In late November, I visited my GP as I was feeling tired and had some strange bruises. After some blood tests I went home and didn’t think any more about it. Just hours later, the GP phoned me and said I had to go to hospital immediately as she believed I had leukaemia.
Later that night, the hospital confirmed that I had an aggressive form of acute myeloid leukaemia.
I couldn’t go home and had to begin treatment immediately. Within 12 hours I went from being completely normal to facing the possibility of not surviving until Christmas. It was a harrowing time.
My journey with cancer was a difficult one. I found it hard to deal with the chemotherapy treatment and my weight dropped significantly.
As a result, I had to be tube fed for a time. I also had severe rashes, painful ulcers and felt very weak.
The cancer proved hard to beat and I had to undergo multiple rounds of chemotherapy.
It was only the use of trial drugs that paved the way for me to undergo a bone marrow transplant.
Finding a suitable bone marrow donor also proved difficult as there was no match on any of the global donor databases. The doctors decided to use my brother’s bone marrow. Although he wasn’t a perfect match, he was the best and only option available.
Fortunately, the bone marrow transplant was successful, and I am now in remission.
Five years on I still have some ongoing issues with GVHD (graft-versus-host-disease) but otherwise I am healthy.
My brush with leukaemia has refocused my efforts on living a full and meaningful life. I treasure time with my family and friends,
I volunteer at several charities and I visit leukaemia patients to give them support.
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