Gani Shala – Peje, Kosovo

In summer 2017, I went for a routine blood test. Usually, my blood has always been fine and I do a full blood count every year. I am generally extremely fit and active. This year the counts of a lot of the cells came back lower than expected. Finding out my actual diagnosis took a couple of months. I went to the hospital in Pristina to repeat a full blood count, do a bone marrow biopsy and cytogenetic testing. The bone marrow biopsy was quite painful as it was done on the chest without any anesthetic. I received the results a few days later with the possible diagnosis of MDS, further tests needed to be done. So, the biopsy was repeated and the cytogenetic testing was performed in the Army Hospital in Belgrade, Serbia and they confirmed that I am suffering from MDS. For treatment, I was recommended to go to Dr. Irina Panovska-Stavridis (specialist hematologist) in Skopje as she had experience treating MDS. She was fantastic and helped me a lot. I’ve been on the drug Azacitidine for 6 months now. Obtaining the drug was very difficult, as they do not supply it directly in the hospital in Pristina. I eventually ended up purchasing it in Turkey as I found it much cheaper there.

March 2018