblastic leukaemia.
From that moment, I went through three chemotherapy cycles, where I had to be admitted for a month in every one of them, and the news that I needed a bone marrow transplant and my sister wasn't compatible. In that moment I felt scared, very scared, what was going to happen? I could only wait. I was lucky, in just one month, they found a compatible donor from the US. I was so happy when they gave me the news.
I have to say that it hasn't been easy, with all the effects from the chemotherapy, the isolation without being able to see my family and friends, the changes in my life... but I can say that is has been and it's being an experience that changes the way you see things, makes you realize how important life is, to value every instant just for the fact of being alive.
Raquel with her family
Right now I have been 4 months and a half transplanted and everything is going very well, with some obstacles along the way, but surpassing them little by little. I feel positive and happy, which is the most important thing in this path. I CAN! Kind regards to all of those who are going through this, never give up! Every time you feel sad close your eyes and thing: "This will also pass." I want to thank all of the staff from haematology at HHUU Virgen del Rocío, you are all amazing people!
Thank you as well to all the people that have supported me, that have helped me, that have travelled to be by my side, that have made me laugh when it was the last thing I wanted, without you this path would have been much tougher.
Thank you to the José Carreras Foundation for the job they do every day, thanks to them a lot of lives are saved and a lot of hopes are given. Specially, I want to thank that person who saved my life, that person I will never meet, that person that is like a brother for me... THANK YOU!
When all of this is over, I want to do so many things: I want to go back to college, I want to travel, especially to New York, but what I want to do mainly is live!
Lastly, and most important, I want to encourage everyone to become a bone marrow donor, get information and see that it is very easy and that you will have the opportunity to GIVE LIFE, is there anything more wonderful than that?
If you want more information about the donation of bone marrow to help people like Raquel (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.