Cure Leukaemia helps blood cancer patients to access pioneering drug and transplant treatments by funding a network of specialist research nurses across the UK. Without these nurses, to ensure patients are monitored and cared for, clinical trials of these new treatments would not run and patients, that have exhausted standard treatment options, would miss out on potentially lifesaving therapies. Every penny raised for Cure Leukaemia helps save lives and also hastens global progress towards the eradication of all forms of blood cancer.
Hairy cell leukaemia is one of the rarest types of leukaemia, which is cancer of the white blood cells. At this present time it is not curable but it is treatable.
I am running the ‘Simply Health’ Great Birmingham Run in October to raise funds and awareness to help find a cure for Leukaemia. 40 years ago the life expectancy of a person with HCL was 4 years after diagnosis. Now the outlook of Survival depends on many factors, so no one can tell you exactly how long you’ll live. It depends on your individual condition, treatment and level of fitness.
My life changed on the 12th October 2018. I was diagnosed with a rare Chronic Leukaemia called Hairy Cell (HCL)
I had been feeling a bit under the weather for a few weeks prior to diagnosis. I was getting breathless for no reason, sweating at night, a dull ache in my abdomen, bruising easily.
I woke one morning and my sight in my right eye was very slightly blurred. I couldn’t concentrate at work so I arranged to see my GP. He recommended going to Specsavers to have an eye health check. This soon rang alarm bells. I had bleeding behind both my eyes. Concerned the optician set me up an urgent eye appointment at the hospital. I first needed to get a blood test which I had the same day.
I went for a blood test at my GP who then called me the same day to pop in for a chat. He was going to stay late for me...I was told I was running on empty with all my blood counts much lower than expected and my spleen was enlarged (unbeknown to me all typical symptoms for Leukaemia).The GP arranged for me to have a bone marrow biopsy on the 11th October at Torbay Hospital. The consultant dropped a bombshell and told me it was probable I have a Lymphoma. My world came crashing in. How do I tell my wife and family?
I was booked in for blood transfusions the following day and told the Bone Marrow Biopsy results would take about 2 weeks. That night was horrendous. Am I going to die?, is my life insurance any good?, my girls?, what will Chemo be like?
It was the afternoon of the 12th October that whilst having the first of many transfusions for blood and platelets the consultant asked to see Debbie and I.....Why so soon? What is going on? Debbie and I were taken into the ‘quiet’ room.
My worst fears were confirmed with the news I desperately did not want to hear.... I had Cancer. Surely this only happened to other people?
The consultant started to talk but I couldn’t focus. I heard the words I have a rare Leukaemia but the positive is initial treatment is usually successful. I soon started to feel hopeful that I can beat this.
There were lots more transfusions the following week to build me up for Chemo. I had 2 injections a day for 7 days. After the first injection I had a high fever and was admitted for a week. The chemo was smashing my good cells as well as the cancer. This is when reality started to kick in. Nauseous, couldn’t eat, pumped with antibiotics. A few weeks later this all repeated again but this time the antibiotics aggravated my liver and I had the most horrendous rash as well as jaundice. I really felt like I would never feel normal again.
As each month went on I started to get stronger and feel better. My bloods started to recover and most importantly my white infection fighting cells were showing improvement.
On Wednesday 17th April following another Bone Marrow Biopsy, I was given the best news possible ..... I am in complete remission!
Life feels good and now is my time to put a bit back and say thanks to all those who have supported me through the good and bad times. The research that is on going will eventually find a cure for lukaemia. This awful disease affects so many people in so many ways.
Please help me with supporting this amazing charity xxx
I am running the Birmingham Half Marathon for Cure Leukaemia because I am in Complete Remission from HCL
We fund a network of expert research nurses to help save leukaemia patients' lives
Charity Registration No. 1100154