Young mum Natalie Ogopoglu (36) conquered leukemia and made jewelry for charity with La vie est Jolie: ‘My daughter Jolie is my biggest motivation’

OOIGEM In May 2020, fate struck Natalie Ogopoglu (36). Then the young mother was diagnosed with acute leukemia. In the hospital, she finds courage in an old hobby: making jewelry. Her hospital store has since evolved into a full-fledged webshop, the profit of which goes to the Hematology Scientific Fund. Her store La vie est Jolie is named after her daughter (3).

More than four years ago, Natalie and her husband, Penny Deboidt, built a home in Ouegem. In 2019 they had a daughter: Julie. Eleven months later, Natalie believes she is pregnant again. “In one week I gained almost 5 kilos and my stomach was really bloated. The first test showed I wasn’t pregnant. The day after my mom’s first birthday it became clear it was malignant. A few days later I was diagnosed with acute leukemia. It was A very rare type but a very treatable one. All I could think about was that I wouldn’t see my daughter grow up,” she says.

alone in the world

The diagnosis made a deep impression on De Uigemsi and her family. She was taken to the hospital almost immediately. “I was afraid I wouldn’t do it. But in fact, I immediately put my mind at zero and the rollercoaster could begin. I was so weak I had to go to the hospital.”

May 2020 was in the middle of the first Corona wave. This meant that Natalie was almost alone in the world, and she had to go from research to research alone. “In AZ Groeninge it was determined that it was probably a malignant gynecological process. Because my gynecologist worked at the Waregem hospital, I went there. In Waregem it was determined to be of a bloody nature and I ended up in Bruges. Then an ambulance driver took me to AZ Sint-Jan in Bruges. He dropped me off at the front door with my suitcase. Because of Corona, they couldn’t do anything more than that.” Is this good care?I marveled. hallucinations, but it was the bitter truth during the aura.

I don’t want the proceeds. This will always go into the hematology scientific fund. I love being able to support a good cause with a hobby

In total, Natalie underwent four chemotherapy treatments over a period of four to five weeks. She had to spend that period almost in complete solitude. Even visiting her husband, daughter or mother was almost impossible. “The doctor said directly that my 11-month-old daughter is dangerous for me. The smallest fly on my skin can completely weaken me. That’s how badly I resist. Bone marrow puncture after the first chemotherapy brought good news. Doctors could change the tide, but three followed Other treatments. The side effects were always so severe. I almost drowned.”

difficult period

Meanwhile, Natalie’s husband Benny and his daughter Julie have moved in temporarily with his parents. That period was, of course, very difficult for her environment. “Like Natalie, I was on my own. It’s not easy for a man who works full time to take care of his daughter on his own. And if he let me go to the hospital, I had to put on a sterile suit and stay three meters away,” Benny looks back.

The fourth cure was more bearable for Natalie. Then I found the courage to revive an old hobby. “I’ve read enough books so far. I’ve got it with Netflix, too. In my hospital room, I decided to make jewelry again. I even hung jewelry on the Christmas tree out of boredom,” she laughs. Eventually she decided to sell the jewelry in her hospital room in AZ Sint-Jan. “If you have to stay there for a long time, after a while you can develop a relationship with the care staff. By Christmas, all the nurses were walking around with earrings,” she laughs. AZ Sint-Jan houses the nonprofit organization Hematology Scientific Fund. This fund conducts leukemia research and also pays for non-refundable medicines for patients. Out of gratitude, all of my earnings went to that nonprofit.”

In my room I started making jewelry. By Christmas, all the nurses were walking around with earrings

Jewelry making is more than just a hobby for Natalie. Now, almost two years later, she’s still making jewelry. She obtained permission from the Health Insurance Fund to continue her hobby as a secondary profession. She recently has her own webshop developed for her by her husband: La life is Jolie. “It’s obviously named after my daughter Julie. She was my great motivator to persevere during my illness. But I don’t want to profit. This will always go into the hematology scientific fund. I love being able to support a good cause with a hobby,” she smiles.

The joy of life

She draws her jewelry making inspiration from all over the place. However, her biggest source of inspiration is her hometown of Istanbul. Natalie is of Turkish descent, but moved to Belgium at the age of one. “In the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, there are shops selling natural stone. I believe in the power of natural stones, so I brought some home with me this summer. For example, the red coral stone gives energy and joy of life and reduces mental and social fears and tensions. Agate promotes inner peace and black agate helps release negativity. In fact, the natural stone’s powers fit into my life story a little bit,” she explains.

Meanwhile, Natalie has returned to work as a psychiatric nurse at AZ Groeninge in Kortrijk. Exactly two years after learning that she had a malignant disease, she started again in the hospital. “Half the time, but that’s enough for now. I have to learn how to dose my energy. This also applies to making my jewelry. Sometimes I don’t have the energy to work on my jewelry. But I’ve noticed it’s getting a little better, we’ll see what the future brings. Above all I must enjoy my hobby.

better hand

About 2.5 years after she was diagnosed with leukemia, Natalie began to improve. On December 14, it will be two years since she was discharged from the hospital. “So I’ve been in remission for two years now. For cancer, you have to be in remission for five years before you’re cured. But for my system, the first two years were the riskiest. If next week’s check is good, the riskier period will be behind us. So hold on.” with wood.”

Today Natalie is trying to enjoy life again with her daughter and husband. She is of course very grateful that Dr. Seleslag and his team at AZ Sint-Jan were able to nurse her back to health. “But you think twice about what happened. A few months ago I lost a friend and colleague to leukemia. Why was she able to move on and you couldn’t? I still think about her often. Leukemia also teaches you to put things in perspective. It allowed me to carry on: for my husband, my daughter and my family. La life is Jolieshe concludes.

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