Regaining life


"I became more active, more confident, my performance levels at work have improved. In short, I have regained my life."

I discovered in July 2012 a little lump on my neck, it did not appear to be a lymph node. I did my blood tests as recommended by the GP and I was told to also see a hematologist. After the physical exam and several tests, the diagnostics came quickly: CLL with small cell-B type. It was quite a shock. I became agitated and angry, my wife also was shaken, we had little children. My life was upside down, all the plans for the future were suddenly canceled.

 I had no idea if I could still work being ill, we had no money for going abroad to be treated. Everything was a mess. It seemed like we had no hope. The hematologist was the only one able to calm me down, I was told that there are treatments available, and she explained to me how those treatments should be applied, so a little light was appearing at the end of the tunnel. We started with a classical scheme of chemotherapy, meanwhile the doctor was building the medical dossier for approval of a newer treatment. This dossier approval usually takes time, it is approved by a national commission that gathers on a monthly basis.

Time is the only thing that I did not have. I had 5 classic schemes until I received approval for the new chemotherapy, I had 4 courses of this until we had to stop it because my liver was severely affected by all the medicines that I took. During the treatment I managed to keep on working, I squeezed in the days that I had to be hospitalized between the working days. The fact that I was active kept me in a better mood and I think that helped me to better handle the adverse events that occurred and were pretty tough. The treatment was effective, the blood tests seemed normal, except the hepatic tests that were pretty ugly (TGO, TGP were higher than 1300).

Because of that, in March 2013, the hematologist decided to stop the therapy. In 18 months the levels became normal, but I discovered that I was infected with the Hep C virus. Because of the virus, together with the hematologist we decided to wait for another option. In September 2015, I heard for the first time about a new therapy, from my doctor. It seemed to be the perfect solution for me, it was not chemotherapy. Then I researched more on the subject, it seemed too good to be true, but it was so new and in Romania was not reimbursed. So, again, bad perspectives. Still, I had all the tests in order to see if I could benefit from this therapy.

In December 2015, my doctor called me and she told me that "we have therapy for you". I did not dare to ask any questions about how she managed this, I was so happy to start the treatment. In that specific moment the blood tests had high levels, the lymph nodes in the neck area grew and were bigger than 4 cm, and I started touching them every second. After starting the treatment, in 3-4 days the lymph nodes shrank, I really could feel them shrinking, they reduced from the evening till morning. After a month they practically disappeared. The blood parameters evolved exactly as described, they increased at the beginning, then, reducing, and after 7 months they are pretty normal, my liver is not affected and also my uric acid level is normal. The adverse events are minor, some dizziness or sensations of flu. The administration level is regular, once a day. I would say that there is also an effect on my mood. I became more active, more confident, my performance levels at work have improved. In short, I have regained my life.