Sue B
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New Life and New Start!

Sue B
Posted by
14 Dec 2014

In October 2010 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy and radiotherapy and breezed through it. I thought that was it; that my unfortunate meeting with cancer was over. I got my life back together and carried on. I did have one of those 'epiphany' moments as I remember....I had this 'well, I really need to get my life sorted' sort of feeling...and I went out and promptly got two tattoos and resumed my dancing, which I had done since I was about 20, but which had stopped because 'life' sort of took over, as it always does! Then I simply carried on with my life as before.

Unfortunately it wasn't as easy as that. In May 2012 I had been feeling very tired and for some strange reason very emotional. Every problem seemed to make me cry. But I wasn't unduly worried. I was in good health for my age (52) and was never at the doctors. I ate a healthy diet and took regular exercise. So I put it down to a phase...perhaps this was what happened at a 'certain age.' My body, however, had other ideas. After coming out in spots that looked suspiciously like chicken pox, and getting a shiner of a bruise around my eye, I went to the doctors. A routine blood test confirmed Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. My white blood cell count was off the chart. In the space of a few hours, which just gave me time to say a hasty goodbye to the kids and pack a few things, I was put in an ambulance and rushed with lights blazing and sirens going, to St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London. This was my home, on and off, for the next four months.

I had four cycles of intensive chemotherapy, each cycle bashing away at my immune system, until there were no cancer cells left. I lost my hair, although this never bothered me at all. The strange thing was that, although the consultant had told me I would have died within a week if I hadn't got to hospital when I did, I never once thought I wouldn't make it.

My treatment completed in August 2012 I was ready to start life again. I went back to work, my hair grew back (albeit curly!) and life seemed normal.Then in March 2013 the familiar tiredness set in and I was having trouble breathing. I thought this was because I had caught the flu virus over the winter months and assumed I would recover after a bit of rest. Not quite. A blood test revealed my Hb level was 4.8 and all my counts had gone down. A bone marrow test confirmed the worst. The leukaemia was back.

I spent a further five months in hospital having further chemotherapy and was told I would need a stem cell transplant. Not having any siblings, the doctors checked the donor register. Amazingly, there were two matches for me and both were 10/10 matches. My transplant was in July 2013. At the moment I count myself as a 'work in progress.' I am still recovering, but getting stronger every day. An amazing person has given me the chance to start again and I intend to cherish the journey. I have been one of the lucky ones.



Hi Sue, thank you so much for sharing your story with us here and also in our upcoming patient videos. It was so good to meet you recently. Your energy, enthusiasm and zest for life (and dancing!) is really inspiring :)


Thank you for sharing your experience Sue, my son is currently in remission from AML, diagnosed last October when he was 40, yesterday we had the brilliant news that all his levels were now within the normal range. Of course he worries it will come back, but they also tell him, we'll just get rid of it again, and fortunately for him if he ever needs a transplant his sister is a match. Hearing stories like yours fills me with hope, I wish you a continued recovery and a very happy christmas , your a true inspiration x


Thank you Lynn! I just try to treat every day as a bonus and live as much as I can in the present. It's not always easy, but I have found that there is no point worrying about the future because it's all too easy to make problems that don't even exist. I hope your son continues to get's a long journey, but he will get there. Have a lovely Christmas! x


Hi Sue,

I'd like to echo everything everyone's already said about your enthusiasm and determination to be positive despite every set back that's come your way. You really are an inspiration to so many as the comments on our recent Facebook post make clear!

It's wonderful to hear that you're now doing so well and are back dancing again. I wish you all the best in the future and think you're a wonderful example of how positivity can triumph in the face of adversity! Looking forward to seeing your patient video.