I decided to write this post, as I believe this is a good time for me to share this story with you, and forward an important lesson that I was taught. More importantly, I want to tell people that there is always hope and you have to fight for what you believe in.
My name is Anila, and I am a disabled person.
No, I am not a disabled person, I simply have a disability, but thanks to it, I am still alive.
When I was 14 years old, I was diagnosed with cancer.
I remember very clearly that moment, when I entered in my doctor’s office. And as I was making my way to the chair, my inner voice was screaming: ” It’s cancer, it’s a malignant tumor.”
“Shut Up!” I said to myself, but even that I tried to hide it; I already knew the truth, even before the doctor spoke. This time I was alone. My parents were with me, but they didn’t know to speak Italian, so I was the first person to know the truth. I was only an Albanian girl, who broke her arm while on vacation in Italy, and was diagnosed with bone cancer.
That’s why it was difficult for the doctor to tell me I had cancer; I was only fifteen years old.
As he explained me clearly what I had to do: chemotherapy, surgery, chemotherapy, I remained silent. I didn’t cry, I didn’t scream, I just didn’t do anything. My brain processed the news and I accepted immediately. I don’t know where I took the strength. I was conscious about the hair loss and I was okay with it. I was young, and I wanted to fight.
But things weren’t supposed to be so easy for me. The problem was that I was Albanian, and I was curing myself in Italy, that meant I had to pay for my cures. But the chemotherapy’s cost was not affordable. The hospital wanted the money, or else I would not do the chemotherapy.
When the doctor entered in my room and told me this, I asked him only one thing:
” Doctor, what happens to me, if I don’t start the chemotherapy immediately?”
He started explaining this, but he couldn’t find the right words. But, do the right words exist in this world? There are not right words to tell a fifteen year old that she has only two months life, because her family doesn’t have the money to pay her cures.
And when he told me that, I finally started to cry! I couldn’t take it anymore! If I would have cancer, that would be impossible to cure, I would die happy, knowing that I would have fought to death. But dying, because I didn’t have the money for the cures, that was unacceptable for me. I didn’t know what I had to do, but for one thing I was sure. I was NOT leaving this world so fast, without even living my life. Even that I was face to face with the death, bringing me down would take more than that. I had too much faith on the life, to believe the death. My parents kept calling everyone they knew, who could help us. My doctor, prof. Roberto Biagini, kept talking with the hospital, to convince them to allow me do the chemotherapy. He kept calling, emailing, talking. I could see he was worried. But I felt protected. I knew that he wasn’t going to let me die. He was like my guardian angel. And if God would have sent me an angel to protect me, I’m sure he would be prof. Biagini.
My doctor saved my life. The hospital finally let me do the chemotherapy, thanks to him.
Yes, I suffered a lot, two years of chemotherapy, a 12 hours surgery followed by two 6-hours ones. But I am alive! I lost one school year, but I am here in this world.
I can hardly do any movements with my left arm, but I assure you my right arm can handle my everyday life.
Five years later, as I look back at it, I realize how much I can learn from my fifteen-year-old self. I moved to U.S the past year, and I am in college now. Life has been great.
But the world is suffering. There is so much we have to do, there is so many things trying to put us down, trying to shut us up, but we shouldn’t give up.
If my fifteen year old self would look at me, at all of us, she would say to put our chins up, have faith and hope and an unstoppable feeling to fight injustice.