When did you last laugh heartily and what about?
Maria Langstroff: I laugh a lot. I would say that it is the case at least once a day. It can be a funny photo, which I am shown or sent by people from my environment, a great program of a comedian or a comment from my partner, my family and friends. Yesterday, for example, I heard the audio book of the German comedian Carolin Kebekus and laughed tears – she is phenomenally good!
What have you always been wanting to do and why have you never done this so far?
Maria Langstroff: I have to say that since I've been so ill, I always do what I want, as long as this is somehow realizable.
For example in 2013 I said I would like to go back to the Baltic Sea once again. Family, friends, doctors and nurses advised me not to do it because of health risks. I could understand their concerns, but I drove anyway because I wanted it so much. Of course, I was accompanied by experts, I also had to make an advance health care directive, just in case.
Before my illness, for example, I never contradicted anybody. I did not dare to say what hurts me and what I think. When I finally fell ill, the pages turned and I literally learned to raise my voice.
Which person has influenced you most?
Maria Langstroff: I've met many great personalities in my life, but probably the following ones have had the biggest influence: My parents and my brother, because they accompany me since my first day of life, always support me and are there for me, in every situation.
My partner, because he takes me the way I am. He does not see my illness, what I really like about him. We laugh, discuss and argue – it is just normal. He's always there for me and by doing so he gives me the strength I need.
My best friend Katha, with whom I have been friends for already 27 years now. We have a really deep friendship.
My best friend Stefan, who has accompanied me since my studies. He is always there for me.
And my two doctors. I have rarely experienced physicians with such heart warmth, passion and such great commitment. I owe them much.
All these people go with me through every high and low, and are at my side. I'm indefinitely grateful for that!