Body with a story: I am Barbora and cancer took my head, but it also gave me hope

At the same time, she began collaborating on several projects that deal with health education, oncology and a generally healthy approach to the body. She was also part of Ewa Farná’s music video for the song Tělo.

He is also part of the Sifty team, with which the “Stories of” project was launched, and various topics related to health and education are gradually revealed here.

You can watch the project here:

Web: www.pribehyo.cz

Instagram: www.instagram.com/sifty.eu

You can still follow the Body with Story project at the following links:

Facebook: facebook.com/telospribehem

Instagram: instagram.com/telospribehem

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My name is Barbora and this is my story.

I’m a mother of two and I still can’t believe it. My dream came true, even if the path was a bit thorny.

Having a family and children was something I wanted from a young age. I was thirty when I finally got pregnant. Unfortunately our baby left very early and I was broken. I know it happens, and what about the first stage of pregnancy, but it still hit me hard. The loss of a coveted baby cannot be passed on without emotion. Fortunately, I managed to get pregnant again within a few months, and despite several complications, I gave birth to my daughter, who immediately became the center of our lives. We were proud parents and after years I felt that was the time when I felt truly happy. Everything fit together and I felt like I was flying on a cloud. But one day, a day came when I went back to the hard ground very quickly.

It took time for Barbara to regain her confidence.It took time for Barbara to regain her confidence.Source: Archives of Barbora Hájková

At that time, our Marketa was one year old and one day my companion pointed out to me that I had a bump on my head. At first I didn’t pay much attention to it, but he made me see my doctor and see if I was missing anything. I’m not exactly the kind of person who likes to rush to the doctor when something isn’t really hurting or bothering him. At that time, I felt absolutely fine, with no pain, but suddenly with a lump in my head. However, this did not limit me in any way.

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So I heard my partner’s insistence and went to see my doctor, who gave me no explanation for my bulge, which I originally thought had grown on my head overnight. I received a recommendation for an ENT examination. They also didn’t know how to treat me here, as they had never encountered anything like this before. It took a few weeks for the bulge to go away, and when it didn’t, I finally took a SONO test. From the start, I mystified the doctor, probably by claiming that a lump in my head suddenly appeared. Now I know it grew for me for many months, but I really didn’t notice it at all. My attention was directed elsewhere, to the baby. Honestly, I have to say that I was already a little annoyed by these exams and didn’t want to go anywhere anymore, because I was sure that I was fine and had the maximum lump on my head. However, SONO showed that it probably wouldn’t be such a triviality, and I got a request for a biopsy to show more. At this point, I was a bit unsure. But I didn’t allow any horrible scenarios.

Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, this is the verdict that fell after the biopsy.

She doesn't hide her scars, but she's proud of everything she's been through.She doesn’t hide her scars, but she’s proud of everything she’s been through.Source: Archives of Barbora Hájková

You’ve probably never heard of that either, have you? Me neither so far. It’s a very aggressive malignant fibrous tumor that needed to get out of my head ASAP. It soon became clear why it took so long to figure out what was wrong with me. At that time, I was the only patient in the Czech Republic with this type of head tumor, and overall DFSP is a rare condition. It was a huge shock for me, I never thought I could get cancer. How is this possible, because I’m still young and I don’t live in any way, so why me? What if I die and what about my baby girl?

I asked myself thousands of questions, but I didn’t know the answers. I had a series of exams to show how serious it was. After the first major CT scan, I visited the FNKV ENT clinic, where they explained everything to me. Unfortunately, it turned out that the tumor had invaded not only my skin and tissues, but also my skull. However, I will never forget my doctor’s phrase: “Well, look, if you have it on your limb, for example, it is optimal to solve this problem by amputation, but we simply cannot amputate your head.” That’s when I first cried and realized it was going to be more serious than I had originally thought.

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I wasn’t doing well at all, but I was trying to stay afloat, because of my little girl, who I didn’t want to pass on my stress and worries to. But it was not easy for me. Whether you like it or not, you will have thoughts of death, even if the prognosis was not bad at all in the final. Fortunately, further examination showed that I had no metastases in my body and therefore surgery could take place. I knew in advance that they would have to cut out a piece of my skull and maybe some other stuff besides the tumor. However, everything had to appear during the operation itself.

D-Day came and I underwent an eight-hour operation, during which a tumor was removed from the temporal part of my head, including part of the skull, skin, muscles, jaw joint, part of the inner ear, etc. at the same time a part of the broad dorsal muscle and a piece of new leather. I was very lucky to have a wonderful and very professional doctor and I’m really happy to live in a time when even a relatively rare type of cancer can be treated.

My family and close friends have been incredibly supportive and given me incredible strength. However, I must say that after the operation it was not such a walk in the rose garden. When I miss the headaches and the rest of my body after the operation, I was not well mentally. I was still waiting for the histology results and for several weeks I was tense about whether I was going to have radiation or even chemotherapy. Thanks to this, I also stopped breastfeeding my then 15 month old daughter the day before the operation, because I was afraid of further treatments and did not want to undergo two withdrawals.

She is the proud mother of two children, whom she considers the most important in her life.She is the proud mother of two children, whom she considers the most important in her life.Source: Archives of Barbora Hájková

Fortunately, Marketa came out of it better than me and she even kissed me for the first time a week after the operation. Until then, she was afraid of me, which doesn’t really surprise me. It was one of the most touching experiences I have had, even because I heard the magic “mom” from their mouths for the first time.

Time passed and I learned that no further treatment would be needed and that I would only be under the supervision of doctors for months and years. I was extremely grateful and I was extremely relieved. However, for a while I compared myself to my new look. I felt really bad for the first few weeks and months and felt like I wasn’t going to handle my new self. But all this took time and patience, and today I can say that I have already reconciled with myself, and even if I have a hole in my head, I don’t mind.

This could be the end of my story, but not quite. A few months after the operation, I had a big surprise. I learned that I was pregnant. And I have to admit it wasn’t really a plan. Not that we didn’t want another child, quite the contrary, but I didn’t expect it so soon. I always wanted to have more children, but after this experience of my illness, I was frankly scared and my family was even more scared. Nobody ever confirmed it to me, but after all, the tumor in my body probably started to grow after the first miscarriage or delivery, and I was a bit worried that history would repeat itself. Doctors never told me the cause of my illness, and I knew I had to get my psyche together so my body would work together and be healthy and strong to bring another creature into the world. Since my body was not overloaded with any follow-up treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation, there was no fear that the baby would have any problems. Yes, I was advised to conceive a child about 2-3 years after the operation, but it was mainly to physically replenish my body and I had time to replenish the psyche.

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However, fate had other plans, and I’m sure it should have happened. I believe babies don’t come to us by accident and I was 100% sure of ours. I can’t explain otherwise how it is possible that I got pregnant +/- the same day as my first pregnancy, when the little soul left us unexpectedly and came back after three years. Yes, it may be a coincidence, but I believe that things happen in our lives for certain reasons.

If I had everything in my hands, we might not even have another child out of fear. And I’m convinced that our little boy has returned to his mother, to his mother in good health, after years.

I wish you all good health and if you happen to be going through a difficult time in your life, know that you are stronger than you think.

Barbora Hajkova

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