Daniel Chmelíček

Former cancer patient and member of the Fuck Cancer team

"Just don't fuck it up and enjoy life as much as you can."

1) What appealed to you about the FUCK CANCER project and why are you putting your energy into it?

The project appealed to me because I have been through cancer myself and I know it is not easy. I hope that it will raise awareness of the disease and make people think about how they can help someone who is not at their best.

2) What does the term FUCK CANCER mean or express to you?

It expresses to me the strength to fight this disease and that I can make it through.

3) Can you imagine who you are fighting for here as a "SOLDIER"?

For our sick friends and all the other people who need our help. And then for the healthy ones who need a little nudge not to sit on their asses and be afraid to help.

4) What would you say to someone who says they find the phrase "FUCK CANCER" vulgar?

Personally, I find the phrase FUCK CANCER quite appropriate for this disease. It is an insidious disease that affects all ages, makes no distinctions and in most cases hides behind other problems.

The story of Dan

My story started quite a long time ago, as a 16 year old boy I was enjoying life and not worrying about anything. I played soccer, baseball, volleyball and anything else that resembled sports. I started my freshman year in high school and I don't think we did too bad. I met my first great love Andrejka there and my life was at my feet. However, it didn't take long before I had a real collision with reality.

It all started during the holidays, when my left shoulder started hurting, which I didn't give that much importance considering my sports load. However, I accidentally fell one day and broke my left arm. At that moment everything took a quick turn, followed by a night on Ibalgin, a visit to the hospital where they did an X-ray and said that my arm was really broken and something was wrong. This was followed by another visit to the orthopedist, who immediately sent me to Motola for further examination. Another X-ray, another examination and I was done. The diagnosis was clearly "cancer". Surprisingly, my first reaction was not fear or panic, but since we had taken the tumors at the end of my freshman year in college, I immediately started asking questions about what was going to happen, whether there would be a biopsy, radiation, and chemotherapy. I still think the doctor was quite taken aback and even told me himself a few years later that he doesn't encounter that reaction very often. And now was the moment to tell my girlfriend and family. They were all extremely supportive, even though I could feel how broken they were. I remember my mom even thought I was making fun of her, which is similar to me at times, but this was reality. Mum even offered to quit her job and be in hospital with me for the whole treatment, which I am so grateful for, but I think I would have gone mad soon. In my case, even though we have great relationships at home, I need some freedom. What followed was a round of about three million appointments for all sorts of things, as my arm was still broken, so they tried to push me through to an MRI, but at the time the waiting time was 2-3 months, which was not optimal, and I signed up as an alternate in case a spot opened up. I normally went to school and waited for them to call me. As soon as it happened I announced in class that I was very sorry but I had to leave and I didn't know when I would be back as I had cancer and I didn't know if it would be a year, two years or never, This was very hard for me to say. I came out and I had tears in my eyes because I knew I was leaving my comfort zone and I was probably going to have a very difficult time. A few more of my classmates ran up to me and hugged me warmly. I don't quite remember what followed. I had a biopsy and was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma and small metastases on my lungs. The first phase of chemotherapy had to be started quickly.  Before that, I went for semen collection and freezing, as after the treatment one can be left infertile. I remember being advised to do this by our wonderful teacher and I am so glad I have that insurance. Chemotherapy, well, what can I tell you, no great taste. My hair started to fall out, which at the time was quite long and curly, so when I went to the barber after 14 days, instead of a haircut, it was the clipper. Every day, or at least every other day, I had family and girlfriends coming to see me. They would bring me something good to eat, although if you're dripping with chemo, you don't think much of food. Fortunately, I didn't drop out of school because they were a million percent supportive and made me an individual plan, so I didn't have to skip a year and lose my newly made friends.

This went on with me for some time and the next stage was radiation, which I tolerated better. However, it didn't end there, they started to look further into what they were going to replace the bone they were going to take out and so they came up with a special bone that is attached to my shoulder blade. I lay in the operating theatre for something like 6.5 hours where they took out everything that was needed and I woke up in the ICU. The first thing I wondered was if I had an arm, as there was also the possibility of losing it. Fortunately, everything worked out and my arm is still working. A huge stone fell from my heart. I put myself together through rehab followed by another set of chemo treatments.

We already knew a lot of people and nurses at the hospital. And I have to tell you that the nurses in pediatric oncology are angels who take care of us day and night and have my great admiration. I got a lot of beautiful and smiling experiences from here, because even in the bad moments you can find bright moments and you need to laugh, laugh a lot and be with people you love. What happened next is not so important, just a little insertion at the end. As they say, when life closes one door, it opens another, so it opened my horizons. I found out that life shouldn't just be lived, it should be really lived !!!!! I lost a family member, a few friends to this nasty disease, but I know they all knew how to enjoy life as much as they could. I was introduced to the Pink Bubble Foundation, where I met up with a few friends from treatment again and gained many more there, although for me it's not just friends, it's family and everyone there is amazing people who care for us. I also found my other great love there, Misha, who is also a recovered cancer patient and I feel we are closer because of this experience.

And I would like to say goodbye to you and wish you all well, be healthy and don't sit on your ass, enjoy your life and if someone has a problem, go to them and show them that they are not alone and this is the main idea for me, why I am writing this and also helping in the FUCK CANCER project. ♥

Soldiers & Heroes