I have a 5-year old girl whose life I've saved, hopefully.
I could write pages and sadden you with the bitterness that has tormented my child and my soul, but that would bring nothing good; instead, I will try to tell you that there are people who give hope, you just have to let them exist. That's what I feel about this young woman, Ioana. She gave the courage and strength to have faith – in God, in my child and in her.
She fell and had an MRI, and a tumor was found in her right hip. If I had been the one with this problem, it probably wouldn't have shaken me as much as it did. But the problem was with my little girl, Maria. After two months of torment and disdain, after we were sent walking from one doctor to another, from one hospital to another, she was finally diagnosed: osteosarcoma.
I stayed in front of the computer for five days, trying to absorb all information I could find regarding this disease. Tens of very good experts, who were marketed everywhere, discussion forums on each of them, endless alternative treatments and all sorts of middlemen who wanted to refer you to any doctor they had at hand. IT WAS A NIGHTMARE!
In my despair, I sent emails everywhere. At some point, I found myself talking to a woman, whom I asked what an examination at Anadolu, in Turkey, would involve. We talked for an hour. During the discussions, she told me how my pessimistic attitude affected Maria – I couldn't stop crying –, what kind of water she should drink, what combinations of vegetables and fruits I should prepare, and about the alternative and supporting treatments for the upcoming period, until a decision would be made as regards chemotherapy. I asked her what her fee was, she explained to me the two contract options she offered, and I was supposed to send her the medical file in the evening; that happened on Thursday. On Monday, around noon, I received the reply from the commission of doctors that assessed Maria's case at Anadolu. In the days until I got the answer, I had received other replies to the emails I had sent, and I had seen some specialists and decided to stay in Romania for treatment. I thanked her nicely for her effort, and we planned to keep in touch.
The adventures that followed can barely be described. First, I had to register the child with a family physician in the district where we lived. He referred us to his mates, and, when I asked for a referral to a certain specialist, his attitude changed. I took the referral and then I started to follow the doctor around; everything was civil at our first meeting, but, with the second examination, we started meeting either in the public hospital, or in a private clinic, and I had to change the doctor barely 10 days later, because we had no chemistry. Throughout this period, Miss Ioana would call me every several days, encouraging me and giving me advice. Out of avarice, I did not want to sign anything and undertake to pay the consulting fee; I seemed to have things under control, but I ended up badly. All-in-all, I paid 2,400 euros until I got a diagnosis and a treatment plan. I felt that none of the doctors with whom I had interacted during this time saw me as a person with a soul and a face. They didn't give me any kind words, it was horrible. My boss's brother took pity on me and told me he would sponsor a trip to Turkey to another clinic. As I was in great need of money, I accepted to go. Before I left for the airport with Maria, I called and asked for a wheelchair. Of course, I got to the airport where I had to leave my child in a seat while I was trying to convince the staff that my girl could travel, and that we were expected, even if my family physician had not issued a document for such purpose. Who could have known we needed that? We finally departed, and, upon landing, we were expected at the airport and taken to the clinic. At the clinic, we were welcomed by an Indian doctor, who had just returned from home, and who had learned of our case two hours before, but did not have the time to look into it. Mind you! We were holding a treatment plan given by their hospital, and this doctor was telling me to give him time until the next day to study the file. I felt things were not OK. We were asked if we wanted to spend the night in the hospital, or go to the hotel. I asked him for a short time to recollect myself. I stayed for 4 hours on the hospital's hallway, but nobody came back. Anyway, in the mean time, I had gathered the courage to call Miss Ioana, who calmly told me that an ambulance would arrive in 3 hours to take me to Anadolu.
My little girl was greeted by the physician she still has today, and who has been observing her for one year. That is thanks to the Romanian physician who was expecting us back home when we returned from the treatment.
Upon my return, the first thing I did was to sign the contract with her, and I signed it with great joy, I tell you. I felt like I was paying well-deserved money, and that it was too little for the care and attention we received. It was only after I signed it that I fully understood the benefits. I'm telling you, you get to appreciate paid services that should be provided for free by our healthcare system through the physicians it trains.
Returning to the story, we were provided with a physician in Romania, who worked at the Grigore Alexandrescu Hospital, who knew Maria's file by heart, and who kept in touch with her physician in Turkey on a weekly, then monthly basis, or whenever needed.
The chemotherapy treatments are not easy. After each session, we received recommendations for adjuvants for supporting the body, we were provided with a nutrition specialist, and medical assistance at home.
We were provided with moral support, love, professionalism, and, most importantly, Maria's life was easier and more beautiful.
From the bottom of my heart, I sincerely thank this young woman, who seems to know what's she's doing!