Is happiness after cancer possible?

dorota, cancer survivor

Is it possible to be happy after cancer? Can you feel feminine and strong after mastectomy?

Meet Dorota, who answers YES to these questions! A breast cancer survivor, previously a beneficiary of the foundation, she now lives life to the fullest and finds happiness in helping others suffering from cancer.

How did you find the Alivia Foundation?

I came upon the foundation at a time when I needed financial help after cancer treatment. At first I called a different foundation, which was better-known than Alivia at the time. However, it was impossible for me to become a beneficiary there. Soon after I received Alivia’s contact information. I quickly took care of all the formalities and joined the Piggy Bank Programme.

What did you do when medical examinations confirmed you had breast cancer?

From the moment of diagnosis I started struggling with questions such as what are the chances of surviving breast cancer, what is the likelihood of relapse, will I be healthy after chemotherapy, or will radiotherapy and rehabilitation be necessary, will I be able to have children, when and where will I be able to get breast reconstruction surgery. Even though I visited many hospitals, my knowledge about cancer was still scarce. I was completely lost.

Fortunately, I had a lot of luck. During my stays at the hospital, many strangers showed me kindness, warmth, and care. After this experience, I truly understand how important another person’s approach is to someone struggling with cancer. At the time, I knew nothing about cancer! I was only 25 and had already undergone two surgeries and was in line for chemotherapy. I had the opportunity to make the decision about surgery and treatment myself. I decided to go for radical mastectomy and chemotherapy “for dessert”.

How did Alivia help you?

As a young woman, I wanted to undergo reconstructive surgery as soon as possible. I underwent three surgeries, and I became a beneficiary of the foundation during the last one. The result of the second surgery was terrible, a hard implant placed directly under my skin, which made me feel awful. The NFZ (national health fund) was only able to refund one surgery, and so my only choice was a private operation. That’s when I contacted The Alivia Foundation, and they’ve been helping me ever since.

Why did you choose to volunteer?

I saw an ad on Facebook, which I do not check very often. It was a complete coincidence that I saw it. I didn’t hesitate, I applied on Friday, and on Monday I became a volunteer. I strive to be truly happy in life, to not regret the things I haven’t done. Since the diagnosis, I re-evaluated my approach to life. I stopped worrying about the little things. I can see that people who have gone through similar troubles can understand me and my outlook. When I received the diagnosis, I struggled to talk about my disease because it evoked such strong negative emotions. I am very sensitive, so every time the topic of my cancer came up my eyes would start to tear up.

Recently, I finally opened up. Now I am aware that nobody really knows when their life will end, and that each moment matters, we just have to learn how to enjoy each and every one of them. I only have one life, health is the priority, and the rest depends on me!

alivia foundation volunteers

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