Bloodwise Ambassador Katie Ruane
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Introducing myself always feels likes an AA meeting

Bloodwise Ambassador Katie Ruane
Posted by
15 Sep 2013

So hello, my name is Katie and I.... I'm always tempted to say 'am an alcoholic' because for some reason this is what pops into my head and it makes me smile.  This is not the case although I did give up drinking just over 5 years ago.

To begin again.  My name is Katie and I was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia at the age of 22 on the 19th January 2007 and I am on, and have always been on a daily pill form of chemotherapy.  I was a student at the University of Edinburgh and did not think much about my weight loss (a healthy size 14 to a 8/10 in about 6 months) my hair thinning and falling out a lot when I washed it, my lethargy and sleeping a lot.  I thought it was down to joining a gym, and being a student - going out late a lot and not getting enough sleep on a regular basis.  I then nearly fainted twice in a week.  Very embarrassingly one time it was in the second lecture of a new module.  We had gone to look at original drawings in the National Library and I had to summon up the courage and ask if I could leave the room to sit down.  I thought everyone was going to think I was a complete hypochondriac etc that was on, I think the Wednesday morning.  That Friday night I was in hospital with a cancer diagnosis. 

In many ways I am lucky.  I eventually dragged myself to the doctor on the Friday,  well my flat mate threatened to throw cold water over me if I didn't get up and go.  I explained how I had been feeling.  Not right, but nothing specifically wrong and she did a blood test.  I don't want this post to be massive so to cut a long story short that night when the hospital phoned me I refused to go in until they told me what was wrong as my parents were 400 miles away and I wanted to tell them, so the on call doctor offered to come and pick me up.  Hilarious!  On reflection, maybe it should have flagged how desperate they were to get me into hospital.....

The down side to my diagnosis is that I was a couple of days away from collapsing and could have gone in an ambulance and it would be a MUCH more exciting story.  But this did not happen.  Also both my siblings have been in an ambulance and I haven't and as the ignored middle child, I feel very left out about this.

I should probably end this here after whetting your appetites to read more about me..... (and I need to leave to go to a friends for lunch).  I'm not sure if I'm allowed to do this..... I have a blog that I have been writing for the last 6 and a half years about my little (never ending) cancer journey at http://katruane.blogspot.com and I have video blogs at http://jimmyteens.tv/films-by/katie-ruane/

I suppose my motivation to do this is partly selfish, it's a way to enable me to process what I'm going through and my feelings (lots of anger which I am slowly beginning to own) and a way to also appreciate everything.  I was at a meeting at another charity for their yearly young persons conference and someone said that they heard a young person say they were sick of telling people that being diagnosed with cancer was the best thing to happen to them because it isn't.  I have to say that whilst sometimes I am upset and angry and think it's not fair and why did this happen to me.  The majority of the time it is the best thing that's happened to me.  I have learnt so much about myself and am actually (other than wanting to be a bit thinner) genuinely happy and at peace with me.  I have met so many wonderful people and have been able to make a difference to others.  This would not have happened without it.  So whilst yes, I do whinge a fair bit, having cancer has opened up my eyes and shown me how much my family and friends love me and the incredible support I have.  So many never truly realise that, and to know that, makes me blessed. And it is that love and support that keeps me going through the good and the bad and keeps me hoping that one day I will come off chemotherapy and fully get my life back.

So on that note, until next time....
Katie