Changing everything

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In April 2005, I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma – a cancer formed by malignant plasma cells found in the bone marrow. I accepted the illness with sadness but with humility.

Immediately I surrounded myself with music and a large number of books in which I started to look for help. I radically changed my diet. I started to eat according to the principles of macrobiotics, which is based on cereals and cooked vegetables. I rarely ate meat, milk products, fat and refined sugar. I have lost 12 kg and completely changed my image, which helped me a lot psychologically. This physical change was very quickly followed by a psychological change. Prayers, meditations, sleepless nights, tearful nights, conversations with God and with my late mother brought me everyday solutions and opened alternative views. I chucked away lots of old stuff and clothes which had previously been all over the apartment.

Finally, I discovered my roots in my mother’s birthplace in Turiec (Slovenia). This, which for many people would be a hardship, became a blessing for me and, thank God, changed my entire life for the good. My family, friends and colleagues offer a lot of support. In autumn 2005, I continued my chemotherapy treatment in the Faculty Hospital in Martin where I have been under the care of the excellent consultants during my illness. After each treatment in the hospital I was able to return to work. In October 2005, during a beautiful Indian summer my son, Michal, got married. Maybe as a result of all the physical and emotional exhaustion, I then fell ill with painful shingles, soon followed by a serious case of pneumonia which resulted in me being admitted to hospital.

In February 2006, I underwent an autologous bone marrow transplant which proved to be successful. After a two-week stay in hospital and a further week recovering at home, I was able to return to work again and participate fully in school life. I can honestly say that the bone marrow transplant was the most emotionally and physically difficult thing I have had to face in my life. It has not been easy to come to terms with the experience and the recurring memories and as a result of this I have since had treatment from a psychotherapist for depression. As well as this, I have also had some dental problems after a tooth extraction as the gum would not heal properly and this, in conjunction with sleeping problems, has meant it has been quite a challenging time.

In April 2006, I was delighted to receive a special teacher‘s award from the Slovak Minister of Education for the high standard of results of my pupils. In terms of my diet, I have stopped following the macrobiotic diet I had been following, which I have come to regret as my weight has increased! I currently do not take any nutritional supplements but I do drink high quality red wine everyday – and eat sauerkraut. Despite being registered disabled, I am still working and have recently passed a computer course and feel that together with the support of my family, I will be able to live with multiple myeloma for a long time in peace. I want to thank you all.

PHCZ/HEM/0717/0001