I was sent to Moscow for a biopsy and had to spend a month there, which meant I had to say goodbye to all of my plans. The biopsy results were clear: Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A friend of the family previously underwent treatment at Sheba Medical Center and recommended that we go there at once as soon as he heard the diagnosis. And so, out of desperation, my mom and I went to Israel – without any prior knowledge about the country and with no one we could rely on there. We were lucky to make friends with an Osetian family that lived there – they helped us find a place to stay in.
All of the medical examinations were completed during the first week. That’s when we realized: we not only had to stay much longer than we initially anticipated, but we also needed to start raising money for the treatment. Our friends helped us rent a flat and furnish it. My mom, who accompanied me everywhere restlessly, was pregnant and had to fly back home after a while; my dad took over the duties. I started to undergo treatment – I was in for 4 cycles of chemotherapy.
I barely arrived in the country and had already started treatment. In September, I celebrated the Jewish New Year, or Rosh HaShanah, and it was an unforgettable experience. Israel fascinated me with the magnitude of its celebrations, its jubilance and vibrancy, but it was slightly overwhelming at first. I felt a bit alienated by unfamiliar customs that permeated Bnei Brak, a religious city we rented a flat in. However, the hospitality and consideration of the people surrounding me filled me with encouragement.
During my treatment, I went to Tel Aviv every day, walked on the shore, and breathed the salty sea air – and I feel that it has done wonders for my healing process. The second PET-CT scan showed that all the lumps in my lymph nodes were gone! However, the treatment course for hodgkin’s lymphoma had to be completed.
During my stay in Israel, I picked up a great fondness for foreign languages. Now I am trying to learn Hebrew – it’s challenging, but very fun.
Nowadays, apart from the examinations I still have to go through every couple of months, everything has mostly returned to normal – I go to university and lead a happy life. I am really impressed by Israeli medicine. The entire medical staff working at Sheba Medical Center are wonderful – the nurses, my physician Dr. Assaf Barg, he was brilliant! Everybody was very kind and considerate to me. Rimma, our medical coordinator, was delightful – an absolute bundle of joy, and always knew how to encourage me and make me laugh!
I am immensely grateful to all the people who made my treatment in Israel possible: the German charity fund, people in my home country and in Ukraine who helped raise money for my treatment and the Israeli charity fund Chance4life.