Actor Fabian Bolin (aka the Leukemia Warrior) talks about his #WarOnCancer – Part 1
This is the first part of our interview with Fabian Bolin, former Made In Chelsea actor, who happily agreed to inspire “This is Medtech” readers with his uplifting story about perseverance and the power of a positive attitude.
“I’ve gained so much from this journey, while simultaneously I’m going through a nightmare. Do I thank you or hate you, cancer? Both.” Meet Fabian Bolin, the self-proclaimed Leukemia Warrior.
The 28-year-old Swedish-Brazilian was on the verge of fulfilling his acting dreams when doctors dropped a bombshell: he had leukaemia, or blood cancer. Rather than wallowing in self-pity, Fabian decided to fight a very public battle via his #WarOnCancer blog. What he didn’t expect was an outpouring of love and support from thousands of fans around the world that happened virtually overnight ‒ something that’s possibly changed his life more than the cancer itself.
In keeping with his tell-all blog, Fabian spoke to This Is Medtech with refreshing frankness about his roller coaster of a journey, which includes a campaign to raise money for leukaemia research and educate people about the disease.
TIM: How did you make the decision to be 100% open about your experience, including all the medical procedures and emotions that come with it?
Fabian: I don’t really remember the actual moment in my head. There was a lot of stuff happening in those first days when I got my diagnosis. It was acute so I had to go straight into chemotherapy. Some people are very shut if they’re down or depressed, but I’m the sort of guy who likes to share what I feel. Also, as an actor and model you have to be quite open to social media, so I’m quite used to sharing what I do. I think those two elements helped me make the decision that I wanted to write a blog. I write whatever I feel and whatever I experience. I’m not hiding or exaggerating anything, so it feels very natural.
TIM: How are people reacting to some of the more graphic pictures you’ve been posting, like tubes going into your chest, syringes, pictures of you having a bone marrow biopsy, blood, etc?
Fabian: People seem to like the pictures, even if there’s some gory blood. I haven’t had any negative reactions.
TIM: About a month into your treatment, you announced that the cancer was gone, but that you’d still be undergoing treatment for quite some time. How are you regularly monitored to make sure the cancer hasn’t come back?
Fabian: They’re taking blood samples three times a week, and about every three weeks, they’re doing a bone marrow biopsy. That’s where they drill into your lower back, which is an extremely painful process. It’s a weird feeling. They’re sucking out part of your bone marrow. It’s horrible.
TIM: Are you worried that the cancer will return?
Fabian: At the moment I feel confident [that it’s gone]. Early on I set my mind on [sic] that I wouldn’t die from this, even though at the very beginning it was scary.
TIM: What kind of comments have you received from newly diagnosed cancer patients about your detailed descriptions of various medical procedures?
Fabian: Most of them are very thankful. What I’ve noticed is that there are two kinds of cancer patients: either they’re depressed or they’re not. It seems that the ones who have the positive mindset are the ones who do the best. It must be hard for people with some other forms of cancer, where there’s a high risk of it coming back. I think having to live with that is probably very mentally challenging. I can’t even imagine thinking each and every week that it might come back. I hear some people check themselves twice a week because they’re so afraid.
You can support Fabian’s #WarOnCancer by checking out his bracelets, which can be purchased at www.fabianbolin.com/shop. The proceeds will go to charity.