Mark O
Posted by

My Journey

Mark O
Posted by
23 Mar 2015

My story so far!

I was diagnosed with CML on 9th February 2015 - it was a complete shock to myself and my wife.

I have just turned 50 (8th Dec) and had a health check in November - all come back good. But I was not feeling right - sleeping all the time, out of breath, night sweats etc. I was on holiday in January 2015 in Cornwall, and my filling fell out of my tooth. A friend gave me codine pain killers, but I had to leave the holiday early to get to my dentist. The tooth was filled and the pain went but I wasn't feeling right and went to the GP because my stomach was swollen on 4th February.  They sent me for blood tests and stated I was constipated - blood was taken on 5th February and I got a call on 6th February from the GP stating blood was fine.

The GP called again 2 hours later and said get myself straight to A&E as my white blood count was "off the grid". My wife came home from work and we went straight to A&E. There we saw 3 doctors. The first one requested X-rays and blood again. When we were waiting in reception, the doctor came out and said that he was leaving, but had looked at the X-ray and said that if my blood count was 190 I would have been dead! He suggested it was probably a typing error.

We thought great - we can go home soon! NO! the second doctor said he wanted to take more blood and the first test was lost. He wanted an ultrasound too but that department was now closed. He said that the swelling was in the spleen and it was very enlarged. We waited again for the blood results which revealed that white blood cell count was now 200 and my spleen was extremely enlarged. 

We finally saw the oncology doctor on 9th February and that was when I was diagnosed with CML. We couldnt believe what he was saying. My wife asked him if what would have happened if my tooth hadn't fallen out and there had been no swelling. The answer he gave was shocking as he said I would have been dead within 4 weeks!!!

We are with BUPA and they have been amazing. It's an emotional rollercoaster at the moment with trips to the hospital and regular blood tests and I am on chemo - 2 tablets in morning and 2 in the evening. However my white blood cells are now to the right amount now - everyday I am glad I am alive.

I own two salons, beauty and hair - and we are doing a fund raising day on our 1st year anniversary at Lush-By-Design.  My wife is also running the 10k race for BUPA on 25th May and we have already raised over £5,000

I am extremely positive and I will kick this!!



Mark thank you so much for getting in touch and being brave enough to share your experiences. Your diagnosis sounds incredibly dramatic and must have been a huge shock but it sounds like you've responded extremely well to the initial chemotherapy and it's great to hear that your blood count is back under control. What treatment are you on?

I think it's absolutely fantastic that your wife is running the 10k for BUPA and wish her all the luck in the world with her training - when's the actual race?

Do stay in touch and remember that you're not alone. We're here to help in any way can and where we can't help you directly will be able to put you in touch with someone that can. 

Thanks again for taking the time to join our online patient community and share your experiences.


Hi - well had good news today!!! - my consultant is extremely happy with my blood counts since starting chemo - AND the words used today - I AM NEARLY IN REMISSION!!!!

I am on Nilotinib (Tasigna) - by consultant is over the moon with the results and amazed how my body is reacting :-)  Going to fortnightly blood tests then onto 3 monthly blood.

My wife is running the 10K on 25th May - we know it is still a long road, but we are on the right side!!!


Mark this is absolutely fantastic news! So glad to hear that you're responding so well to the Nilotinib. Long may that continue to be the case! Stay in touch and remember that we're here to help in any way that we can - you'll have to write another blog to update everyone :)