PARALIMNI: "I got strength from my children and they from me-It's like being born again"

The words of Maria Markou are moving

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"There are times when you bend, but the point is to keep going and succeed".

And Maria continued, she succeeded and she now returned to her family.

Maria Markou, 40, wife and mother of two children aged 18 and 14, emerged victorious after a long battle with leukemia in a German hospital and from Saturday (6/11) she is ready to continue her life from where he left her.

Maria from Paralimni told SigmaLive her own story, she explained to us how she faced the hard battle she gave. She also tells us about how her life changed after the adventure she went through with her health.

When were you diagnosed with leukemia?

I was first diagnosed in June 2020 with myelofibrosis. I fainted and was hospitalized for 15 days. I was monitored by a doctor and every 10 days I did tests. I was informed that there was a possibility that he would develop leukemia. On March 3, 2021 I was diagnosed with leukemia. I saw what was to come and I was prepared for what I would face. It was not a shock to me, I told them I had leukemia before I was even diagnosed.

What was your first reaction and how did you announce it to your family?

I was shocked at my first diagnosis, as it was something rare for my age. I realized that I was going to have some kind of cancer and I was optimistic when I was informed about the transplant. My family was also shocked, they had questions but they saw me as strong and they took it relatively well. I explained to them that it is difficult, but with their help we would face it.

How did your children deal with it? Did they understand the situation?

As for my children, I explained to them what exactly the disease is and that it can turn into something worse. I explained to them that I would lose my hair because of the pills and that I would probably be away for days at the Hospital. They are quite mature and they told me that you will succeed mom and everything will go well. I got strength from my children and they from me.

Was there a time when you were afraid that you would not be able to meet this challenge in front of you?

There is definitely a time when you can no longer stand it. You get tired because it takes time. You are alone in a room for days and hours and because of covid19 I could not have visits. There are times when you bend but the point is to succeed and keep going. There are no options anyway. You need self-control, strength, patience and good psychology. Without psychology the situation becomes even more difficult.

When was your transfer to a German hospital?

I went to Germany on May 19, 2021 where the transplant took place. I already knew people who needed treatment in this hospital and so I decided to go to Germany despite the choice I had for treatment in a hospital in Greece.

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How was your experience in Germany and what was the treatment you received from the medical staff?

The treatment I received was excellent. There was some difficulty, as not everyone spoke English. For the six months I had to be in Germany I had my father by my side. He was my guardian angel because he was by my side all the time. Of course my life was saved by my sister who was compatible with me. My husband stayed behind and took care of our house and the care of our children.

What was the most difficult moment you faced during your treatment?

Apart from the fact that I was away from my family and my country, I was also locked in a room for days and I had to find something to spend my time. Of course there was the pain of the disease and the symptoms of the transplant.

Did you meet Thanasis Athanassiou there who also had leukemia?

I spoke with Thanasis before going to Germany. The disease we have is quite similar and he told me the best about the Hospital. We gave strength to each other, while we are both football fans. Someone who spends the same with you understands everything.

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Apart from Omonia, where else did you get help from?

I generally had support from all the teams and especially from my team when I announced it. They helped me, raised money, gave me various souvenirs from veterans and current footballers, gave me T-shirts for auction. Even businesses and ordinary people from all over Cyprus rushed to help me. I thank them all because without financial support I could not survive in Germany. Of course the treatment was covered by the state.

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What message would you like to send to those who are suffering from a serious illness at the moment?

Anyone facing any illness must have patience, strength and faith. The most important thing is optimism and good psychology to deal with it. If you do not believe then it is difficult to face it. If you constantly have something bad in mind, then it is impossible to fight for the good.

What does the next day bring for you? What are your goals and dreams?

I continue to visit the hematology ward of the Nicosia General Hospital. It needs to be monitored because you do not get rid of it so easily. It is difficult because it is like being born again, you start from scratch. It takes time for a person to return to a normal life. I would like to return to my job at some point. Of course, the working conditions of a cook are difficult, but I would like to return, otherwise I will dedicate myself to my family and I will live separately at every moment.

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