The Taste of Freedom
Marek Lichota not only has an appetite for life, he also loves the taste of freedom. Especially when he travels to foreign countries with his family and gets close to nature by cycling or swimming.
"I thought that would be it, forever," remembers the 37-year-old father of two children who had to have a majority of his bowel surgically removed due to the chronic illness, Crohn's disease. "At that time I could no longer ingest any food and would not have survived without parenteral nutrition” the business economist from Krakow explains. At the beginning of his therapy, he felt scared and full of negative emotions; he says: “Eighteen-hour parenteral nutrition, counting droplets in the middle of sleepless nights did not have the taste of freedom at all.” It seemed completely unrealistic that he would ever travel to faraway places again, let alone take bicycle trips or splash about in the pool with his wife, Ania and his children, Julia (11) and Jacob (5).
His 'road to freedom' – as he calls it – cost him and his wife a lot of effort and organization. Today, he is all the more happy to have reconquered some freedom – especially in terms of travelling. “For me, holidays are special times we remember for a long time and I really wish to be present in my kids' memories, when they look back at their childhood.“ He feels like his family grows a little closer together every time they leave the daily routine behind and live entirely in the moment. Such as this summer, on Corsica.
Until a few decades ago, it was impossible for people to receive parenteral nutrition – that is, through the veins, circumventing the gastrointestinal tract – and it remained a major challenge for a long time thereafter. "Many of those affected are still afraid to leave home," Marek knows. "They often lack the support and encouragement, not to mention the practical know-how." It's not uncommon for patients to receive parenteral nutrition for 30 or 40 years, while never leaving their home. That’s why it is Marek’s heart’s desire to encourage others to not get hung up on their limitations but rather to overcome them as much as they can: “The main thing is to not allow the disease to dominate your life”, Marek says.
To make sure that there are no unpleasant surprises or risky situations during the holidays, thorough preparation is crucial. In our video, Marek explains the practical concerns and plans to be made, as well as the prerequisites that must be met during travel and at the destination.