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“I would like to help others doing things I can do and with a job that really suits me”

Andrea Glättli, brain tumour survivor

Porträt Andrea Glättli

“I have been confronted with the long-term consequences of my illness and therapy since I had cancer as a teenager: I am often tired and forget a lot because my short-term memory doesn’t work as well as it used to. Since my brain cannot completely merge the images made by the right eye with the images made by the left eye, I see things double. That’s extremely taxing and I have to find lots of other strategies to just get by in everyday life. In addition, the paralysis on my right has got worse. This all restricts what I can do in my everyday life, but I am basically a positive person and have always had a lot of support from my parents, something I’m really grateful for. What I find really difficult is living with the discrepancy of knowing that I can actually do a lot but, on the other hand, having to fight more or less insurmountable obstacles because of the brain tumour and the late effects. The impact on my “performance” varies depending on how I am on any one particular day and that’s a massive hurdle in the work environment.”

Homemade products from Andrea's manufactory

Homemade products from Andrea's manufactory

“The medical treatment in the acute phase of treatment is very good. But after rehab, it becomes more difficult to return to a “normal” everyday life, whether that be school, apprenticeship or work. Especially with regard to vocational integration, there is a definite need for more offers on the labour market. As long as I was at school, I managed, but after that the hurdles just got bigger and bigger for me. I have my father to thank for the part-protected commercial apprenticeship I did, but when I was finished, there was nowhere for me to go. Unfortunately, I have to say I’ve had very little support from the invalidity insurance (IV). As someone with an injury to the brain, I do receive a small IV pension, but what I want is to work and use my skills in a company. I know I have lots of skills, lots of strengths. And I want to use what I have to make my contribution to society. People like me fall between two stools: if I worked in a sheltered workshop I would be – please forgive the oversimplification – underchallenged, and on the open labour market I would probably be out of my depth. I often feel as if I have been left in the lurch and I wouldn’t be where I am today without my parents.”

 “I have managed to build an independent life for myself in spite of my limitations. I moved out of my parents’ home when I was 31 and fulfilled my dream of having my own little workshop, even though I don’t earn enough to pay the bills. Naturally I do at times feel sad about what has happened. But it’s far more important to be positive. I could have died or might have been in permanent care. But instead, here I am and I’ve got both feet on the ground. There are many opportunities, and, as someone who is very open, I like to approach others. Of course I’ll have to live with the consequences of my illness and the therapy throughout my life, but although they limit me, I want to be seen as an equal. The challenges are not going to go away but I am moving on in life and it is this progress that gives me strength. I would like to help others doing things I can do and with a job that really suits me. It would be great to find a job where I could add value and pass on my joy of simply being alive.”

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