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I am so grateful to be enjoying good health and a sense of normality.

Posted by
17 Mar 2014

It's been quite a while since I posted anything but ironically it's been because I've been so busy which is a good thing.

I returned to work full time in November after a 2 week holiday with my wife Chris. It really recharged our batteries and we appreciated the holiday even more so as it was something that looked impossible only a few months earlier. Fortunately the Insurance company we have used for some time now had done their homework and instead of, as we expected, asking us endless questions about my condition, they simply asked if the first cycle of chemotherapy achieved Remission. We were obviously lucky enough to answer "yes" to this question and no further questions were asked. It did cost an additional £200 to cover me for the 2 weeks Cruise in the Mediterranean but that was far less than we expected. This in itself suggests that even Insurance companies recognise the improvements in the treatment of Blood Cancer.

It was very quickly 'business as normal' for me once I got back to work, but I am still meeting colleagues even now that haven't seen me since my return and they are very supportive and delighted to see me back. I did notice I was vey tired at night and often fell asleep on the couch but I was reassured by my Consultants that this was to be expected. They also noted that I had a high 'iron' level within my blood which was thought to be as a result of the intensive Chemotherapy and numerous blood transfusions I received. It is referred to as 'secondary iron overload'. I did get a little fright when I was told the Consultants wanted me to have an abdominal ultrasound to rule out anything else going on. I had this done a few weeks ago and am pleased to say everything was fine. Therefore the plan to reduce the iron level within my blood is to lower it by taking blood off me which is called 'venesection'. This can safely be done now as my blood counts are back to normal. Eventually the iron level should fall as a result.

It is now just over a year since I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and I am so grateful to be enjoying good health and a sense of normality. As a result I am keen to give back what I can. Chris & I did a 'Rotary Club' bag pack at a supermarket on 28th December and whilst we were doing this I noticed a gentleman staring across at me with a big smile on his face. It was one of my Consultants and he was so pleased to see me being able to give a little back. My Rotary Club is continuing to support LLR and we have a sponsored cycle planned for May this year.

I was out walking with my 2 dogs the other day and it could have been the middle of summer. It seems a but corny, but I really couldn't take enough in of what a nice day it was. I was just so pleased to be alive and enjoying the walk. This makes me remember those that are not so fortunate, but also those such as LLR and the Medical & Nursing staff that give so many of us the chance to live on.


Ellie Dawes

Lovely to read your update Derek, so pleased to hear you're doing well. Nice news about the insurance company understanding blood cancer treatment too!

Hope you had a great holiday, thanks so much to you and your rotary club for fundraising! The money you raise will make a big difference, helping others who are diagnosed with a blood cancer live life to the full.


Hi Had sent a email yesterday asking how you were. Today I thought I will look on your blog. Nice to read it was all good news. Think of you two often. Try and make a trip down here for a visit and a possible day of sailing. Love to you both xx

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