"Take courage, love, leukaemia can be cured!"
With these magic words, my aunt got me out of shock after I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, 1,800 Km from home, Seven words on my mobile phone screen that registered in my subconscious like a subliminal message, meaning six months in hospital. Well, if she says so, and she is a doctor, it has to be true, doesn't it?
A bit of "Love therapy" sent by Virginia
It must be the fifth time I've rewritten this letter, but so many things have happened I just don't know where to start. I started writing to you in June, shortly after my "other half" donated stem cells. My twin sister Laia was acting as a comodín for my unrelated donor, when my reaction to previous treatment turned everything very ugly at the last moment. Superman himself wouldn't have come as fast, nor would he have solved it as well
Virginia and twin sister Laia in hospital.
I was diagnosed with leukaemia in January 2009, in Berlin, where I have been living over the past few years and where I had treatment. If this is hard enough in regular circumstances, just imagine what it must be like when you're so far away from home and it's -20º C outside. I simply can't thank my family and friends enough for all they've done throughout this time, but I trust they know the victory is theirs as much as mine.
Virginia, having her head shaved
Because now I'm well, really, truly well. I've just returned from my first holiday "home"since the whole thing started. It's been two wonderful months in Barcelona, and I have enjoyed every minute like nobody's business. Tomorrow, first thing in the morning, I am going to go straight to the doctor's for my third puncture; and I'll go all by myself and by underground, which is a piece of cake now. A few more punctures and I'll be discharged! And I'm so excited about it that no blast cell will dare stick out its head.
Virginia, visibly recovered, with a friend
Take heart guys, leukaemia can be cured!
It's an uphill path that's hard to walk, but the view is more than worth the effort. My secret? First, you can't just wish you could believe everything will turn out fine- you've got to believe it! Second, forget that there's a hospital behind that door. Just imagine the ever-so-serious German guy is watching our dance/French lessons, or the guitar/photo/film sessions! Third, don't think of what you can't do, but what you'll be able to de very soon (a drink at a street café, anyone?)
Each plan, each guffaw, each second you're not thinking about it, is a good blow at your enemy's back. And the harder they come...
Happy ending! Virginia and her friends from Barcelona celebrating her 30th birthday in Berlin last August.