source: Hello Magazin
Adored, admired and loved by everyone. When you personally meet her you will instantly realize why. She simply enchants you with her unique charisma. She inspires you with every word, every joke and with her positive energy. All this becomes even more amazing when you realize that for many years she is struggling against the most difficult disease. A disease that maybe attacks her body, but fails to touch her soul and charisma. It encourages you to see into her heart deeper, to find the essential answer of life, to learn why you should fight to live and not to give up. That is who Isidora Bjelica is. A person who through her books selflessly fights to help people, to restore their smile and will to live. She is an example that we should never give up but to get up and fight again. Before the initiation of her new cycle of chemotherapy, she told us about all her ups and downs, the disease and conveyed the message for everyone who is suffering from cancer “You should never give up! There is no incurable illness; there are only people who give up”
1. You are struggling with the disease for the fourth time now. What was the most difficult thing in this struggle?
Everything is difficult starting from the first day. The diagnosis, the surgery, the therapy, the mental state and the struggle - mental and physical. The remissions are tough. Everything is difficult, but one gets used to everything, including that weight and then fights for every day of his/her life, for every smile, joy and a sunny day. All that is ordinary and normal for the healthy people is a luxury for people having this diagnosis.
2. What did you learn from the disease?
This is an interesting question. I have been learning, reading and exploring throughout my entire life… I have read thousands and thousands of books about life, death, meaning, love, but I’ve mostly learned from this disease. This is why in my books I recommend to my readers not to wait to get sick in order to learn the most important things in life. The teacher of life is not the history, but the disease. If I had this insight when I was healthy, many things would have changed. In a strange way, there is no spiritual advancement without suffering and the disease rapidly teaches you how to live 10 lives. I’ve learned more in these three years struggling the disease, than in my previous years of my life.
3. Every time the disease recurs you always rise like a phoenix. What kept you up all this time, what gave you the strength to endure and to fight?
I'm surprised by myself as much as you are. This should be entered in Guinness book of records (laughs). What keeps me up? The answer would be my children, my husband, my readers and my incredible desire and will to live. I often like to joke that this disease has assured me I am not normal because a normal person would have surrendered long time ago. But not me. There are days when I am down, just as everyone else, but then I see my children, my Vila and Lav and I know that giving up is not an option. I remember when we were on a vacation in Sicily. One day while I was swimming there were really huge waves and I couldn’t get out of the water. The people around me were drowning from the strong waves. Then I said to myself “OK, only God knows if today is the day I die. It is up to me to do everything to survive.” I took a breath, closed my eyes and with superhuman strength started struggling towards the beach through the heavy water and waves. I was thinking, if I take a breath, open my eyes or stop struggling I'm done. It is the same as today, I have no where to go. That is why I run towards the shore and ask God to give me more time.
4. The book “Alone” contains a powerful message. Why do we need to become ill so that we understand how happy we are?
This does not apply to everyone. There are smart people who don’t need to get sick from the most difficult disease in order to understand what is happiness and love. But I hope that this book will help many who think they are lonely, unhappy, depressed and will help them realize what life is and how beautiful it is, not having to go through this difficult struggle such as mine.
5. In many cancer cases, the patients see hope only in alternative medicine. What is your opinion, do you believe in modern medicine?
To tell you the truth, I’m definitely the only person who has tried everything and most of all the alternative methods. I’m preparing to write a scenario for a comedy, for everything I’ve been through, and it was tragicomic. Every day someone would come with an alternative medicine and naive people like me would try it and pay for it. I am not implying that alternative medicine isn’t useful. It has a very important role, but primarily as something that follows the official allopathic medicine. But every person is different, what is good for one person is not suitable for another. Steve Jobs died too early because he was completely devoted to alternative medicine. This is a serious disease and it must be attached with all the artillery you’ve got, but the primary treatment must be led by the oncology team in modern clinics. Maybe the carrot and tomato and various tinctures and bioenergetics, quantum methods and psychotherapies can cure someone, but in my case it didn’t happen. If I didn’t have chemotherapy, I would have died. On the other hand, the alternative medicine helped me recover from all those hard therapies. I believe in synergy of the official and alternative medicine, but there are many manipulators who seriously threaten the lives of people telling tales of magical remedies. I was the victim of such illusionists and con man twice which accelerated the disease progress. My advice is for people not to play with it.
6. What is your message for all cancer patients?
Never give up. There is no such thing as an incurable disease; there are only people who give up. You could die if you slip and fall in the bathroom. As long as I breathe, I have hope that everything will be fine. Life is not defined by what happened before and after the disease, life is what we have now and it’s up to us how we will spend every minute of it. It is up to us if we spend it on loving, smiling or whining.
7. You’ve been around the globe to find the cure. You’ve been to many hospitals and in the end you came in “Acibadem Sistina”. Why did you decide to receive your treatment here?
I didn’t know that there was a huge hospital in Skopje with such technical and human capabilities, otherwise I would have come much earlier. I'm fascinated by the capacity, equipment and humanity that this hospital offers. This hospital is not only the biggest Balkan center. It is much better and more modern than most European clinics. Primarily, you can get the most accurate diagnosis with the PET / CT device and the therapy conditions are astonishingly up-to-date. The preparation before therapy initiation is incredible. The patient doesn’t have any side effects and most importantly everything is in one place and chemotherapy, biological therapy and immunotherapy can be combined. What is most important, Acibadem Sistina Hospital has the best doctors. After being in Switzerland, Florida, Russia, Paris, India and London, I feel that here I am in the best of hands. From here on, everything depends on what God’s plans are for my life.
When a person has this disease, the relationship that doctors and the medical team have are very important. Wherever you are in “Acibadem Sistina”, you will encounter a smile, support and understanding, as well as time for yourself. I don’t know how you select these people so that they are always kind and empathetic. I haven’t seen this anywhere so far. It is very important for me to have privacy while I'm in the hospital and to have human understanding, because if the expertise is not accompanied by humanity, the patient feels bad. It is unlikely that this hospital has 1000 employees and every employee that I was in contact with was gentle, respectful, empathetic and there was no medical arrogance and distance. In Paris, Switzerland and in Serbia doctors behaved like gods who would never get sick. That is not the case here. The humanity is the trademark of this hospital. Since I’m a writer and I’m hypersensitive, it is very important when someone says “Good morning”, when someone looks at me while giving me therapy and whether I’m diagnosis or just a human being for the doctor.