In my opinion, quality of life means good food, a bottle of something good to drink and spending time with friends. He loves having guests, most of all entertaining them. He’s a very generous person. I really enjoy company. My partner always says that if she rings her sister and asks her whether she wants to come to dinner tonight and she’s too busy, then there’s nothing on; tonight we’re not doing anything.
Instead I call the next person; someone always has time. I think that’s quality; quality of life. I have to say; that’s helped me a lot to date. The exact diagnosis is very advanced lung cancer. It’s terminal. It can be stabilised with immune therapy
– it’s the only thing that can be done. It’s obvious: if you receive such a diagnosis,
you tend to already start asking yourself how long you have left. Of course, you hear different things. Some people pass away in just a few weeks. I’ve just been lucky; I’ve been able to survive so long with this treatment. Ausgelöst hat das in mir:
Was mache ich jetzt mit dieser Zeit, welche ich noch zur Verfügung habe? Man weiss ja nicht, wie lange diese Zeit überhaupt noch andauert. I have to say that my partner, my daughter and my siblings have been unwavering in their support, which meant I could come to terms with it all relatively well. It’s important to me that I’m looked after well. I’ve had other experiences where I’ve been admitted to hospital
and then you’re there and no one looks after you. That was not the case at Hirslanden. I always had people with whom I could build a good rapport. It helps that I’m also a nice person; I need to reiterate that. (laughs). So, I’m happy that Hirslanden was able to accommodate me. I met Mr Bieri three years ago, after he’d already had a round of chemotherapy for this diagnosis. That was the time when immunotherapy was completely new.
There were only a few clinical studies out there. He knew that such immunotherapy would work in his case. He was one of the first patients that I treated with immunotherapy. I asked my doctor to be honest with me from the start. Of course we talked about how I might not be around much longer. But I have a wonderful oncologist whom I trust implicitly. He bolstered my confidence time and again, for which I was extremely grateful. I must say that I could not wish for a better oncologist. Yes, I’m concerned about it all but I’m not the sort to say “Look, I’m not doing well; look at me everyone”. I don’t want that at all. What really irritates me is when people approach me and ask “How are you?”, because if I feel good, you see that; and if I’m not doing well, you see that in me – above all at work as well. This question is a waste of time. I’m always doing well (laughs). At the beginning, I had difficulties until I really understood him,
because he always says it so seriously; but then he cracks jokes over and over at the end. I’ve been taking part since 2012. That’s around six years now. Yes, exactly. At least. This is how long it takes until people understand my humour. No, no. Yes, that’s what I meant (laughs). In my opinion, Mr Bieri has taken an incredible path,
which, I must honestly say, does not happen to every patient. His illness has stabilised for over two years. It has not gone away
– it is still there and has accompanied him and also always caused symptoms; but it hasn’t actually progressed, so Mr Bieri has had an excellent quality of life during this time: He’s been able to travel, be active and continue to work. As soon as I see these balls, nothing hurts; I probably only notice that in hindsight. I’ll see tonight – we need to see (laughs). Yes, it’s changed everything somewhat; but you can say that he enjoys life as a whole – and still. I just never give up. The word “give up” doesn’t exist in my dictionary; I just keep going. If I’m not feeling well, then I just try to look after myself as well as I can. But I’m not someone to stick my head in the sand; that’s just not my style. That’s how I made it through everything. As I’ve already said, I feel great now. Hansueli Bieri died from lung cancer in October 2018. He was full of the joys of life until his death. We would like to thank his family for their permission to tell his story here and wish them all the best for the future.