“So, how are you?” 30-year-old Roman Čelikovský scratches behind the ear of one of his dogs. He lives in a house in Jesenice outside Prague with his wife Linda. Until two years ago, Roman was an active person, a sportsman at heart, who liked to go on trips and spend time with his friends. But then his life turned upside down.
“In November 2020, I discovered a small bump on my hand,” he points to his right upper limb. “At first I didn’t think much of it, but then I started to deal with it. I went to the polyclinic, where they told me it was nothing serious,” he describes what happened at the beginning.
The lump kept getting bigger, so he visited another doctor, who finally sent him for some tests. One of them was a biopsy, which did not bring good news.
She felt a lump in her breast the day before her thirty-fifth birthday. The tumor was very aggressive
“They informed me that I have a soft tissue cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma. It mainly affects children and adolescents under 18 years of age. It appears very rarely in adults,” explains the former storekeeper and employee of the municipality, now on disability pension.
“It’s an aggressive type of cancer and quite difficult to treat.”
Without assistants, my life is incomplete, says Petr, suffering from a rare disease. Turns his body into “stone”
The worst is the pain
After “mental hell”, as he calls the diagnosis and treatment process, the first round of chemotherapy began. After nine cycles, the lump disappeared.
“There was a surgical procedure, seven of the twelve muscles in my hand were removed, a lymph node was removed, and I underwent radiation,” he describes step by step what happened.
He was at peace for a few months, but the tumor returned later. “A little higher on the right bicep. Before it was removed, it was enough to metastasize to the left rib and to the lungs,” he shows us the significant scars after the operations.
He doesn’t have the same strength in his hand as before and he can’t even properly bend all his fingers. He says that exercise can help, but he will never return to his previous form.
The second round of chemotherapy was too toxic for him and he almost didn’t finish it, and another targeted drug didn’t work at all.
“Now I’m on chemotherapy, which is done on an outpatient basis,” he says. But it is associated with great pains that appear mainly at night and prevent him from sleeping. He says that sometimes he is happy to sleep for an hour and a half at a time.
“I have to take a lot of painkillers and go for radiation to get rid of all this pain,” he says, sitting in a chair in the living room so that his body hurts as little as possible. And he points to a large bowl on the table in front of him. Others have goodies in it to eat while watching TV, for him it is filled with medicine boxes. Even the strongest of them doesn’t work sometimes.
And to make matters worse, another lump has formed on the top of his head and it’s impossible to miss.
“Honestly, I was very scared of her, because once a tumor gets on your head, it’s a very hard fight. But the prognosis is that it is only held in the muscles, that the bone has not grown to the brain,” he tries to see happiness in misfortune.
He turned gray for a moment
“I’m glad I’m still alive,” he gives me a clear answer to the question of how he is now and what he’s doing. He is able to move around on his own, take care of hygiene and other basic needs, but sometimes the pain restricts him so much that he just lies down and waits for them to pass. Home and hospital, nowhere else is he moving now.
A modified E. coli bacterium can destroy a tumor, the new method is awaiting clinical testing
Science and schools
“My life mainly revolves around my family, wife and friends who encourage me.” Above all, his wife is the biggest mental and physical support for him. “I wouldn’t be able to do it here without her,” admits Roman Čelikovský.
“I’ve been taking care of him since we found out he had cancer. But unfortunately his condition has already reached such a stage that I had to go to the nursing home and be at home with him every day,” adds Linda Čelikovská.
And he also shows us a number of photos from their life together on his mobile phone – from wedding pictures to photos taken during different periods of treatment.
Perhaps her husband looks a little different in each of them, we notice: one time without hair, another time with a hedgehog, sometimes emaciated, sometimes with a few extra kilos. His body reacted a little differently to each treatment. At one point, his hair even lost its pigment and turned gray.
“I admire him every day, he is a great fighter. I don’t know anyone with such a strong psyche as my husband,” confides Mrs. Čelikovská. She alludes to the fact that despite all the difficulties, her man is trying to remain optimistic and look for ways to recover.
Treatment in America
In oncology, Roman Čelikovský is said to have listened to the incredible life stories of patients. “Some of them give up the fight against the disease, some even accept that it means leaving, the end. But I don’t want to put up with it,” he adds. He wants to fight no matter what.
However, treatment in the Czech Republic, or rather in Europe, is limited. When he learned that there would be a chance for recovery in America, he set out on his own to find suitable facilities, which he approached from a distance.
“At the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, they have drugs and chemotherapy that are not available in the Czech Republic. They would determine the treatment for me directly to the extent of my illness. This hospital is one of the best in the world to fight cancer. Doctors in Prague and Brno confirmed this to me,” the patient tells us.
“I’m not saying they’ll cure me completely, I’ll hope so because the possibilities are there. But even if it means adding decades to my life, it’s a valuable thing worth fighting for,” he says resolutely.
“Unfortunately, my wife and I cannot have children, but we would like to be here for each other as long as possible.”
He wants to go on a long trip across the ocean as soon as his health condition allows him to do so. His visa has already been processed. However, they have to cover all the costs themselves, and it is not exactly a small amount.
He does not yet know the exact amount, but estimates it at 5 million crowns. He wants to reach it with the help of a public fundraiser on the Znesnáze21 donation platform.
Collection “Hope for Life for Roman”
- donors can donate on the Znesnaze21.cz platform HERE
- the charity collection is open until 5/5/2023
All collections are verified by the platform and checked by the recipient before the funds are paid out.
“I believe that people can support each other even in today’s challenging times, because they know how fragile human health is,” Roman Čelikovský is convinced.
“For me, it’s the hope to live again and then help other people. A person himself is dependent on help and perceives how many people need it too. Seeing how the community of oncology patients and sick people in general stick together and support each other is something incredible,” he describes a world that most of us don’t know.
“I have re-evaluated my life and values a lot. I will definitely live a different life, a truly fulfilling life, and I will appreciate things more, pay more attention to my family and people around me,” he reflects at the end of our visit.
Will the mother of two young children wake up from her coma? The family needs two million for special therapy
Leave a Reply