Some of us will be unlucky enough to hear the awful news that we have cancer in our lifetimes.
But a smaller percentage have to face the uncertainty and fear of knowing the devastating disease is likely to return.
Krisztina Sardi was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in February 2020 – just a year after adopting her first daughter.
The mum-of-one has the genetic type of cancer which she says is “the most feared kind of all as currently there is no know long term blocker in conventional medicine that can reduce the chance of recurrence”.
Krisztina, currently based in Hungary, lived in London for 12 years but returned when she got the news that her mother had the same type of cancer.
Now, she is in Germany undergoing the first round of experimental treatment to repair her immune system and hopefully reduce the likelihood of reoccurrence (or at least prepare her body for fighting it should it return).
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The BRCA1 gene dictates that people with that marker have an 80 per cent chance of getting breast cancer and a 50 per cent chance of ovarian cancer.
Krisztina, 40, unfortunately has that gene and she was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer last year.
She told MyLondon: “When you hear something like this just becoming a new mom, you know, your head just becomes cloudy and you don’t even know what to do.”
She had to undergo five months of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy which she called: “quite scary.”
“Losing both of your breasts before 40 is not a fun thing to do,” she said.
For Krisztina, it was also a case of history repeating itself as, years before, her mother suffered from the same type of cancer.
She said: “It’s not a good sort of psychological state to be in thinking that ‘oh, my God, it’s the same story as her,’ but then you have to know that you create your own life, and everyone has a different story. So you don’t have to be someone else’s story.”
Throughout the ordeal, Krisztina turned to yoga and meditation, and also adopted a healthy lifestyle to give her body the best chance at being in a state to survive the chemotherapy.
“Your mind is going 100 miles an hour, and you imagine all the worst things that could happen.
“But healing can only take place if you don’t have stress in your body, because when you’re stressed, you’re in fight or flight mode, so it was really, really helpful to do meditation and some yoga,” she explained.
She added: “I have to say it’s a very positive journey that you can take if you choose to, you can look at things very differently than before. You can take care of yourself a lot more than you’ve ever done.”
‘My daughter has been so brave’
She also learned to find joy in unexpected places.
“You know, having your hair growing back and your eyelashes, it’s crazy. You start to be happy about things that you never knew were things,” Krisztina said.
Above all, her one-year-old daughter and husband helped her to cope with the hellish journey.
Speaking about the treatment, on days when Krisztina would be clutching the toilet, nauseated, she said:
“That’s really really difficult, having your daughter there and you can’t even drink water at some points and you’re just, you know, crying on the toilet and crying.”
She added: “She[her daughter]’s crying, I was crying, my husband was crying. But then we went through that and you know kids are so resilient. Flexible, they adapt to any situation. It was fantastic. How brave she was and how good she was.”
Her current diagnosis is that there is ‘no evidence of cancer’ but Krisztina is aware that that could change in the future.
She has therefore been fundraising for treatment in Germany which hopes to put her immune system in the best possible position to fight cancer cells.
Following chemotherapy, her immune system has taken a beating and, as a result she has caught Covid three times.
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The treatment at Arcadia Klinik costs 7000 Euros for one week and a course of two weeks of treatment is recommended.
So far, she has raised over £6,700.
The goal is not just surviving, but getting healthier to be able to live life to the fullest.
Krisztina said: “It’s just as fantastic as it was promised and I’m so grateful I made it here and I’ve got the chance to sort of get better. And have that chance to sort of try to get my health off to a really good stage.”
Overall, the mum-of-one is just grateful to still be alive.
She said: “I feel really positive and I just feel like if my car breaks down, or if there’s a huge storm, or I don’t know, whatever happens, I feel so strong. Because after you go through that, nothing can be that scary. It’s actually a good thing, in a very weird way, but it makes you stronger.”
She added: “I think checking very early on if you had anything in the family. Do you carry that gene? Because I think that would have changed my game a long time ago if I knew about that.”
You can donate to Krisztina’s fundraiser here.
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