Ilse De Meulemeester, Miss Belgium 1994
"the start of my second life"
Ilse (left) along with Miss Croatia in Miss World 1994 held in Sun City, South Africa
Ilse De Meulemeester was Miss Belgium 1994 and semi-finalist in Miss World 1994, here is her sad story which is ending in happiness.
Ilse , now 35, was seen on television on past June 21st., for the first time since she recovered from her cancer.
A symbolic day, because summer starts........ “for me a new start too, the start of my second life ….”
The short hair looks as good as her long blond hair, when she was crowned miss Belgium 1994 but hair is sensual and feminine and it will grow again. All people know, that when having chemotherapy, hair loss is a major point here, although Ilse was prepared for this, she was quite shocked with the psychological factor that hair loss brought along.
Hair loss can be covered by wearing a wig, eyebrows and eyelashes that were another thing, and that was very difficult to handle.
“They gave me the advice to shave my head on forehand, not to have bald places afterwards.....luckily the hair clinic has a good way to do it properly, starting at the back and leaving your face as long as possible as it is, ending with the front.
It is a shock to see your face, pale and without life, you know you eyes, but the rest......I felt like a Jewish woman coming from a concentration camp......very scary.
I tried to put energy out of my eyes cause for the rest you feel death.....a moment I will never forget”.
The dark months are over.....
“At first I had constantly viral infections with 40 degrees in fever......always feeling cold and hot....constantly having a kind of flu.....”
On the October 27th she collapsed at work, leaving for the hospital immediately, all sorts of examinations has been done; biopsies of the liver, long scan, bone marrow injection.....sometimes very painfully, and still she felt the pain after 4 months when she sneeze.
“At a certain moment I had to go to the hospitals as my glands were so swollen in my belly.....it felt being pregnant and it hurtled only looking at it......not leukaemia but a lymphoma was the diagnose......the doctor told me they had treated this with full recovery and lymphoma is a nicer word than cancer, which brings along a bit of negativity in its meaning......so glad that the diagnose was "lymphoma", the next day I read in every paper I was indeed fighting cancer.... what a sad ”.
After the first chemo treatment, I felt already less pressure in my belly....I knew I would make it! But side effects as extreme tiredness, hair loss, concentration loss, taste loss brought me down, leaving me with extra nutrition supplies and hormones to strong me...... which worked. I was able to read a lot and hold on......the book that Lance Armstrong wrote about his cancer helped me..... One puts positivism when reading about another hurting.
In the middle of the treatment i had a downfall, fever and feeling lousy.......I dropped the courage and luckily there was my son......his enthusiasm, positivism, naivety gave me strength.....light at the end of the tunnel...... one very nice anecdote......he saw my wig hanging and asked, so mammy can you remove your hair like that???? That are moments to cherish.....or the time he wanted to pick a flower and there no was, he came visiting with a piece of herbs.....
Support of family and friends is important. Her mom came back living with Ilse.....her boyfriend Glenn comes over every day......one doesn't think what he doesn't have anymore...... Life changes drastically, feeling the negativity fade away and leaving anger towards people on hold......rather enjoying the positivism coming from nearby or very far away, even from people who doesn't know me...... that gave me strength.
Ilse started to work as a TV host again “......I’ll try to seek the positivism in humans and I above all thankful I will see my son grow up......of course I will try to help those people who are having cancer and give myself the time to help and raise money for funding the cancer association”.
Collaboration of Jean Belgium (Bruges, Belgium)