Discover Emma's personal side
I combine all the facets that life has allowed me, adjusting an agenda minute by minute. They call me a "multitasking woman", but I have the secret with the great team behind, both family, scientific, work and sports! I do not expect the train of opportunities to stop right at the door, I look for what interests me and fight for what matters to me. If I make a mistake along the way, I learn from it, I look for solutions and I continue. To stop is to faint. Non Stop!
Parallel to work and family life, I have never stopped playing sports and, although I started competing after I was 20 years old, I still compete internationally in ultra-endurance races now. From the beginning, I have done everything: triathlons, duathlons, ironmans, mountain marathons and ultramarathons, mountain biking, mountain skiing or adventure races.
Married to David, we have 3 children, Irina, Martí and Mariona. Between the working days in the fire station, being a mother, competing all over the world and enjoying La Cerdanya intensely, I have been able to finish my Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering and co-found several companies related to health and sports.
"I combine being a MOTHER, SCIENTIST, ENTREPRENEUR, PROFESSIONAL FIRE FIGHTER AND Ultra CROSS athletE"
When the mother is a grandmother and the daughter is a mother. The feeling towards the children is enormous, everything is protectionism and responsibility. Irina came first, and 2 years and 6 months later Mariona and Martí... twins (when the gynecologist told us, we had no sleep for two nights!). Having them 3 has been the best thing that has ever happened to us!
When they were little, half asleep, I would pick them up to take them to bed, they would wake up, hug me and tell me: "I love you mom", everything melted inside me, I had no words, I just wanted to cry. Tears of happiness.
With the children, every day is an adventure race, a living school where I learn lessons that nowhere else is taught. When I wake up in the morning I find myself surrounded by people who love me and I love them, who hug me, say "good morning" and kiss me, I feel healthy, energetic and I know that I can still give a lot of myself. I often ask myself: why do I sometimes think that what I have is not enough for me, if I have everything?
Seven years later, in 2007, I entered into the GRAE (Special Action Support Group) through internal opposition to perform services that are not floor fire or forest fire, traffic accident, or technical assistance. The GRAEs go to search for lost, injured, or unfortunately dead people in a non-urban environment or in a hostile setting, difficult to access or impossible to assist without tools such as ropes and specific rope access devices. But after suffering a fright with the helicopter and experiencing other risky situations, I decided, in 2014, to return as a park firefighter in La Seu d'Urgell where I still am today.
It is hard work, which not everyone can do, but at the same time it has a very rewarding ingredient: you are useful for helping people and that makes you happy.
I was diagnosed through a biopsy of lichen sclerosus* on the vulvar lips. I was treated with corticosteroid creams until, in early 2020, the creams were doing nothing for me and everything the doctors prescribed made the skin on my vulva worse, the pain was so great that it left me immobile in bed for weeks.
After being visited for more than 4 months by 5 gynecologists and 2 different dermatologists, they did not find what I could have. Finally, the vulvar specialists Dra. Cararach and Dr. Fusté performed biopsies and MRI, finding a vulvar carcinoma** on the lips and more malignant cells in the inguinal nodes. We are all surprised since it is unusual and appears in women over 70 years of age. I associate it with the lichen that I had a year and a half ago, the friction of running and cycling, the abuse of corticosteroid creams, the type of sportswear material that touches the vulvar lips and above all, stress. It is a set of many things, and I know that cancer cannot be labeled as a single cause, it is multifactorial.
On June 17, 2020, I was able to have a flawless surgery removing the malignant cells from my lips (total vulvectomy) and from the inguinal nodes (bilateral radical inguinofemoral lymphadenectomy).
How you have lived with constant blindness, how you can live more fully, with a different consciousness. Now I get up and think about the things that I still have to do with my family and the moments that we can live together.
I see illness as a path for spiritual and personal growth. I start the day grateful, happy, wanting to give love and receive it. And although the words that now come out of my mouth sound corny, they have enormous strength, because they make me feel complete even though I no longer have a very intimate part of me.
I will not stop playing sports, I will not stop having projects, researching and publishing, but me and my closest environment have taken on a new priority and another speed.
If for some, this awakening could have been confinement, for me it has been an evil that has immobilized me for weeks, that has caused me a lot of pain, that has consumed me by the uncertainty of not knowing what I had, but that finally has given to me a new chance. And I am not going to waste it. Forever grateful.
*Lichen sclerosus: Lichen sclerosus is a chronic and progressive inflammatory dermopathy that usually affects the anogenital region. It is characterized by the appearance of a marked inflammation in the dermis, epithelial thinning and other dermatological changes such as epithelial and hyperkeratotic hyperplasia and less frequently edema of the papill·lar dermis. The most common symptom of inactive disease is itching associated with irritation and painful sensation.
**Cancer of the vulva is a rare type of cancer (less than 4% of malignant tumors found in women). It forms on a woman's external genitalia, on the vulva, and grows slowly over years. Many times you have no symptoms at first. The clinical manifestation can be unifocal (nodule, papule, ulcer, 40% labia majora, 20% labia minora, 10% clitoris, 15% perineum, or 10% extensive) or multifocal (5% of the total). Treatment varies, depending on your general health and cancer status, and may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or biological therapy.
Inflammatory dermatoses of the vulva (lichen sclerosus, lichen planus and lichen simplexchronicus). AEPCC Guides, 2016. 56 p. ISBN: 978-84-617-6416-7.