Danielle Epstein, 32, had been in a relationship with Jelle Fresen for two years when she asked him to marry her, before she was diagnosed with a rare form of a brain tumor at just 37. A woman revealed how she broke up with her fiancee. her while she was recovering from brain surgery at the hospital after being diagnosed with cancer.
In a new interview, she explained that while Jelle was “strong and calm,” she was “a mess” and she “knew she couldn’t stay with him.” Speaking to The Telegraph, she said: “I felt like the man I loved was slipping away from me.” I came so close to having everything he wanted and then suddenly it was taken from me.
Two weeks after Jelle underwent a 17-hour surgery that left him with severe brain damage and paralysis on one side of his face, Danielle said she broke up with him, adding: “He was still recovering in hospital and I sat and I faced it.” I sat him in a chair and told him that I couldn’t stay with him.
Elsewhere, she recalled the beginning of their relationship, confessing that she felt “he was the one” as soon as they met. The couple were buying a house in Palmers Green, north London, when Jelle, who works as a software engineer at Google, started vomiting and feeling dizzy. After numerous GP visits and ineffective treatments for an ear infection, the vomiting got much worse.
Jelle had a private MRI using her health insurance with Google. Weeks after they got engaged, doctors found a “grade 4 medulloblastoma” tumor, normally cancer that affects children, and he was scheduled for surgery in September. He required a complex operation, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy, and had to relearn how to walk.
Danielle Epstein Left her fiancé because he had cancer
Danielle said: ‘We were on a certain path to a certain future and within a day we knew it wasn’t going to work like that anymore. “She was so worried and devastated that she couldn’t sleep or eat. She was having panic attacks and was taking so many medications to fix me that I just couldn’t function.
While all this was going on, physics teacher Danielle started having panic attacks and her mental health plummeted, so they ended their relationship. Realizing that they had to separate, she moved to Thailand with her father. But she remains friends with Jelle and keeps up with her recovery.
After her operation, Jelle suffered nerve damage that paralyzed the right side of his face, causing a squint that causes double vision. She also cannot completely close her eye and she must use eye drops and ointments. Explaining her decision to run the London Marathon on her behalf for Brain Tumor Research, she said: “I felt so helpless watching all this unfold, so I knew I had to do something.”
“I’m not a runner, but Jelle has run marathons before, so I thought it would be a challenge for me and a nice tribute to him and it felt like something to aim for.” I won’t be fast, but I’m determined to turn around. Training has been tough physically and mentally, just keeping going when you’re so bored is a challenge.
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‘But I have the best motivation; if Jelle can go through all this, then I can run a marathon.’ She said she was still ‘figuring out’ her friendship with Jelle, adding: “I felt like the most horrible person, leaving someone because they have cancer, but it was hurting my mental health and it wasn’t helping Jelle.”
She added that money was needed to help brain cancer research. She said: ‘The UK is not a developing nation; we should be scientifically innovative, but treatments have not changed in decades and we seem to be behind other countries and the advances they have made.
“We desperately need more research and trials to develop better treatments.” Jelle, who supports her ex-girlfriend’s attempt to help, said: “I’ll be there on the day to cheer Danielle on.” I think it’s amazing what she’s doing.
‘When she said that she was going to do a marathon, I have to admit that she had my doubts. “I think she only did about 5K when we were together and that was with a lot of complaining. I have a lot of respect for her discipline and perseverance. Danielle said: “I still love Jelle dearly and want to support him, but I realized that I couldn’t stay with him as her partner.”
‘We’re still figuring things out and finding ways to continue our relationship as friends. Our whole life came out from under us. Carol Robertson, National Events Manager for Brain Tumor Research, said: “We are very sorry to hear about Jelle’s diagnosis. “While her type of tumor is rare, brain cancer is not, and one in three people know someone affected.
‘We are so grateful to Danielle for taking on this great challenge to help raise money for our cause. “Our marathon runners are supported every step of the way, and we look forward to cheering her on across the finish line.”
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