“It is as simple as to decide from day one not to let a disease destroy your life. Not even to let it break down the least bit. It’s probably the only advice I can give. KICK SOME ASS”
Hello all of you!
Time passes and the new year has started very well for me, hope you all feel the same and that your goals come true! For me, everyday life consists of ongoing preparations and work to finance the Trip course =) When things are going well and the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place, it’s just like you are in a fantasy world, in your very own bubble! But my post today will instead focus on reality and a friend of mine, Tove Skoog.
Tove and I have worked together as the coolest postmen in Eskilstuna, however her life changed dramaically in May 2012. That was when she was diagnosed with AML (acute myeloid leukemia). This happened while I and Patrick went to the U.S. on our bike adventure. Today she is still struggling and I now want to share with you her reality as she has described it for me.
Tove was diagnosed after a bone marrow sample, and as you figure from the name, it meant that the treatment must start immediately. Chemotherapy was step 1 for Tove who had 3 of these sessions, each one for approx 5 days. At this stage, it may be sufficient as a treatment for many but in Tove’s case, it was needed to do a stem cell transplant as the leukemia was malignant. Now the search began for a viable donor who matched her profile. The first thing to do here is to look at siblings, but a chance of 1 in 4 to match says it all. This is when the Tobias Registry comes into picture (link), and thanks to this Tove got a transplant from a Belgian guy a few years younger than herself. A transplant of this type requires no intervention but a small pouch is connected to the patient’s central venous catheter, it is also here that Tove’s values ??have been taken and have been receiveving blood and platelets as when needed.
Both chemotherapy and stem cell treatments are very tough and takes a lot of a human being, both physically and mentally. In the first phase you often feel sick, tired, lethargic, experience poor appetite and are very sensitive to smell. Fever is not uncommon neither, but in Toves´ case, her eyes took the hit. In two days, she could not open them at all because the mucous membranes were damaged. There is also the dilemma of hair loss and to some extent lashes and eyebrows.
If you think this seems tough, it’s just the beginniong from what awaited Tove after the transplant. From the mucous membranes in the eyes that were on struck last time, now ALL mucous membranes throughout the body shut down. Imagine not being able to eat, drink or swallow for 3 weeks with a constant nausea and vomiting 18 of those days. Stomach, intestines, lungs, kidneys and heart got affected. You feel so bad that your immune system is almost non-existent, resulting in protective isolation with all that implies. The risk of infection is sky high! Oh my god Tove is a tough girl!
The plan now for Tove is to make another chemotherapy session and then fill up with white blood cells, which have been kept frozen from the donor. That´s the situation today, and we all hope the best of luck and strength,Tove is awesome!
This briefing I received by Tove almost a week ago and it took me several readings to try to get all sentimental pieces in place. I got very angry, sad and it wasvery hard to get this into my head under the category of “reality”. Everything feels like a nasty story that I have narrated to me. But as I read Toves text several more times, I understand and realize the thing that was there from the beginning, but which is now becoming stronger. I understand that Tove is very well-read and focused on what she wants, she knows where she wants to be in a few years time and does not give up! It almost feels like she comforted me through this and how cool isn’t that? Just the answer to the question of what advice she wants give others in the same situation: KICK SOME ASS! You must not allow sickness to break down or destroy one’s life. Just find new powers and fight more!
I translate this into my own language and say to myself. Acke, if you bicycle around the world and support the Cancer Foundation,Tove and many others will be strengthened in their fight against the “injustice”, I sort cancer as an unfair and stupid thing that together we will work to to CONQUER!
This post today is NOT ment to frighten, it’s ment to spread knowledge. I believe knowledge is the key for us to get through the tough times we all experience in our lives!
Support your local cancerresearch! Here´s a lin k to swedish cancer fondation, one of my charity projects: