ITW n°73: Angélique - K fighter (leukemia).
today the sparkling Angélique, 32 years old, mother of a little 4-year-old doll, with devastating humor and beautiful contagious vibes, tells us about her fight against "type 3 acute promyelocitary leukemia" discovered at the age of 31 .
Angélique is now in complete remission since January 2015, yeah!
A great lesson in strength and resilience from a Mom who never stopped putting on her gloves to fight for her life and for her daughter of whom she thought every moment!
(testimony sent on April 19, 2016*)
Let's get started:
Who are you ?
First name: Angelique
Age: 32 years old
Profession: social worker in full questioning!
Where do you live: Acheville
Why do you agree to share your story today?
It’s a bit of an outlet I admit but also a way for me to talk about what I can’t always express and perhaps support other k fighters 😉
What are your qualities (in a few words)?
I'm funny (well, I make a lot of bad jokes but in general people laugh anyway...) humor is my best weapon, especially for defeating K!
I discovered myself to be combative and determined with morale of steel (well, almost always)
What are your passions (in a few words)?
drawing, painting and my 4 year old little one ❤️ I also like knitting (well no it's not an old thing!)
What K (what cancer - grade if you wish / stage ditto):
I was diagnosed with acute promyelocitary leukemia type 3 no less!
When was it discovered? How old were you ?
I was 31 years and 10 days old... I had bruises all over my body without being hit
Under what circumstances was it discovered?
At the sight of these impressive bruises I went to the emergency room. A blood test later we realize that I have almost no platelets and the results are worrying....
If you are currently undergoing treatment, or in remission (for how long?)
I have been in complete remission since January 23, 2015. Even if the recovery was rapid, I was entitled to consolidation chemos and hospitalizations in the sterile sector until April 2015.
Currently I continue chemo but at home with medication and subcutaneous injections 10 days a month.
This treatment aims to limit the risk of relapse so even if it is not easy every day it is worth it😉
Can you summarize your (K fighter) story for us ?
My life changed on December 19, 2014 when the word leukemia was mentioned after an anxious night in the emergency room.
The night doctor swore to me that it couldn't be leukemia and that it was nothing serious! As a result, I learned the news alone because my mother and I had been reassured by this doctor....
I only think of my daughter... She is barely 3 years old, the age I was when my dad died of cancer... I tell myself it's not possible, it's a bad thing. joke, history cannot repeat itself!
After a transfer to Lille and a bone marrow aspiration I learned that in my misfortune "my" leukemia is one of the most curable! So for sure, history will not repeat itself!
I put on my gloves and enter the ring with a team of exceptional supporters❤️
I had to stay in a sterile "bubble" for 5 weeks in the middle of the end-of-year celebrations... I saw my daughter thanks to Skype, it was my husband who managed the daily life like a pro thanks to I was reassured!
This made the separation with my sweetheart a little more tolerable even if it was heartbreaking...
My husband was and will remain my rock, the one who gave me strength when I no longer had any, he supported me when my head was shaved and loved me unconditionally and even without hair! (I did really well to marry him 😉)
And my mother who came almost every day, who always supported and accompanied me with strength without showing her suffering... She is and will remain a model of strength and courage❤️
My heart dad, the one who raised me and supported me! And my brothers, worried but always funny! My cousin, my sister who came from Brittany especially for me!
Colleagues, friends... All these people who allowed me to realize that whatever the trials of life, I would never be alone! A shock team to take down my K! And boom on January 23, 2015 my K left and for good! Well yes, you shouldn't have looked for me and my team!
Two series of chemo and sterile hospitalizations followed to consolidate this victory and on April 17, 2015 I was done with the hospital!!! No more central lane and no more confinement in 10m2 because that is the most difficult.
But fortunately I had top-notch nurses, caregivers and doctors! I discovered wonderful people who, despite their masks, bring smiles to your eyes and keep you in this strange world....
Now I am at home and even if the treatments remain heavy and tiring I am alive and I can enjoy my loved ones and my princess ❤️
I had to rebuild myself following this emotional roller coaster but I can say today that this ordeal strengthened me and that I know today how precious each little moment of life is.
What treatment did you have?
chemo: So my cocktail was based on idarubicin and aracytin for 7 days non-stop.
It was the biggest chemo.
Then I had two courses of idarubicin (3 days for 30 minutes).
These chemos being appeasing (lower immune defenses) followed by hospitalizations in a sterile sector until my blood tests returned to normal.
In addition I took vesanoid (capsules)
Today I am on methotrexate on Sundays and aracityne (10 injections per month) and I take 8 capsules of vesanoid every 3 months for 15 days.
What tips directly related to K do you want to share?
(your feeling with the doctor, your good treatment organization plans, anything that seems useful to you ;))?
1/ chemo: (ex: your tips, the helmet, your affinities with nurses):
If we are nice to the staff we have the right to floating islands! The only thing I could swallow 😉
Above all, there are no stupid questions so don't hesitate to ask and ask again!
How did you live the day before, the same day, the days after chemo?
and what were your tips?
I always tried to do nice things before and above all eat what I wanted! It was my compensation 😉
I was trying to clear my head by walking and shopping 😃
Above all I said to myself “come on, this will be another one done and a step towards the end of the tunnel!”
And last advice: above all, don’t isolate yourself! It's true that sometimes we don't want to see anyone but that's what can keep us going! I had to overcome my fear that my loved ones would see me without makeup and without hair, but ultimately once this barrier has been overcome, we can accept the help and support we so need!
2/ hospital: (e.g. contact with nurses / doc / caregivers):
I talked a lot with the staff and not just about illness.
I was lucky to have a great team by my side! We ate carambars and told each other jokes!
It's easier when you have good contacts with the medical profession and I realized that they were not as inaccessible as I thought.
What did you do to clear your mind/clear your head (before chemo, surgery & co)?
I try to do nice things (walks, shopping, activities with my baby, family time, etc.)
Always tell me that every chemo treatment is a victory!
What practical “well-being/beauty” tips can you advise us?
1/ beauty: your essential products (e.g.: creams, varnishes, scars, oils, etc.)
so for my part I would say maximum hydration and as in sterile few products are tolerated I took dexeryl and it's great!
I made scrubs with honey and crushed sugar (yes it was a bit Koh Lanta!)
For the scar I use bepanthene cica with the roll on.
2/ look, (e.g. your favorite chemo, hospital, every day look to feel good):
So I am, as they say, a fashion addict so on a daily basis I enjoy dressing up but at the hospital it was mainly jogging and comfort! Not very fashionable but I was banking on humorous “I’m the fairy don’t shit” style t-shirts (thank you colleagues 😉)
3/ daily (e.g. sport, food & co, meditation, reading, etc.)
I try to exercise regularly to stay in shape but I also know how to take it easy when my body asks me to!
I pay attention to what I eat but I also know how to let go from time to time!
4/ hair problem (eg: were you wearing a wig, scarves, hats) - see the Hair & Eyebrows Kit here!
Ah the hair!!! I had a really hard time accepting my egghead...
I chose a wig which helped me a lot at the start but very quickly I wanted to take it off because I wasn't totally comfortable... I was lucky that my hair grew back quickly but it was very hard to take I admit...
During the hospi I was not allowed to wear a wig so it was a scarf! I had all kinds and different colors for a little variety!
When I was around 2-3cm I took everything off to free myself but I didn't think I was very pretty. But we end up putting things into perspective and slowly accepting each other (big ups to Coralie my wedding photographer who offered me a post-wig "removal" session which helped me a lot)
Were you concerned about the views of others, were you afraid that their views would change? What did you do to counter it?
I am very or even too concerned about how others look at me... I have always done everything not to seem "sick".
This is also why the hair loss disturbed me so much... Fortunately I didn't notice any different eyes, much to my astonishment!
Despite everything, I always need to show that I'm doing well so I dress up and try to hide the fatigue... It's sometimes hard but I admit I have difficulty letting go at this level...
What are the “nugget”/footed phrases (that you remember) that someone said to you during K and that you could have avoided?
well the one that comes to mind is “I saw your daughter yesterday and she seemed tired though!”
In a context where I am locked in a sterile room and have been separated from her for weeks... It's like a stab in the heart as you try to hang on....
It may have been harmless for this person but very hard for me to take....
How did your loved ones support you?
I was incredibly lucky to be surrounded by so much love and support that I could only fight and get through it! I was congratulated a lot for my courage but if they only knew how they impressed me too!
I have a wonderful family, an extraordinary husband and golden friends! I lack words to thank them and tell them how much I love them!
And of course my princess my engine! She who will make me fight every day like a lioness to see her grow ❤️❤️❤️❤️
And what advice could you give to loved ones who accompany a K fighter?
stay yourself and try not to change your outlook even if it is not obvious I agree!
Never think that you are useless because each of your actions helps us to get better 😉
Do you find out about K on the internet?
I am very little afraid of false information and I prefer to find out from my Doctor.
I would have just liked to find testimonials but this type of leukemia being rare I can't necessarily find any...
If so, what would be the useful (internet) links that helped you during K?
the Laurette Fuguain association website is well designed and very clear.
What has the K changed in your life...?
(for example: your vision of the world, your priorities, your essentials, refocusing those around you, in your work, your philosophy..?)
everything changed ! Every little moment is precious!
I am calm and I stop worrying about trifles! I'm enjoying it like never before and I'm aware of how lucky I am to simply be alive!
I have a lot of projects in my head (including a testimonial book) and a desire for professional renewal! I am in the middle of a skills assessment!
I don't want to regret anything and no longer postpone until tomorrow!
My life is like a beautiful, big blank page that I fill every day! I see the horizon and happiness!
Now it's carpe diem!!!
A thousand amazing thanks Angélique, for your words, and your beautiful, contagious vibes.
*Many of you send me your testimonies, thank you for your precious trust, for this same reason, the broadcasts of your interviews will sometimes be broadcast in several months, but know that I keep and transmit absolutely ALL the testimonies that are sent to me , Thank you for understanding.
Please note that I do not retouch any Interview, they are completely free, it is your freedom, your story, I just add my personal touch with the illustration, they are delivered as they were sent to me ;)
NEVER GIVE UP!!