Paul C
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Living with CML

Paul C
Posted by
22 Sep 2014

It started last Christmas. I spent most of Christmas Day in bed with a stinking cough and cold which I’d had for 3 weeks. By Boxing Day we called 112 as we thought my asthma was kicking off. We eventually made a combined decision that it was probably best to go to A & E at the Royal Berks to check things out. Standard procedure in A & E there is to take a blood sample which they duly did, that was when my diagnosis with chronic myeloid leukaemia was made.

It was a massive shock and in those first few days I went through a lot of emotions; when you get that diagnosis you don’t hear the chronic myeloid bit, you focus on that one word, leukaemia and all the fear that goes with cancer. You live your life from one appointment to the next in those early days as you have quite a lot and once I started on my treatment, watching my white blood cell count return to normal was the first step on the positive road. I’m lucky CML has good prospects in terms of life expectancy and so far my treatment is heading in the right direction.

It was quite lonely for the first couple of months until I attended the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Impact Day and that was when everything turned around for me. Suddenly I wasn’t on my own, I was surrounded by others who were going through the same thing as me, had different leukaemia or were involved in research, fundraising and support for people like me. It was a humbling and overwhelming day and one of the best things to come out of it was connection to the CML facebook group. Now I have instant support and  advice which was invaluable when I was going through the initial wave of side effects.

So what now? Nine months on and although it’s a cliché I see the world through different eyes. I try to make the most of every day and not waste them. I’ve set a fundraising target and a timescale and a series of fundraising challenges to complete to raise money for research to provide the same hope and future prospects for all leukaemia patients that CML patients have. I certainly didn’t expect this year, to be running a 10k round Oxford, jumping out of an aeroplane at 12000 feet with the Parachute Regiment or cycling 52 miles round London but I’ve loved every second of it. How strange that all these things were there to do all my life but it takes this for me to see them!

I’ve lost count of the number of people who say how well I look, that’s music to my ears. I still have bad days, I still have days filled with fear and days where I feel rubbish but I refuse to be defined by this illness. I’m Paul who happens to have CML, not that cancer sufferer.

The best thing I’ve ever heard was when my dear friend Claire said to me “I keep forgetting you have cancer” which is exactly how I want it to be!

Please help me spread awareness for wold CML day by sharing this blog with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter

Find out more about chronic myeloid leukaemia

Comments

Anonymous
22.09.2014

Never give up hope. :)

25.09.2014

Absolutely fantastic blog, Paul!

I'm so glad that we met you at Impact Day and were able to help support you when you were finding the going tough. 

What you're doing to raise money and awareness of CML is incredible and really inspiring for others as it shows that you can turn something as negative as blood cancer into a positive. You also provide hope to others that having CML doesn't have to stop you from getting on with your life.

Keep up the good work - you're an inspiration to us all and a great ambassador for what's possible for CML patients.

Anonymous
26.09.2014

Thank you for your post Paul because you have exactly echoed my thoughts and feelings. I was diagnosed with CML in early October last year, and the first few months were really scary and tough, but nearly a year on, and I am fit and active once again. In fact I am now feeling better than I did before my diagnosis and I don't even worry so much about my results any more.

Like you Paul I don't want to be defined as a cancer patient and thanks to research into the disease the treatments now available allow us to do just that. I feel incredibly lucky that bar some minor side effects the drugs allow me to live to live a normal and healthy life. And I will see my children grow up.

For this reason, I have raised some money to support LL&R but your fundraising efforts have inspired me to do more and the Bikeathon 2015 has got my name on it! Right, where's my bike?

Good luck for your future adventures Paul.