Paolo Nespoli, astronaut and tumor: «I faced lymphoma in the brain» | to interview

from Elvira cira

The most difficult journey for an astronaut, to beat lymphoma in the brain: “I tried to live day by day, as in space. I will probably never go back to the way I used to, but now I want to start moving again and encourage the boys to do the impossible”

Superman stopped flying on November 28 last year. It all started with tremendous exhaustion. Then routine checkups, CT scans of the head. There was a spot. Three days later, the MRI identifies the tumor. The biopsy gave him his name and surname: brain lymphoma. To the astronaut from Verano Brianza it Spent 313 days in orbit, 2 hours and 36 minutes, begins a new, earthly, very difficult journey: first chemotherapy, in the middle of rehabilitation to start walking again, in August a stem cell transplant. Next to him are four very precious doctors with their teams: Alessandro Perin and Antonio Silvani of Pista of Milan, Giuliano Zeppelin of Auxologico Capitanio and Andrés Jose Maria Ferreri of San Rafael.

Today at 11 o’clock Paulo Nespoli He returns to public speaking at Italian Technology Week in Turin. He lost weight, walks slowly, and continues to look forward. He has faith in the future.

What do you think, engineer, when the neurosurgeon reported the biopsy result?
“I admit that I didn’t think much…I just know the doctor said there was a good chance of a cure, not a cure. So I said, ‘Let’s do everything we can.'”

Have you ever been afraid of not doing this?
“No, you never do that. But I might have underestimated the weight of the treatments.”

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What are the most difficult moments?
“Aside from the initial events, where I didn’t understand what was going on, when I realized this, I started experiencing a series of side effects related to the treatment. Perhaps the most difficult moment was the 23-day isolation during the last hospitalization for an autologous transplant, in San Rafael.”

How did it feel when you saw her body transform?

“I always thought it would be a passing thing and that we would have to be patient, and at the end of this thing I would be back as before. I now realize that I will probably never go back to what I was before, but I think I have a good chance of getting back to the right place.”

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What has given you the most strength in recent months?
“I tried to apply the same method that I used before with the more difficult things, when I was training. That is, I didn’t think there were 100 to finish, but I lived a day at a time, a little at a time, so as not to be afraid of what was still ahead.”

Was he afraid?
“Maybe I’m not afraid … but some days I wanted everything to be more clear and precise like the training list and the exam, and when you do one, you move on to the next. This certainty, with treatments, I’ve never had before. It is a medical question where certainty is relative.”

Were you afraid that you would not see your children grow up?
“The fact that kids grow up gives you a sense of time. I would like to see them grow up, but if I wasn’t there, I know they can grow well, so the important thing is that they can do that.”

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Did he think about his missions on the International Space Station while he was in the hospital?
“Yes and no, it was not a fixed idea. Things came to mind in my life, my youth, the army, university in America, the activity of an engineer in the European Space Agency, life on the space station … ».

In recent weeks, civilians have gone into orbit with Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. How do you feel when you hear them calling astronauts?
“I have always thought it a shame to close space to the vast majority of people on Earth and I am convinced that everyone should go through this experience of weightlessness and see our beautiful planet from there, because these are things that change you from the inside. But you don’t become an astronaut just because you cross a line. Karman If you buy a flight from Milan to New York, you will not automatically become a pilot of a huge aircraft, but remain a passenger: to become a pilot there is a long way to go, and the same is true for an astronaut. So I will oppose the definition of someone who is above a certain altitude, without Nothing is taken away from civilians who make this brave choice.”

Do you travel with Bezos or with Musk?
“I’ve had experiments with both the Shuttle and Soyuz. If I had any chance with one or the other I would have taken it unnoticed, in fact I would thank her very much.”

If I told her about her future?
“I feel at the end of a tunnel, I look ahead and see the light. I don’t expect to go back to myself, but with most of the ability I had before, to continue traveling, lecturing, talking to children and encouraging them to do the impossible. I see these things in my future.”

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Sep 24, 2021 (change on Sep 24, 2021 | 08:31)

Maggie Benson

"Bacon trailblazer. Certified coffee maven. Zombie lover. Tv specialist. Freelance communicator."

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