Mark was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in 1996.
"When I was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia 13 years ago, the doctors believed my condition was terminal and I was given just six months to three years to live, but I have received fantastic treatment.”
“You feel like you’re the only one when you’re diagnosed. At the time all I could think about initially was ‘I’m going to die’ and you start to think ‘is there any point in doing anything or being positive’. But you do it for everybody else and as time goes on and you’re still here and you’re still fighting, you start doing it for yourself as well.”
“When you first go to hospital it’s very frightening - seeing people who are obviously very ill, having had chemotherapy and with Hickman lines coming out of them. I’ve always had a bit of a phobia of needles and hospitals too! But in the end I think the fear of what was going to happen was far worse than actually having the chemotherapy itself.”
“You do get varying opinions from doctors about the best course of action and treatment options to take, so sometimes it’s best to take the opinion of one doctor you trust and follow that, then that’s the best way to do it. I did a bit of research and learnt the background to the disease I had and I found it really helped to engage with the doctors and get more detailed information from them about my prognosis.”
“The immense love, help and support you get from others can give you positivity that you need during the treatment, but in some senses you are still very much alone – only you are experiencing the treatment and wondering what on earth is happening. Like a lot of people I had thoughts of ‘why me?’ and ‘why at such an early age?’ etc, but you just have to get on with it.”
“It’s not the end, you’ve always got a chance. Although it’s difficult to think of it when you’ve just been diagnosed, you’ve got to be positive – there’s always hope. I was in a situation where things didn’t look very hopeful at all and I’m still here 14 years later and there are new drugs being developed all the time – so there is always hope.”