I was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in February 2008 and thankfully I'm in major molecular remission now.
I take my dasatinib tablets daily, follow my consultant's advice and get on with my life.
I decided to tell people about my condition almost immediately upon diagnosis, aged 32. It felt honest and open and I knew I was going to do some serious charity fundraising so I desperately needed that sympathy vote. I wanted people to understand the disease, ask questions, I was happy to talk. In a way it was therapy for me and still is.
Some people, including family, still don't know what to say. This is OK too, they will come around. I realise it's hard for everyone who knows the patient, they wonder how we cope. They don't realise the inner-strength we receive via whatever belief system you hold true, I took a little bit of all of them!
There are bad days, but everyone has these and there isn't a day that goes by that I'm not thankful I'm still here. That's the game changer. It's like seeing in colour after living in a monotone world. It's odd to have your health taken away, it makes you live for the moment and appreciate things more...especially Italian red wines, in moderation of course.
To others in the same position, I would advise that you don’t let yourself become defined as someone with leukaemia. For me CML has become secondary and I let the health professionals worry about my treatment.
My life changed again around a year ago. My son, Luca, was born. This was another challenge. I banked sperm on diagnosis and two years ago my wife Kelly and I made the positive decision to go through IVF treatment. Of course it was worth it, even at the 2am feed. I'm looking forward to being Dad for a very long time.