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As I get better and remain in remission, I get busier and busier...

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17 Oct 2014

As I get better and remain in remission, I get busier and busier, and hence have neglected my ongoing blog. LLR weren't going to let me away with it, and quite rightly so. What has been going on with me ?

Well I've progressed from 2 weekly, to 4 weekly, to 6 weekly, to 8 weekly to 12 weekly Consultant review appointments. This is a true sign of their confidence in my ongoing remission from Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. In parallel with this I still get 12 weekly bone marrow aspirates. This is partly to confirm I'm in remission but importantly to allow ongoing research as part of the Clinical Trials. I am still of the opinion that I owe so much to those that have gone before me, so I have an obligation to help those who come after me.

I've had about ten 'venesection' sessions since my last blog,  where about 600ml of blood is withdrawn every 3 weeks and discarded, to lower my iron (ferritin) levels. These were at at a level of 2700 prior to venesection and are now down to 1600. I've got a bit to go but things are on course. I do get tired and can get breathless when walking etc soon after each session but it's all part of the journey.

In relation to work, I've now been back at work for a year, and thanks to the ongoing medical care, I've not had a single day off sick since my return. I've also been promoted and started a new post on 1st August 2014. I relate part of this success to having to have a positive mental attitude in dealing with Leukaemia. As the saying goes "every cloud has a silver lining".

I took up the post of President of my Rotary Club in July 2014 and was to my surprise awarded a 'Paul Harris Fellowship' which is a Rotary award. As Club President, my one and only indulgence is that I get to name the main charity we will support for the following year. I was delighted my fellow members supported my nomination of LLR as our main charity for my year in post. Am I biased ? Absolutely. My wife & I attended the LLR 'Connect Scotland' event on 8th October 2014 at Glasgow City Chambers, and heard of developments in treatment,fundraising and research.

What have I done to support LLR recently and everyone reading this ? I completed a lap of the Island of Cumbrae on my bike in May big deal I hear you say as its only 12 miles..............I'd had a bone marrow aspirate a few days before so it was painful but fulfilling and my Rotary Club raised in excess of £5000 for LLR as a result. My wife & I missed the LLR Glasgow branch 5K walk (Forget Me Not Walk)  on 31st August 2014 as we were on a Cruise...........therefore on 1st September 2014 we did 16 laps of the ship to complete our 5K. We also as part of the same trip did a sponsored hike to the Briksdal Glacier in Norway. We also helped out at the  'Small Change Big Impact' bucket collection on 13th September 2014. The supermarket collection we helped out at raised £588 of the £9000 raise that day across the country. The next event is a Rotary coffee morning on 25th October 2014..........all proceeds to LLR.

Every month it seems I hear of more people affected by Leukaemia or Lymphoma, but it just strengthens my resolve to support LLR to do what it says on all the T-shirts, banners etc "We Won't Stop Until We've Beaten Blood Cancer"


Ellie Dawes

Great to hear from you again Derek, congratulations on your promotion, and becoming president of the rotary club!

WOW, you have been incredibly busy helping us beat blood cancer! Thanks so much for all your amazing work. It is entirely thanks to people like you that we have seen the successes you will have been hearing about at Connect Scotland.

Thanks for updating us with a blog, many of us here at LLR London HQ read your blogs to follow your story and it's great to hear about you feeling better and living life to the max. :)



Like Ellie I don't really know where to start in replying to this blog! To say you've been busy is an understatement and I think it's fantastic that you're doing so well - long may it continue!

It's wonderful to hear that you're still in remission and that your consultant appointments are getting less and less frequent which is always positive whilst it's fantastic that you've been promoted at work and been made President of your Rotary Club. Congratulations!

Thanks so much for managing to put us forwards as the charity of the year - that's fantastic news and I wish you all the best at the club with the fundraising in the weeks and months ahead. If you need anything please don't hesitate to get in touch.

What you're doing personally on the fundraising/volunteering front is also brilliant - you'll be running a marathon or cycling to Paris at this rate! Keep up the good work and thanks so much for the update!

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