22 February 2017
The most beautiful love stories often write themselves. Lila and Piotr are two young, wonderful people that have proved love can be found even in the least favourable of circumstances. The couple met in hospital after they were both diagnosed with blood cancer. Happily, they both bravely beat the disease thanks to stem cell donations from unrelated matching donors. Because of their unique situation, they experienced what may have been the most dramatic, but at the same time, most beautiful moments of their lives. Here, they recount how love struck them when they were least expecting it:
"I first met Piotr at the Transplantation Centre in Kraków. He was two months post bone marrow transplant and I was just preparing to undergo the procedure myself. He had had to return to hospital after picking up a virus during his recovery. After examinations, Piotr came up to me, shook my hand, and explained what it was like to undergo the bone marrow transplant. We talked all evening. The next morning, I was transferred to the Isolation ward. I wanted to say goodbye to Piotr, but he was not well enough for me to do so. Later that day, he fell into a coma. I sent him a message on Facebook, but all I could do was wait until I heard back.
After about two weeks, Piotr woke up from his coma. He couldn’t remember the events of the past month, but still replied to my message. Shortly after this, we met for a second time. From then onwards, we spoke every day either by phone or through controlled visits. It was so good to share our sorrows and joy and to support each other. After all, who would understand me as well as someone that has been through the same experience? It has been like this ever since."
"We got to know each other under sterile conditions. By sterile conditions, I do not mean only the disinfected isolation ward, clothes and food. I mean that it was a meeting of two emaciated young people, both bombed by chemotherapy and having had lost their hair. When life is at stake, people are sincere, authentic and open. We have been given this sterility.
I only know about our first meeting from Lila’s story. Knowing myself, I probably tried to help a frightened person and lift her spirits. I was 62 transplant days older than Lili. I tried to calm her down.
Lili received her transplant and I miraculously survived complications. We spoke constantly on the phone. Sometimes, I surreptitiously came into her isolation ward just to wave to her. Our nightly conversations lasted for hours. When we returned home to our families we kept in touch. I had to care about Lili’s well-being. We still were bothered by many ailments. When Lili had doubts and felt really bad, I tried to find a thousand reasons why she should continue fighting.
Leukemia reorganized our previous lives. Lili had to interrupt her studies, I had to stop working. Today, we are happily married, our experience has made us conscious of what the most important thing in our lives is – love."