2018, Bosnia and Herzegovina

When I first learned of the diagnosis, it kept me awake for many nights; I felt very lonely. It pains me to say that there were even tears when nobody could see me. Then there was this turning point when I said to myself: okay, I have this disease. I’ll just make the best of the time I have left. I felt better following that decision.

My name is Zoran and I am a graduate in paediatric and preventive dentistry. I currently work as a head of a dental at a general clinic.

When I was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), after passing the dentist certification exam, I informed the director of the clinic that I couldn’t continue working as a dentist and that a different solution would have to be found. She accepted this immediately and later offered me the current position which I have held for the past three years. After the diagnosis, I also went travelling, going as far as the South Pole.

After the physical signs of the progression of the illness had started to show (e.g. I couldn’t eat entirely by myself anymore, I couldn’t hold a glass etc.), I started feeling bothered by this incapacity. I have to admit I suffered inside for a long time until at some point, my friends noticed that I wasn’t the person I used to be, that my laughter had disappeared and that I was in low spirits, so they advised me to see a psychiatrist.

I fought through this with professional help and my message to other patients would be a message of optimism. I went out and started raising awareness in my local community about this illness. I was surprised by the support of people close to me and even those not-so-close to me. It is a long battle, so you should surround yourself with sympathetic friends, inhale their positive energy and inner strength. Surround yourself with loving individuals whom you hold dear. Be a bit selfish in that regard and don’t use your energy for irrelevant issues. And keep fighting, as you only get to live once. I never understood that expression but now I appreciate life way more than I ever did before.

2018, Bosna i Hercegovina

Kad sam saznao za dijagnozu, je bilo mnogo noći neprespavanih, nekako sam se osjećao usamljeno. Ne mogu ni da kažem da nije bilo suza kad me niko ne vidi. Posle je došao prelomni moment, kada sam si rekao: "Dobro, imam tu bolest. Hajde da iskoristim najbolje od života što je ostalo." Nakon toga sam se osjećao bolje.

Zovem se Zoran i specijalista sam iz dječje i preventivne stomatologije. Trenutno obavljam poslove načelnika stomatološke službe u domu zdravlja.

Po dijagnozi amiotrofična lateralna skleroza (ALS), posle položenog specijalističkog ispita, sam direktorici ustanove u kojoj radim saopštio da više neću moći raditi kao stomatolog i da je potrebno drugačije rješenje. Ona je to bez riječi prihvatila, a kasnije mi čak ponudila i mjesto načelnika, koje obavljam već tri godine. Nakon dijagnoze sam otišao na dugo putovanje, bio sam i na Južnom Polu.

Kada su se počeli javljati prvi znaci intenzivnije progresije (npr. nisam više mogao jesti potpuno samostalno, nisam mogao držati čase itd.), sam to nešto teže prihvatao. Moram reći da sam ja to dugo trpio i gutao u sebi, pogotovo do jednog momenta kad su moji prijatelji vidjeli da ja više nisam taj čovjek, da je nestalo mog smijeha i raspoloženja i vedrine. Tad su mi savjetovali da se javim psihijatru.

Borio sam se protiv tih osjećanja uz profesionalnu pomoć i moja poruka bi bila neko širenje optimizma među oboljelim. Ja sam odlučio da ljude upoznam sa tim oboljenjem. Iznenadilo me stvarno da su ljudi oko mene, i ne tako bliski, bili stvarno uz mene. Borba treba da traje, tako da se okružite prijateljima koji će shvatiti vašu situaciju, tražite od njih pozitivnu energiju i snagu. Okružite se ljudima koji vas vole i koje vi volite. Postanite u tom smislu sebični i ne trošite energiju na ono što ne treba da se troši. To mi nikad nije bilo jasno kada je neko govorio, "Jedan je život." Nekako danas život cijenim mnogo više nego prije.

Date: March 2018
Medicine: Radicut / Radicava (edaravone)