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Paweł was 19 years old when a chest X-ray revealed a tumor over 20 cm in diameter. Hodgkin's disease was diagnosed. This is how his fight against cancer began. Removal of the tumor, chemotherapy, radiation, continuous testing …
Strong, tall, with well-developed arms, looks like an athlete. But in his face there is sheer delicacy, warmth, kindness.
The drama took place over ten years ago. Paweł Węgrowski was in a three-week military camp. All training participants were subjected to routine examinations. One of them was an x-ray of the lungs. The result of the examination worried the doctor, because instead of a part of the lung, a huge white stain was visible on the film.
Chest X-ray reveals Hodgkin
-The result was so strange that I was immediately taken to the Warsaw military hospital at ul. Szaserów. As nobody explained anything to me, I didn't know why I was going there. But in the military there is no discussion. There is an order, you have to follow- says Paweł.
Paweł was tested from head to toe for four months. Bronchoscopy, collecting bone marrow from the iliac plate. -Some of the tests were very unpleasant, but had to be endured. My worst memories are marrow harvesting. The doctor who did it probably didn't have much experience, because I felt as if a piece of bone was being torn out alive- recalls Paweł.
The diagnosis was delayed. Finally, the doctors said it was Stage IHodgkin . Paweł was transferred to surgery. Here, during over six hours of surgery, the surgeons tried to remove thetumor , which was an unusually overgrown lymph node in the chest. Unfortunately, it was not possible to remove it completely. Therefore, further treatment was necessary - chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
I was not told the truth about the cancer
From the military hospital, Paweł went to the Oncology Center in Ursynów, Warsaw. There were many like him here. Hairless head, pain visible on the faces and hopelessness in the eyes. -I was very young then- emphasizes Paweł. -To tell you the truth, I didn't realize the severity of the situation beingcancer . Neither the doctors nor my parents told me the whole truth. When I was going to have surgery, noI knew it was because of the cancer. When I was about to start chemotherapy, I was told it was … a long-term intravenous treatment. It was only at the Cancer Center that I realized that I had cancer. People were dying all around. The next-door neighbor ate breakfast and didn't live to see dinner. Every day, death would come to every room.
Paweł goes silent, and after a while he confesses in a slightly changed voice: -Then I broke down. I doubted, wondered what I was doing here, how it would all end. Fortunately, this state did not last long. I don't know if my cheerful and optimistic attitude towards the world was the decisive factor in my return to a good mental condition, or - as the saying goes - the power of the mind .
Before he started chemotherapy, the doctors offered him to deposit his sperm in a bank . "Someday you will want to have children, then it may come in handy" - they explained. He did as advised. For six months, he came to the center for chemistry every Monday.
-I was taking this treatment badly- he admits. -From Monday to Saturday I was living next to my life, because I was haunted by vomiting. It was better on Sunday, and on Monday it started all over again. When I finished taking my chemo, the radiation began. Fortunately, they only lasted a month .
I live normally, I beat cancer
Paweł did not return to the army. He received a military pension for the period of treatment, and a category D for the rest of his life. He did not care about it, because military service was not his dream. Edyta stayed with Paweł during the whole illness. She never doubted her boyfriend would make it out of it. Always cheerful, full of faith and - as Paweł emphasizes - wonderful. -We didn't talk about the disease. Edyta told me what was happening outside the hospital walls, what was happening at my friends' homes. I never doubted it, but we didn't have any big plans either. We waited, maybe even a bit unconsciously, what fatewould bring - Paweł admits.
The following years passed very quickly. Paweł was recovering from a very difficult treatment. When, 6 years after the end of the treatment, the check-up results were good, the doctor said that the greatest threat was over.
-I know that the worst is behind me, but I also know that I cannot feel completely safe. This is the case with all people who are affected by cancer. My cancer may come back too, but I try not to think about it. I regularly come for checkups and try to live, work and enjoy my family- says Paweł.
Paweł doesn't think about his illness. -Was, passed. My thoughts are now occupied by a certain little person for whom we chose the name Zosia- she says.
Efforts for hercoming into the world took two years. It was not without specialized tests that were to confirm or rule out difficulties with getting pregnant. But it finally worked. Nature took over. In June this year, Miss Zosia will be one year old. Her mother Edyta decided that it was a great opportunity for her parents to get married on her daughter's first birthday. It will also be like that.
-Zosia is gorgeous- her dad says proudly. -Always cheerful, smiling and curious. Lovely. Edyta is an amazing mother. I admire how she takes care of our daughter. She is a wonderful person, understanding, always willing to help. Many times in difficult situations, she was very helpful to me. I owe her a lot and I try to always remember about it- says Paweł. -And what will happen? We'll see. I would like to have a big family and enjoy each day. I do not think that the disease affects my life, my perception of the world or understanding of people. During therapy, I was not disappointed with my relatives or friends. Friends were with me and still are. I don't go back to the time of my illness and that's fine. Better to look to the future than to look back.