Former cancer patient and ambassador of the FUCK CANCER project for the Olomouc Region
1) What appealed to you about the FUCK CANCER project and why are you putting your energy into it?
I'm part of Pink Bubble, so joining Fuck cancer was an obvious choice. I'm enjoying the new concept of the project and also the many super enthusiastic people who have been in it since the beginning! It's good to share experiences, so I'd like to contribute my bit to the mill too.
2) What does the term FUCK CANCER mean or express to you?
It's kind of our motto together. Something I've been through and I'm not alone. A community of very close friends and other supportive people.
3) Can you imagine who you are fighting for here as a "SOLDIER"?
For all those who are going through cancer right now, for all those who have already gone through it and for those who unfortunately will have to go through it someday... I'm fighting to raise awareness and "normalize" the topic of cancer.
4) What would you say to someone who says they find the phrase "FUCK CANCER" vulgar?
You can't talk softly in the context of cancer, so I think this connection is accurate...
Hi, I'm Terka and I don't have a leg!
It all started when I was ten years old. I woke up one day and my leg hurt. My ankle was a little swollen, red and warm, and I couldn't put my foot on it. We immediately went to the doctor for a check-up and she told me that my leg was just strained, that I was an active kid, and sometimes that happens. She gave me an ointment for it - Dolgit and ordered a resting regimen. In a few days, the leg calmed down. But not for long.
After about a month my foot swelled up again and I couldn't step on it again. I had a check-up with the doctor and the same procedure... The doctor knows. It was quiet again for a while. However, an unpleasant surprise awaited me after another three weeks when I woke up with the same difficulties. Our doctor was on vacation, so we went to the doctor who was filling in for her. Thank goodness! The covering doctor didn't seem to like it, so she sent me straight to the hospital for an x-ray. The result was that the cause seemed a little unclear and they had to hospitalize me. Well, I, a little girl, didn't know what that meant, so I asked my mom, all horrified, what it was - the hospitalization. Mum went to get my things and I stayed in the hospital in Olomouc for a while. There I had a round of tests and surgery, where they took a biopsy to find out what was actually growing in my leg. At first they thought it was just inflammation of the bone. Then they let me go home and my leg was still in a splint. Later, I was hospitalized once more in Olomouc, had another surgery, and before that, the worst experience I had in the hospital.
They called me to the nurse's station, put me on a gurney, said nothing, just that they had to suck something out of my swollen leg, took a giant needle and stuck it in my upper arm. I've never experienced worse pain... it's been 19 years and I still remember it - how I was screaming at the whole ward, how the nurse was holding me tightly and the doctor was suctioning me, and he kept squeezing that sensitive ankle. When I left, I was at least given a sedative to sleep off the pain.
After the second operation, I'm sitting in the examination room again and the doctor tells the nurse to tie the splint nicely, so that the Prague people can see... I didn't get it again... And then they said goodbye to our parents. In the car, my parents told me that I would have to be treated in Motol in Prague, that in Olomouc they didn't specialize in what was wrong with me. To this day I don't even know if the diagnosis was made at that time.
And so it happened that in November 2002 I was hospitalized (I knew the term well by then) in Motol. I see my first visit to the ward, where there were all bald children, as I do today. One girl's hair had almost fallen out and only irregular strands remained on her head, a fact I commented on by saying that I would rather shave my hair right away. I had no idea how quickly it would happen.
The Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology became my second "home" for almost a year. Then it went from strength to strength, chemotherapy, nausea, weight loss, successive tufts of hair on my pillow, shaving my head, stem cell collection, the last 6th dose of chemotherapy and the decision. My parents went to Prague to get it themselves, my grandmother watched me. The next day my mom came to see me in bed and I told her what happened in the show she hadn't seen the night before. When Daddy came in, he sat by my bed and told me what they had learned yesterday, " They'll have to cut your leg off eventually, just below the knee like this, but then they'll give you a prosthesis and you'll walk normally again. And do everything." So he served me the result, and I just nodded and then I finished telling my mother about the show. Somehow, I guess I didn't get it, or I had a vision that everything would be fine and I would be able to function like before again.
April 2003, amputation in the tibia. After the amputation I had unbelievable phantom pain, I took pills for a long time. Then it started to help when I started cutting under my stump with scissors, like cutting the nerves...I don't know, I don't understand, but it worked. Then they hospitalized me for another month and gave me my stem cells back. They scheduled it right around my 11th birthday, nice gift. That's when the nurses bought me a bear, which I still have. And that was it, treatment complete. I had to practice and move the stump so I could get the prosthesis soon. The first time I saw the prosthetist, I stretched my leg as instructed and he just raised an eyebrow in question: "Is that all you're going to stretch it?" The look spoke volumes and the brochure - "Prosthesis or wheelchair?" - even clearer. At that moment I realized I might end up in a wheelchair. So I started practicing more honestly, overcoming the pain, and then I got my first leg. I learned to walk at the rehabilitation institute in Chuchelné, where I went every year for rehabilitation until I was eighteen. As far as school was concerned, I was in 5th grade and luckily I didn't have to repeat, so I went back to my classmates and started 6th grade with them. Being that I was still a relatively young child, I took the treatment quite comfortably. I knew then that I was sick, but I was in a hospital where the doctors would cure me, that's what they were there for and that's that. I had no idea how insidious cancer could be and that it was not a given to come out of treatment healthy. I admire my parents and my entire extended family for how they handled it all, because they knew... And it must have been incredibly difficult for them, I can't even begin to imagine it from their position. And I'm so grateful for all of them. It has brought us together as a family and I believe we have all taken the best out of it for life.
For me, it is definitely the realization that health is the most important thing and you should enjoy life to the fullest. You never know what can happen.
Soldiers & Heroes
"This experience changes everything, closes one door called plans and opens a whole new world - a hospital world."
"It's good to ask the patient straight out what they're going through, what's going on, rather than having an awkward silence."
"It's easy enough these days to just surround yourself with carefree fun. Living in a bubble of positivity and good feelings."
"I will be undergoing treatment for the rest of my life, but that doesn't mean I have to sit at home on my ass. I want to enjoy life, not just survive."
"These people need tremendous support, and not just from me, not just from you, but from everyone."
"Fuck Cancer for me is a clear answer to this disease, which is definitely not easy."