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Patients’ journal

Alina, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (1)


I started thinking about cytostatic treatments instead of a wedding, while planning our honeymoon turned into counting the days I’d spent in the hospital…” – Alina, 25
What is acute lymphoblastic leukemia? It’s definitely something you don’t want to find out for yourself or others close to you! The disease is not a personal choice, so, at 25 years old, Alina found out exactly what this type of cancer means.
The young woman is a patient of Fundeni Clinical Hospital, and has only been discharged to go home for a few days at a time.
Alina is extremely optimistic; she speaks of her disease as if it were a case of the common cold, though she has precise data on how the induction treatment (cytostatic runds that shatter the immune system) has affected her, what it means, and the immense pain that comes along with the spine injections.
“During the long time I’ve spent in the hospital, I’ve had time to analyze every step of this change and to plan a “new beginning” for when I finish treatment.
In March 2014, I was having my usual blood work done. Like everyone, I had trouble making time to go to the test lab and was faced, as always, with my fear of needles. For me, this common blood test meant life. I found out that I have leukemia and that I have to start the appropriate treatment immediately. I knew that it was an acute form, a galloping and aggressive disease that would have killed me in just weeks without the proper treatment. The diagnosis didn’t scare me, my only question was if it’s curable or…. I found out it was curable! Whatever the answer, I felt that since I was feeling well and had disovered the disease on time, I had gotten a chance to live. Though I hadn’t been in a hospital a day in my life and I loathed the idea, in two days, at the beginning of March, I was getting admitted into hospital.
Up to that moment, I had different plans in my head, an exact list of how my life would be and I planned to follow it to the letter. I’d planned every year and every important moment in my professional and personal life (getting married, having children). I never thought that anything could change these plans so drastically. Nevertheless, the plans changed at once. I started thinking of a cytostatic treatment instead of a wedding, the honeymoon turned into a hospital day count, and the possibility of having children was slipping further and further away. But I wasn’t discouraged and continued to laugh a lot, just as I had done before. My future husband was beside me at all times. He took care of me as if I were a baby when I couldn’t get out of bed, but still we continued to make plans for the future and look confidently at what life holds for us. And this way we’re learning a very important lesson… patience! My treatment will take at least one year, during which I’ll have tests, IVs, cultures, shots…
Hundreds of sick people can be “given life” through these machines that hospitals should have. This way, we can track down illnesses quickly; we know how our bodies react to the treatment, how the disease evolves and what the remedies are for the given situations.
I hope that by speaking about my experience here I can make people understand how important it is to get regular health checks and how vital it is to have the equipment necessary for detecting any disease in the body and treating it effectively”, Alina wrote to us in an e-mail.
For the young woman’s immune system, the most important thing right now is not to be exposed to any pathogens. Any virus/bacteria/microbe can literally knock her down so, before you go in to see her, in the room where she’s staying for the duration of the treatment, you go through a genuine disinfection ritual! The sterile room in which Alina is staying has been set up by the Give the Gift of Life Association. A new lab will be opened soon, having also been furnished by Give the Gift of Life, with the help of GDF Suez Romania, and having a cost of €375,000. With the help of the state-of-the-art equipment in this new lab, Alina and other patients just like her will have the opportunity of being diagnosed and monitored much more easily.
The investments in Fundeni Hospital and other oncology centers throughout the country have been made by the Give the Gift of Life Association using the money of people that have understood how important it is to have modern oncology centers in Romania, so that every patient can have access to a decent treatment, comparable to those you can get in civilized countries in the world.
We’ll keep you posted on Alina’s story and the evolution of her disease through regular posts, because we think it’s important that you know, first of all, what this disease means, and, secondly, that an adequate treatment can make all the difference.
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