In search of peace
"One way for one to survive is to engage in work, a lot of work. Then one forgets"
My story began two years before I was diagnosed. I am a single mother and at that time wanted to get pregnant again. In 2009, I tried to make a new family for myself and my child; I was in a relationship with a man who contributed a lot towards the onset of my disease. After dreadful jealousy, deprivation and fight for the new family, the doctors diagnosed me with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. And instead of making plans for a new beginning, the big battle for my survival started. I still remember my doctor’s words that this condition is untreatable but is affected by a patient’s lifestyle; so I distanced myself from all surrounding irritants, learned how to suppress my extreme emotions and adopted a healthy diet.
In the spring of 2011 I left Bulgaria; I did not want my family watching me “mutate”. Those were quiet and peaceful days in exile, far away from relatives and problems, but that was only a temporary solution. I came back in the winter of 2012, when my first serious relapse occurred, and it was then I first realized the seriousness of my condition. During the month I stayed in hospital, I met people with much more severe diseases than mine and realized how important it was to give courage to such people and how important it was to keep your morale high. I promised to myself that if I got better, I would travel abroad again, and so I did, twice.
One way for one to survive is to engage in work, a lot of work. Then one forgets. Until autumn of 2013 this was my guiding light. Unfortunately, since then I have been and still am in hospital, which prevents me from working and traveling, but I still manage to find ways to be active and still manage to find dreams to pursue. Years go by for me, with constant disputes with doctors as to whether I should start a new treatment. I make short journeys around Bulgaria and Greece, and have plans to requalify as a social worker in health care facilities. I keep working for blood donor campaigns and focus my efforts on helping people with similar conditions. I keep dreaming, too! For me, CLL is not a disease; for me, CLL is a way of life!