Gemma J
Posted by

My diagnosis

Gemma J
Posted by
15 Apr 2014

Where do I start? I moved to Cardiff to live with my husband and four year old son in February 2013. Between February and September I had three bouts of illness. One gave my GP enough concern to refer me to the Haematology Department because I was neutropenic.

I found a small ulcer in my mouth and I was referred to the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Department. By the beginning of October my C-reactive protein (CRP) blood results were so high that I was seen by a specialist, but I was sent on my way with antibiotics.

On Monday 14th October I went to my GP for a sick note for the two weeks I had had off with my mouth problem and she decided to do another blood test to see what my CRP was doing. We drove to Portsmouth that afternoon as we were due to go to Florida on a big family holiday.

The next day I got a phone call from my GP saying that my CRP was coming down and I was told to have a nice holiday. I also felt like my ulcer was healing and there was no mention of my neutropenia, so I assumed that everything was ok.

That evening I got a call at 6pm from a haematologist - not something that doctors usually do! He said that they had been looking at my blood test results because of my neutropenia and they had found something serious.

I was asked to come into the Heath Hospital in Cardiff that night. After explaining that I was due to fly to Florida in 12 hours, he advised me not to go on medical grounds.

I told him I was a nurse and that if it warranted me not to fly and it was that serious I wanted to know straight away. He went on to tell me that they thought I may have acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

What a shock! I took my mum upstairs and told her, then my hubby and then my dad. I rang the doctor back and the decision was made that I wouldn’t go to Florida. Mum and Dad didn't go either.

I returned to Cardiff on Tuesday evening, attended a 10.30 appointment the next day and had a bone marrow test. I got the results two hours later and was admitted that night.

I had a Hickman line put in on the Thursday and started chemo on the Friday. My feet never touched the ground. My ulcer returned with a vengeance during my chemo so I couldn't eat. I had a morphine syringe and I was in hospital for a month. Bearing in mind that I have a four year old boy to look after, my mum moved in with us.

I’ve had two lots of chemo and I'm now in remission. I’m waiting on the third round of chemo and I’m doing OK. I've got a skydive planned for the summer and I've already raised £190 for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research!



Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with blood cancer, Gemma. It's great to hear that you are now in remission and I hope that you remain so for many years to come! Good luck with your recovery and all the best ahead of that sky dive - you're a braver person than me! 


What a journey you have been on... I your sister is very proud of you! X

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