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Don't Panic................

Posted by
01 Jul 2014

To paraphrase Douglas Adams “In the beginning my Universe was created. This has made a lot of people unhappy and been widely regarded as bad news.” Probably sounds a bit dramatic but putting “my world” didn’t quite fit the quote!

I originally went to the Doctors at the beginning of March with what I would describe as depression, I had been struggling with things at work and had generally feeling quite down with life. Describing my symptoms, he prescribed me some tablets for anxiety. He also arrange for me to have a routine blood test to make sure there weren’t any underlying conditions. I’ve never been a big fan of having blood tests, so it wasn’t really looking forward to it but I went and didn’t faint which is always a bonus! Now I just had to wait for the results.

Because, I don’t go to the doctors often, it didn’t really cross mind that something might be wrong when the surgery rang to make sure that the appointment I had booked was to discuss my results. So it came as a genuine surprise when I was told I had chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). I can’t really remember what else was said during that appointment but fortunately or unfortunately depending on your view point my ex girlfriend had had acute myeloid leukemia (AML) a few years earlier. The simple fact that I vaguely understood the difference between Chronic and Acute meant that I was able to deal with the information I’d been given a little better. I think if I’d not know this I’d have gone to pieces. The doctor gave me some information about the condition to take away but I couldn’t even look at it but I knowing chronic meant slow really helped.

What happened next was a bit of a blur.  I went home and told my parents, which wasn’t easy as they knew what we’d gone through with my ex. The hospital rang the next morning to confirm my appointment on the next Tuesday, I went to work to tell me collegues, tried not think about it over the weekend, work on Monday then hospital first thing Tuesday morning.

Because I’d hadn’t been able to read anything about the condition, I didn’t know whether I’d be have to come back for treatment, have it there and then or even if I’d be able to come home that evening. However, my consultant told me that my condition was mild and not to worry (easier said than done!). I had more blood taken to confirm the initial diagnosis and to come back in three weeks for the results.
Driving home, I can’t really explain what I was thinking. The best way to explain it is I felt like a snowglobe that had been picked up a few days ealier and shaken vigorously and now I’d been put down as if nothing had happened but inside everything was churning (hasn’t really stopped).

The three weeks past to my next appointment when it was confirmed that I had CLL. Basically my results only just bad enough to be classed as CLL, I don’t need treatment at the moment and hopefully never will. But this is now my world (or universe). I try to tell myself not to panic.  If asked this would be the best piece of advice I would give someone who found themselves in a similar position as it sounds a lot worse than it is!

I’ve got my next check up tomorrow, I’m sure that I’ll be fine as that’s what all the professionals tell me. So in the waiting room, I’ll be trying to take me own advice and I’ll be imagining the words “Don’t Panic” written in large friendly letters.



Hi Anthony,

Thank you so much for sharing your experience of diagnosis. Really interesting what you say about how having a vague idea about the difference between chronic and acutes helped you not to react more strongly. When I was diagnosed I had a strange feeling of almost relief as I'd known there was something wrong for some time and the idea that they could now do something about it was strangely comforting.

It sounds like you've got a pretty good handle on things but it can be a little overwhelming and we've got a lot of information on CLL on the website including downloadable pamphlets which may prove handy:

You might also want to read about others who are going through what you are going through - we have a few on watch and wait at the moment in our Patient Experiences section:

All the best and stay in touch.

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