I meet with Line Young Peteri in her stunning apartment for our interview. She is so welcoming and friendly, it feels like we have known each other for ages. She fleets from one topic to another with remarkable ease, keeping me at the edge of my seat trying to grasp each and every detail of her fascinating life.
She mentions to me that many people congratulate her now on her success and strength, but she is quick to point out that it was not always that way.
“I suffered from self-esteem and abandonment issues. I used to self-harm. My life was far from happy.”
“People see me as this strong, successful person, but it was not always like this. I was adopted at age 3 and a half, by a Danish family in Denmark. My adoptive parents were great but people have this romantic idea of adoption, where some nice family rescues an abandoned child and they live happily ever after. But mine was not a happy childhood.”
“I felt very different to everyone around me, including my adoptive family. I used to dream about changing the way I look; having enough money to change the shape of my eyes and make myself look more like everyone else. I suffered from self-esteem and abandonment issues. I used to self-harm. My life was far from happy.”
People often ask Line whether she wishes she was aborted instead of having been placed in an orphanage and eventually adopted. She says “if you had asked me that when I was thirteen I would have said yes without hesitation. Now my life is different, I have a family, however it does not take away the hardships I had to go through to get to where I am today.”
“Sometimes we are our own worst enemies when we complain about this and that, and judge each other. I have never felt discriminated against by men, because I am a woman.”
Line, amongst other things is an investment adviser at “Kickass Capital”, helping to set up, and lead companies towards success. Some of the firm’s success stories include “Just Eat”, the world’s leading online and mobile takeaway service and “UK2Group”, a global collective of web hosting brands, empowering businesses worldwide to achieve professional excellence online.
Line is also adviser at Plato Science, she co-owns a shoe design company, Roccamore, is a contributor for ‘First magazine‘, has her own blog LineYoung.com, is spokeswomen for ‘Dove’ in Malta and she is also a wife and mum to two young children aged: 4 and 6. Phew I got tired just going through all.
Line is currently featuring in Dove Malta’s #jiensabiha campaign.
Line tells me how structure and a strict regime help her manage it all. “I wake up at 6:30am every day and spend two solid hours of quality time with my children until 8:30am when my husband takes them to school. I then exercise for an hour from 8:30-9:30am, following which I start my working day. At 3:00pm I pick up my kids and spend time with them until their bedtime at 8pm after which I am again on call for work.”
“I went through an abusive relationship where I lost the hearing in my left ear and a fracture on my jaw.”
“Women who want to succeed, can succeed, there is nothing stopping them. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies when we complain about this and that, and judge each other. I have never felt discriminated against by men, because I am a woman.”
Line continues to tell me how she was not always this ‘strong’, assertive person that people know today. “I wasn’t always like this. I used to be a follower. Not many people know this but I even went through a dreadfully abusive relationship where I was grievously injured. I lost the hearing in my left ear and a fracture on my jaw. The relationship lasted one year and I am glad to say that I got out before it got even worse.”
We go back to the subject of women. “Honestly I just wish women were more supportive of each other both in person and online. I feel that sometimes we tend to have these ideals of how other women should act which fit into our own circumstances and beliefs, and without knowing it, we make other women, who have been through very different experiences, feel bad about their own life decisions.”
“I have every excuse to stay in bed and have people take care of me. But no one got better lying in bed feeling sorry for themselves.”
Line continues by telling me that she believes everyone has their own story. “You cannot just look at a minute of someone’s life and decide that she is a bad mother for example.”
She explains how some time ago whilst she was in the UK for her cancer treatment, she was with her son and husband at a supermarket and her son threw a huge tantrum. “These two women were looking at me in a condescending manner for not being able to control my son and you know what I told them? I said, ‘do you have any idea that this boy has been watching his mother battle with cancer for the past two years?!’
Line has had 13 surgeries and 28 radiation treatments. “I have every excuse to stay in bed and have people take care of me. But no one got better lying in bed feeling sorry for themselves.”
I ask her when she first found out she had cancer. “Four years ago when I was pregnant with my second child, the doctors noticed a lump in my neck. Since I was pregnant, we could not do anything anyway, so we just ignored it.”
