Living with cancer

monika, cancer survivor

This is a story of incredible strength, courage, and happiness. A story which stands out among many at The Alivia Foundation.

Monika has been battling lung cancer for the past six years – and she is still winning! She proved that with the help of modern medicine, financial aid, as well as a willingness to fight, one can achieve unbelievable effects.

In the spring of 2012, nobody would have suspected that Monika, an ambitious single mother, was about to undergo such a struggle. After three months of uncertainty, she received a diagnosis: lung cancer with metastasis in the lymph nodes. She was aware of how dangerous a disease it was. She recalls how she was paralyzed with fear, both for herself as well as for her then underage daughter Kamila.

However, with the support of her loved ones, Monika overcame her fears and underwent a six-month wasting therapy cycle. Luckily, standard treatment methods allowed for control over the disease and chemotherapy, as well as radiotherapy, reduced the tumor. The following year was happily cancer free! The tumor did not make itself apparent. Monika did everything not to think about it, and to enjoy her life as much as possible. Unfortunately, in October of 2014, the cancer had returned. A relapse – a diagnosis like this is often a tragedy, and might feel like the end of the world. But even though the news were crushing, Monika did not give up. In her time of illness, she actively expanded her knowledge and kept looking for new information on the best treatments available. Her inspiration to keep going was her daughter – Monika’s concern about her and her future drove her and kept her from giving up hope. Her friends and family were also a great support, they all helped her look for solutions.

On the Alivia Foundation’s website, Monika found information about personalized cancer treatment, which is based on the use of modern medications specifically selected for a given type of cancer. Thanks to her efforts, genetic tests were done, and she was given medication that was specifically selected for her. The cancer was put to sleep once again! A moment of uncertainty in 2017 quickly passed – a growth in the tumor turned out to be a mistake in the examination. Ever since then, Monika has been enjoying the peace and lack of relapses. Peace comes at a price though – the price of side effects and many financial expenses. It’s been over four years since Monika started personalized treatment – four years during which examinations, medical checks, and trips have become an everyday thing.

Travels to hospitals and medications which soothe the side effects of chemotherapy consumed a large chunk of Monika’s financial resources. This took a big toll on the modest household budget of a single mother. However, thanks to the involvement and help of hundreds of wonderful people, both friends as well as strangers, who donated money through the Piggy Bank Programme, she was able to cover the costs of therapy. Today, six years have passed since the first diagnosis, and a month since the last examination and Monika feels great. Thanks to her determination and courage, as well as the help of many other people, she can now plan her future freely.

She plans to travel (not only to doctor’s appointments) with her daughter, Kamila. And what’s most important, she plans to be with her daughter as she steps into adulthood! Monika’s example teaches us that we cannot give up – even when the situation seems dire. And how did Monika sum up her battle?

“The support of loved ones and positive thoughts is 50 percent of success, the other 50 percent is a carefully selected treatment. Today, I catch myself completely forgetting about cancer! My approach to life took a 180 turn, I am much more self-aware and truly happy!”