I would like to do many things, but people are afraid of me

The former Amici dancer tells her story to Fanpage.it: “I’m not afraid of my illness, but others are. My goal now is to see my daughter grow up ”.

Pain and shame, feelings so different that you can feel at the exact same moment when news arrives and then develops, takes up volume like a monster in a room. Agata Reale’s monster is called acute promyelocytic leukemia and when the doctor diagnosed it she told her: “If you believe in God, it’s time to pray.” Between 15 days and 3 months of life, the first estimates. And Agata Reale, a former Amici dancer in 2009, changed the course of her life. At Fanpage.it she tells her story about her, a story that she officially kept hidden for a year, while the world of followers commented on her change with the usual caustic comments: “But what have you become anorexic?”. The story of Agata returns great power and strength, out of any rhetoric.

Agata, you didn’t tell your illness right away. Why?

I kept the disease under wraps for a year. Anyone who does a job like mine may even come to believe that everything is always done as an advertisement. And I never spoke for a year, but when I published some photos they gave me the anorexic and told me about every one. At that point, after a year of battles, I said to myself: maybe it’s the right time. And I started telling the truth. It was like giving a signal to someone in the same boat.

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And do so many write to you?

I receive thousands of messages a week, even among the same relatives and friends I have become a sort of infopoint. If my message can help anyone, then that’s fine. This also manages to give me strength in my battle.

Did what happened to you hold you back from a professional point of view?

When you have a disease, for everyone, you are seen as a condemned person. In the meantime, however, in the hospital I became a point of reference for the whole department. After my chemo cycle, I would get up and try to do some gymnastics. They didn’t believe it. It went like this until I was able to move, because at a certain point you no longer have the strength to even go to the bathroom alone. However, I have always tried, regardless of everything, not to feel sick.

Then?

When I got out of the six-month hospitalization, I wasn’t walking. I had a program to run and I absolutely wanted to honor the production. In the end, in pitiful condition, but I did it: fake wig, swollen like a bagpipe. I look back and think: I’ve been crazy. But I also think I gave a signal, because in the ward, for example, nurses and doctors were saying to other patients: “Look, she has your problem and she is running a program.”

Can you work while fighting, then?

If you are sick it does not mean that you cannot or cannot work. Indeed, I have also worked hard to update myself and to do training courses, continuously and remotely. I would like this message to pass, because they are the same productions that push you to give up. The sick can do whatever they want to do. I can’t tell you it’s a health walk, but if you want to stand up while doing chemo, it takes willpower. You have to put it on this level: “I don’t want to stay in bed”, as long as you can.

Agata Reale together with doctor Fiumara.

Agata Reale together with doctor Fiumara.

How did you discover the disease?

It all starts with a memory: the ambulance rescue and the words I said to my mother, even before I was diagnosed.

Which?

Mom, I have leukemia.

Why did you tell her that?

Because I felt it. My gums had been bleeding for weeks, for no reason. I had checked – everyone does it and it’s wrong, I know – on Google and it was very clearly written that one of the possible causes was linked to a leukemia. But aside from that, I felt the worst was coming. So I said to my mom: If so, you have to take care of Chloe.

And when did you find out?

I remember the face of my husband and my mother because they were the ones who received the first news. I remember their puffy eyes. They hospitalized me immediately because they had to understand the type of leukemia.

What did you feel?

I haven’t shed a tear for the disease. For the thought of the disease. I cried later, from the physical pain. But I was never afraid of dying, because I immediately put death in the budget.

What did the doctor tell you after the first diagnosis?

“These fifteen days pray, if you believe in God”. He also told me: “Know that you can lose your husband, because it can happen.”

And instead?

This thing has united us much more. The same doctor immediately saw that my husband was very present.

Agata Reale and her husband, the actor Carmelo De Luca

Agata Reale and her husband, the actor Carmelo De Luca

A very realistic doctor, however.

As realistic as available. One day I called him because I had a high fever, he said to me: “Let me know, try this drug and if it doesn’t go down, I’ll come to your house”. Two days later, I discover that his mother had died that day. He would have come to me anyway, who live more than thirty kilometers from his house.

In summary: are you ready to go back to work on TV?

I am absolutely ready to work, ready for new adventures. I would like to do many things, but people are afraid of me. I am not afraid of my illness, but others are.

You made friends in 2009, do you still watch it?

I’m watching this edition because there was also a student of mine, but I would have watched it anyway even without it because I love the program and how it has evolved.

Who was your pupil?

Elena Manuele who won Sanremo Young a few years ago and has now been chosen as the protagonist of Bernadette of Lourdes, here in Italy. She will be the protagonist.

The difference between the new editions and those of the past is perhaps this. Today, the guys arrive with more experience while for you it was perhaps a real debut.

Yes, a real baptism of fire. Of course, kids today also come with their own fanbases, their own niches. In my day there were no social networks that could help you manage certain aspects that were previously managed with greater difficulty.

What do you wish for the future?

I don’t expect anything from a professional point of view. I just wish I could see my daughter grow up. What will be, we will take it day by day but the main goal is to know Chloe safe, adult and ready to live with her strength. I pray every evening to see her on the day she gets married; I pray every evening that you will have someone next to you who loves you as much as my husband loves me. This is the only thing that fires me up against the thought that this shitty disease can kill me at any moment.

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