After having her daughter, Line explains how she started feeling a number of strange symptoms. “I noticed I was getting sick quite often; my immune system was weak and also, even though I was exercising and eating healthy I was not losing weight.” A friend of Line’s mentioned it could be an under-active thyroid, so Line went to see a doctor.
“I had to stay in isolation for 4 weeks..we tried to Skype but it upset the kids.”
“At first, the doctors said they saw nothing, however I asked them to check again and mentioned that when I was pregnant my doctor had seen something. They ran another test and found a lump as big as 5cm and another one of 2.5cm. They then ran a biopsy and I was informed that I had Thyroid cancer.”
Line explains how the doctor told her “You are one of the lucky ones, you have the ‘good’ cancer”.
“There is no such thing as good cancer!” Line exclaims. “Yes, thankfully there is a high cure rate but I definitely do not feel lucky.
My children were aged 1 and 3 when I had my first radiation treatment. I had to stay in isolation for 4 weeks and not seeing my children was one of the toughest parts of it all. We tried to Skype but it upset the kids because they could not understand how I could not be with them.”
Photo taken in November 2014, following Line’s first surgery
The radiation did not work and Line went through hormone treatment and another bout of radiation, this time with 6 weeks in isolation.
“3 weeks into the isolation treatment, I was told it was unsuccessful but I still had to stay for another 3 weeks, then there were more problems because my blood tests were misplaced and my treatment was moved to the UK”
“I used to hate the fact that I looked so different..now I look at my little daughter and think she is the cutest little thing I have ever seen.”
Line was opened up many times, sometimes for no reason other than to check whether there were any lumps left. “It has not been easy but I am not embarrassed of my scars, I will not hide them. I believe, now, that our imperfections make us who we are.”
“When I was little I used to hate myself; hate the fact that I looked so different from everyone else. Now I look at my little daughter who looks so much like me and think she is the most beautiful, cutest little thing I have ever seen. Having kids changed my perspective totally”
Line recently received some very good news that her tests came out clear. “Basically my thyroglobin level (the tumor marker) was 1 and the scans are clean. It doesn’t mean I´m in the clear, however it means I won´t need any treatments or surgery any time soon. And one thing I have learned along the way is to enjoy these little victories as well!”
I ask her what made her take the decision to move to Malta “We moved here 8 years ago. I love the fact that people in Malta are so loving and caring. Even though the country is very progressive, there is still this village community where people are ready to help each other. I also admire the fact that Maltese people are so proud of their rich culture and heritage.” Line is also goodwill ambassador for St James Cavellier and a guest lecturer at the University of Malta for MBA students.
“I have felt I was going to die. I lost my voice, at times was not able to breathe properly. I threw up blood, my skin melted off of my neck.”
The subject turns to her adoptive family. “When I was young, I tried so hard to make my adoptive family proud and get the acceptance I craved. I guess I always chased my own shadow. It was not before I got sick that I realized how much they actually have loved and cared for me. They dropped everything to come to wherever I am, and today I have an amazing relationship with them. It´s kind of a cliché, but its in the toughest times that you realize who the most important people in your life are.”
As mentioned earlier, Line also has a blog Lineyoung.com, I ask her what drove her to start a blog. “I love writing with the aim of raising awareness about important issues, inspiring people and raising their self-esteem” Her posts are in fact very inspirational and personal. She adds “and also very selfish, I needed a place to detox and let out my thoughts, and the blog was it. During my treatments I have been alone a lot. I have been so sick, I felt I was going to die. I lost my voice, at times was not able to breathe properly. I threw up blood, my skin melted off of my neck, and I have felt moody, angry, sad and depressed, so having that go-to place where I could let out my thoughts, uncensored and unfiltered, was therapeutic for me.”
I ask her what her plans are for the near future. “This month I will turn 40 and I will also meet, for the very first time, my biological mother.” Line met up with her brother and sister for the very first time 6 months ago. Line continues to tell me her plans, which include a new shopping website: www.emma.dk; being spokesperson for Dove, writing a book and also continuing to be part of a Danish TV program on TV2, as well as cutting down on work and increasing quality time with her kids. Well, if there is someone who can manage this, it is Line.
Share this post to inspire your friends with Line’s amazing story.
Click here to follow us on Facebook.