Aileen Lamb
Posted by
Aileen Lamb


Aileen Lamb
Posted by
Aileen Lamb
24 Oct 2016

Its 13 months now since my diagnosis with Acute Meyloid Leukaemia. A big part of 'moving on' for me has included looking back and acknowledging how far I've come.

I have quite sketchy memories of how ill I was when I was admitted to hospital. Being unable to 'walk the length of myself' and requiring up to three IV antibiotics at once because of sepsis hammer home the speed and severity of AML striking. 

The faint blueish tinge which circled my inner arm following a horribly infected PICC line has at last gone. The 3 scars on my chest and neck which show where my Hickman lines were are fading. I remember how annoyed I was that I even needed one. So 40 odd units of blood and hundreds of vials of blood to be tested later, these lines were simply a life saver. 

I remembered the other day how I'd spent late September and early October 2015 waiting for my neutrophils to rise after my first, 10 day long chemo. No matter how often I asked, no matter how much I hoped for the numbers to move up, the docs experience was bang on. He said it would most likely take a month from starting chemo to my being well enough to go home. 31 days later, I escaped! Granted it was short lived and less than 72 hours later I was readmitted due to infection - but I got a wee taste of outside.

When I heard in late November that I was to have a Stem Cell transplant (SCT) I knew virtually nothing about that process. 3 short months later my understanding was deep and often comprised of 'too much information'. I'd had the 'this could kill you or cure you' conversation with the transplant team, they'd narrowed the worldwide search down to an 18 year old UK male who matched me 10/10 and I'd been fed through the SCT sausage machine. Coming out the other end I was more battered and bruised than I let on. But I was still here. I'd jumped the first hurdle.

Stuff anyone who pooh poohs the target of +100 days. It's bloody important to have positive goals to focus on when you feel like you've been to hell and back. I still felt pretty rotten on day 100. But I knew that I was 100 times better than when I'd just been discharged. Any I'm a million times better today.

So many things have changed - in me, in my life, in the world around me. However what's strangely comforting is how much has remained the same. There is actually something nice about being able to still do things I did pre-diagnosis. Probably  because despite my wholly positive outlook during my treatment there was always a degree of panic about what could go wrong. 

And now that I am feeling a million times better I wanted to tip my hat to those who've helped me and kicked my ass along the way. My husband Steve, has had to witness stuff he really shouldn't have. He's put up with me having the SCT version of constant 'morning sickness' for four months. He held our world together and kept it real for me. He was quite simply my saviour.

My family and friends have rallied round and done crazy big things to fund raise, tiny every day things to keep my spirits up and generally gathered round me to make sure I kept marching ahead every day.

I've written before about the amazing care I received from NHS (The Western General & The Beatson). But there is also the care that Maggie's provided for 'my head'. They've more than fulfilled their founders mission that people with cancer never “lose the joy of living in the fear of dying”. I'm loving living, every single day!

Bloodwise have stood head and shoulders above other cancer charities for me. From the disease specific information they supplied to the chance to interact with others who'd already walked the road I was travelling. They are a young, dynamic and hugely caring team who genuinely believe that together we can beat blood cancer. Their belief in me, and the support they've given me to 'pay it forward' and help others who are just starting this blood cancer journey as been truly humbling. I hope that I can be a good ambassador for them.

So, its with a positive outlook that I turn and continue my journey on the road to normal (and all the new, different and exciting places I've not yet visited). A fellow SCT recipient said to me today, "I feel its time to draw a line under this, and move on". I agree. We've made it to the end of this crappy chapter. Lets turn the page and dive into the rest of the book!



Hi Aileen, Thank you so much for sharing this blog with us. Reading these blogs can give others going through similar things a lot of hope and an understanding that they are not alone.

It's great that you had such a brilliant, solid support network during this time. I am so glad that you are doing so much better and made it to the end of that chapter. Thank you so much for being a Bloodwise ambassador and doing so much to raise awareness. Wishing you all the very best, Alice



Aileen, first let me say how great it is to be reading this; Its been just over 2 years since my SCT in the Beatson, and only now am I really coming to terms with all I've been through. People say how do you do it, your so strong etc and my reply has always and continues to be "because you just have too." You just get on with it. Coming from the highlands of scotland we were brought up with this attitude and it has stood me in stead - hell I'll take a couple years of crap to live another 50 odd years; However looking back and reflecting on the bad times makes me realise what we have to put ourselves through to get up in the morning. It really does make you appreciate those in your life and being in my early 20's having my friends being there coming to visit through the good and bad but still creating a sense of normality helps so much. 

Its great to read your doing so well.



Hi Aileen, I really enjoyed reading this post and it's great that you're so positive. I'm day 93 or so post-SCT and similarly had many ups and downs, and just heard I'll be kept on the immune suppression a bit longer than I'd hoped. But there is a new life on the other side, and I hope I'm coming to the point of leaving the trauma of the transplant period behind and start looking forward to the future, as you have. Good luck and all the best! Martha

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