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“Up to the top”: the great challenge of Francesca Masi, who, with a rare blood tumor, is preparing to climb Mont Blanc

Come back to life after a diagnosis that tells you you have a cancer some blood, how you do it? It is done by relying on the competence of the treating doctors, always being under control and not losing sight of the goals, the dreams, which had been set before the illness. To remind themselves that you are not your own diseasebut much more, and that she has no right to take anything away from us.

This is the story of Francesca Masipatient with myelofibrosisTuscan psychologist and passionate about trekking that in July, 2 years after bone marrow transplantwill try to climb over 4 thousand meters of the Mont Blanc. His feat will be told in the Facebook column Up to the top, hosted by the page HONEY-Explainthe information campaign on chronic myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), promoted by Novartis in collaboration with AIPAMM and with the patronage of AIL and the MPN Advocates Network.

A real communitywhich now has more than 30 thousand people, and whose goal is to provide information on these blood neoplasms, of which little is said, describing the MPNs with emotional and scientific contents that are always up-to-date thanks to the advice of a board of 10 hematologists.

“Myeloproliferative neoplasms are rare tumors that affect the bone marrow – he comments Francesco Passamonti, Professor of Hematology at the University of Insubria in Varese and Director of Hematology in Varese – They can have a slow but progressive trend. Symptoms may also be important, but some therapeutic innovationslike JAK2 inhibitor drugs, have improved the course of these diseases: now patients can build a new daily life and set themselves small, big life goals ».

Just like Francesca: «I am a mountain lover, since I was 25 I have been spending my holidays trekking. One of my biggest wishes was to be able to climb Mont Blanc – he tells us on the phone – At 40, however, I discovered I had myelofibrosis: I was always exhausted, but I thought it was due to stress. But the blood tests were out of order. Dealing with it was not easy: after a year of examinations, I received the exact diagnosis. My disease has a chronic evolution, but by keeping it under control I could aspire to a normal life expectancy. Only they gave me six months to find an effective cure “.

From there, Francesca began her treatment: «I entered a experimental protocol and for almost 4 years, it was a path that worked. But then at a certain point the pharmaceutical treatment is no longer enough. And so the scenario of the bone marrow transplant, which I did in full pandemic, in 2020. It was tough because in the meantime two donors had withdrawn, the operation was postponed by two months, but then in July there was the intervention at the Gemelli in Rome. And it went well.

The postoperative course was very slow, only after a year can I say that I have resumed a normal life. The muscles had atrophied, but from September last year I started training again, followed by a physiotherapist and a personal trainer, to regain muscle mass. And it’s nice to feel it come back to me, to get back to my usual physical form ».

Climbing Mont Blanc is not a difficult task: it is a climb on a glacier, but without the use of ropes or special equipment, only crampons. «It is clear that it should not be taken lightly: you still need breath and good physical shape. But I will not be alone, with me there will be one mountain guide, to deal with all kinds of unexpected events. We expect to be able to climb in about 8 hours, which is an average between a good performance and a less good one.

Source: Vanity Fair

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