Hello, I am Víctor and I am 30 years old. I live in Mutxamel, a small, pretty town in Alicante. At 23 years old, I suffered one of the biggest shocks of my life when I was diagnosed with leukaemia.
It all started towards the end of 2003, with a cold that lasted a very long time. For New Year's eve that year I went to the Sierra Nevada and whilst skiing I noticed that I was extremely tired, I didn't pay too much notice though as the night before had been a little heavy. Haha. When I returned to Alicante, I noticed a pussy abscess on the side of my bum around the 6th or 7th of January. I went to hospital where they removed it but after feeling unwell for a couple of weeks I returned to San Juan Hospital on the 18th where they told me that it hadn't been a completely normal abscess. I was sent to Alicante where a slightly strange Doctor told me that it looked like leukaemia. I was stunned "leu...what? How could it be?" The doctor broke the news as if I had sprained my ankle, I was amazed. Later on, another doctor came to see me, Dr. Pascual Fernández, who by a twist of fate happened to live in my town about 50 metres away from my house. Calmly, he explained the situation to me and that we had to determine the type of leukaemia and start treatment immediately. I want to thank this wonderful doctor for everything he has done and still does for me.
They took me to a room on the 6th floor, the haemotology department. This room would become my home for the time I was in Alicante, as my departures from hospital were very short. They began the chemo and for a month I was really unwell because I could not shake a fever. I had to receive drip after drip of every type and colour. When the fever rescinded I was convinced that I would be going home but it came back and Dr. Blanca told me the news that as the disease had not disappeared I would have to undergo another cycle of chemo. I remember it was Friday, they let me go home for the weekend and then we started the second cycle of chemo on Monday at 8am. This second phase was a "walk" because I was much better physically and I no longer had a fever. During the second cycle I managed to put the disease into remission, thank goodness! It was all starting to look a lot better. After a week of rest the consolidation cycle arrived and then the wait for a compatible donor because my sister was not (much to her disappointment). Although in any case she was there for me in many ways throughout my recuperation. As I was undergoing this consolidation phase an umbilical cord donor was found in Germany. I went to La Fe Hospital in Valencia on the 3rd of May for a meeting with Dr. Guillermo Sanz. The doctor appeared a little crazy at first but after talking with him about the details and procedures I felt like nothing could go wrong in his hands. When I left he told me "Victor, you are going to get better". I will never forget these words for the rest of my life.
Before the transplant, I had a small scare: a sepsis provoked an increased fever. There were more doctors and machines with me than in the whole hospital and finally they found the solution and the worry passed. The 24th May was the day they carried out the transplant. This stage was one of the most boring in the world, although it wasn't so bad as I was accompanied by my mother and my sister and I passed many hours sleeping. On the 22nd June, my doctor, Dr. Jaime Sanz, an absolute hero, told me that I could go home. Wow, they were the best two words; "go" and "home". I left hospital and stayed in the flat we had rented because every day brought another analysis or blood infusion but thankfully it didn't take too long. After a short period of visiting the hospital every week they reduced it to every two weeks, then every month, every 3 months and so on until they started annual revisions, which is what I am doing nowadays.
Now i live my life the best i can. Of what I am sure is that life is now different for me; things do not have the same meaning as before, "problems" now seem much less important. What plans do I have? Well the ones I set during my illness I am currently achieving. I have returned to work, travelled, got married...and more than anything, recover the life that was put on hold. The plans I have now are to live as well as I can, with my wife and family, to have children, to have my own business, and much more...to have a full life.
To end, i want to thank my family, friends, and all those who were by my side during those difficult days; THANK YOU!!
To all those who are currently facing a difficult momento in your life, my advice is to relax. Everything comes and goes, take it like any experience we encounter in life and I am convinced that you too will find a good result. Good luck and keep going everyone, you will soon be writing similar testimonies and laughing about it all.
Become a member of the cure for leukaemia and haematological malignacies, HERE
Find out more about bone marrow donation, HERE