Dawn Goodman is from Cape Town. She met Luisa on a train, travelling in Germany and struck up a friendship with her after Luisa shared her story with her. Below is a letter from Luisa which she wrote for The Sunflower Fund.
My story is very short. I’m 58 years old and all my life I never had any diseases. I didn’t smoke or drink (except in family or with friends a little bit wine). So I had never in mind, that I will get cancer. But like many others who got cancer I was in very much stress – on work and in private. I worked in the estate sector from early in the morning and often till late at night. And at home was my severely handicapped mother – her left side and both legs were paralysed – so I had a lot of service to do. And all things I wanted to do as well as I can. This was going on for some years.
So I felt tired and sick in springtime 2008 and had therefore an explanation.
In the end of august 2008 my family doctor took some blood to control – and next day, when she got the results, she demanded me to come immediately to her, the ambulance was just called and I was taken to the hospital. There I got the diagnosis: AML = acute myeloic leukaemia. My chances to survive were ca. 50 %.
After they examined me intensively there, I got three days later a very strong and intensive chemotherapy (I didn’t know the exact word in English). This couldn’t be finished because I’ve had temperature and an infection. I was some weeks in isolation and hadn’t enough power and energy to come out of bed. Till the end of the year 2008 I was either for some weeks or everyday transported in the hospital.
It was the plan, that in January 2009 I will get a bone marrow donation. There was an international research and a donor was found. But than my body regenerated itself, so a marrow donation was not necessary.
And with a lot of training I learned again to move, to go, to make use my hands and so on. I have now some deficits in my life compared with my life before this illness, but that is not so important.
I never lost my optimism that I will live. It was a very great help that my whole family was there for me. Also all my friends (and I have a lot of them), showed me, they were there for me. My sister and two colleagues of my company were examined, if they may be marrow donors for me. This wasn’t possible, but now they are registered as marrow donor and one colleague was some month later a donor for another suffering man.
I recovered from this illness and know, I have somewhere in the world a donor if it is necessary. It is the greatest gift in my life. I want to take this opportunity, to thank all marrow or blood donors in the world. With their humanity and readiness to help they save lives and make it a lot easier to live for people like me.