Ilias arrived at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Emergency Department after feeling unwell with a high fever, fatigue and experiencing night sweats. Tests revealed a very low blood cell count so further investigations were immediately ordered. Within 24 hours, Ilias was diagnosed with a fast-developing type of blood cancer called acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
A multidisciplinary team met to discuss the best treatment plan for Ilias and it was decided that chemotherapy should start right away.
The diagnosis came as a huge shock to Illias. He was alone in the UAE, with his family living overseas, and the psychological impact of such a diagnosis was significant. However, he made the immediate decision to switch into ‘survival mode’. With support from his medical teams and knowing that he could begin treatment the very same day, he had hope.
Ilias embarked on his treatment journey and received the latest internationally recognized medical treatment, as well as care from social workers, physical therapists, dieticians, and nurse educators. As someone who had always led an active and healthy lifestyle, working with rehabilitation specialists was an important part of Ilias’s treatment journey. He amazed doctors by having chemotherapy in the morning, then exercising in the afternoons. Not only does exercise support the psychological side effects of a cancer diagnosis, it has also been proven to improve a patient’s response to treatment and overall outcome.
Ilias’s positive response has been exemplary and his is responding well to treatment. Ilias says, “In every dark moment comes light – never lose hope. It took me less than 24 hours and a positive mindset to decide that cancer will not stop me.”