A Hungarian woman, Dóra Brjeska, was diagnosed with cancer six years ago – chemotherapy sessions immediately commenced which resulted in hair loss. Because of the struggle of finding a good and reasonably-priced chemo-scarf, she decided to make her own. Today, she is helping several other women.
Szeretlek Magyarország did an interview with Dóra Brjeska, a Hungarian cancer survivor, inquiring about her hat-making project and of her experiences with the disease.
Dóra was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2013 and was immediately prescribed chemotherapy, as a result of which her hair has fallen out completely. The issue is not as bad during the cold seasons, but spring and summer prove to be challenging.
When she tried to invest in a chemo-scarf, she had to face the harsh reality of there being
only a few options to choose from and those that are more pleasing to the eye cost a fortune,
and since you have to change them (especially in the summer heat), one does not suffice. This was when she decided to make her own cap, using the best quality cotton. You do not even have to tie these scarves around your head; you can secure them by pulling them tight – this makes them extra safe and comfortable. It is very important to use gentle textiles, as the scalp is exposed and more sensitive after such a dramatic hair loss.
What started as a homemade solution for her own problem became a webshop. She has recurring customers as well as people who buy these scarves as a gift for a loved one. Dóra’s initial goal was to create comfortable but affordable scarves – ones that would fit all seasons and personal styles. She likes making special ones: sometimes, she dyes the fabric herself while other times, she decorates them with unique patterns and embellishments.
She even made a surgery cap for her medic because she herself felt very cold in the operating room. These caps are comfortable and soak up sweat at the same time.
It was a mere coincidence that Dóra noticed the lump in her breast: it became inflamed, and the tissue around it was swollen. Chemotherapy commenced a weak after the CT results, and even though it worked, it took a huge toll on her both emotionally and physically. She explains “It is still hard knowing that everything has changed for me. You wake up, look in the mirror, and you just know it is inside of you”.
No matter how hard it was and still is sometimes, Dóra does not allow anyone to feel sorry for her because, in her opinion, you need to work this out with yourself and not let it eat you up emotionally. Luckily, her family and friends quickly picked up her attitude, and the ones who really shocked Dóra with their reactions were those who were battling cancer. Some people told her that she should actually be happy to have both of her breasts, when in reality, Dóra feels that they should be happy since they could be operated on, which means that they have a chance at curing themselves.
It might sound strange, but Dóra was very happy for her hair loss:
she explains that this way she knew the chemotherapy was working, and her organs (liver and lungs) were safer each session. She tries to stay positive, but she knows that ‘you should never be too happy for your good results’.
Dóra told Szeretlek Magyarország that there is much more to a cancer patient than just turning grey, throwing up and dying. She travels and goes on a lot of hikes with her partner; they are focused on experiencing new things together. At the same time, she is aware of her chances, but everyone has to make their peace with death: “let us be honest, it happens to everyone. The worst thing is that you do not even need an illness – a coincidence, at the wrong place at the wrong time, and that is it. We should all talk about death”.
Dóra did not have as many bad experiences with Hungarian healthcare, but there was an instance when a cardiologist told her during an examination that “she should not have waited for so long”. There are, furthermore, differences between the way cancer patients are treated across hospitals: at some places, staff was kind and compassionate towards her, but there were others where she was made to feel uncomfortable, making sure that she knew that “such a patient does not belong there”.
featured image: https://www.facebook.com/fulesodu