full screen Photo: Erik Simander/TT
Birgitta Ohlsson was just about to start her dream job after being freed from breast cancer.
Then she got the news – she had leukemia.
– The chemotherapy that was supposed to kill my breast cancer seems to have given me leukemia, she says in an interview with Dagens Nyheter.
The Liberals’ former top candidate Birgitta Ohlsson was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago.
She told herself about the news.
“No more braids. In mid-July, I was diagnosed with breast cancer with lymph node metastases (daughter tumors). I oscillate between feeling like this is just a nasty nightmare that someone is going to wake me up from to actually seeing myself in early spring having undergone chemo, surgery and radiation and being able to plan our move to the US,” she wrote in a post on Instagram.
In the same vein, Birgitta Ohlsson had just received the news that she had gotten her dream job at the National Democratic Institute, NDI, an organization that the former US Secretary of State previously led. Then came the pandemic, which caused the move to be postponed.
full screen Birgitta Ohlsson 2017. Photo: Stefan Jerrevång/TT
The message: Leukemia
Ohlsson quickly received treatment and underwent chemotherapy. The cancer was so severe that she did not think she would survive.
But when she had just been cleared of breast cancer, the next news came in January – she had contracted leukemia.
– First I survived an aggressive breast cancer and then it turns out that the chemotherapy that was supposed to kill my breast cancer seems to have given me leukemia, says Birgitta Ohlsson.
Ohlsson was admitted to the emergency room, seriously ill with sepsis and pneumonia. Then the doctors warned that it could be worse than that.
– The next day they told me about the leukemia. Everything went black and it felt like I had a death sentence. Again.
“Retains my basic values”
For several years now, Birgitta Ohlsson has been away from Swedish party politics and has not longed to return.
In the last election, she chose not to vote for her old party, the Liberals, and declared that the opposition to the Sweden Democrats was a matter of principle.
Instead, she chose to cast her vote for the Center Party.
– When the wind is at its most political, the most important thing you can do is stand still. If I had been a political careerist, I would have remained in party politics and adapted to the right-wing shift. But I chose instead to stick to my basic values and choose to work in contexts where my values can be intact.
Birgitta Ohlsson was a Member of Parliament for the Liberals for 16 years and has previously been, among other things, EU Minister and Minister for Democracy.
In 2017, she challenged Jan Björklund for the position of party leader but lost the battle and subsequently chose to leave politics.