At the beginning of February, I was at my absolute happiest. With two beautiful girls of 12 and 22 I decided to bite the bullet and open my own hair salon. I had spent the last 7 years re-training and pushing myself to the limit in terms of work. I specialised in hair extensions and had finally found my knish.
In preparation for the salon I endured 6 months of physically and mentally hard work and this was all despite having a feeling that my health was not at its best.
My official opening day was 3rd February 2015, I received my diagnosis on 6th !!
A month or so before Christmas, I went to the doctors with a list of ailments as long as my arm. I felt embarrased and was almost laughing to myself as I told the doctor my symptoms: Tired, bloated, headaches nearly every day, restless legs and I couldn't eat more than 4 mouthfuls of food without feeling bloated. I had all of a sudden started to get really bad night sweats and began to think it was the menopause ...
The doctor told me it sounded like I was stressed and said I should rest and take it easy. Well that was not an option.
I got through Christmas and looking back, this was exactly what I did "got through" I wasn't myself, I was so tired and had caught the flu which lasted 4 weeks or so. At one point I literally could not get out of bed.
New Year came and I concentrated on opening my shop. I look back now and realise I must have been on autopilot. After Christmas I decided to stop drinking completely and put myself on a gluten free diet to try and work out why I was so bloated all the time. This had very little effect and my husband forced me to go back to the doctors. In fact we nearly fell out over the topic. I didn't want to go but he insisted and asked me every day whether I had made my appointment. I eventually gave in, thank goodness he was so persistent.
I was sent for a blood test right away and although I was expecting something to show up, the reaction of the hospital when they called me that very same evening was a total surprise.
They asked me to go to hospital right away. You can imagine my worry but for some strange reason I refused. I knew something was up and if i'm honest I wasn't quite ready to hear it.
In the morning, after very little sleep, I went to hospital and had my blood test retaken. I was seen within half an hour of my test. At the end of my appointment, I was told I had CML. As the words left the doctors mouth, I was watching the movement of his lips but found my head elsewhere, anywhere apart from this room, with these people and hearing the strangest words. I had no idea what CML was but there were three initial questions and in this order: Am I going to die, are my children at risk and will I loose my hair? I think this is a pretty standard reaction.
It has been 6 weeks since my diagnosis. At first I was entangled in the stream of medical appointments. It was like I was on a conveyabelt but strangely, while I was going to the hospital, I felt safe.
I have remained positive right from the beginning and this is mainly down to the doctors' enthusiasm and positivity. They have explained how far research has enabled medicine to come and that I should be able to live a fairly normal life. I soaked this positivity up like a sponge and although it is early days, I feel good about the future. I am responding well to the medication and am back at the gym. I have more energy now than I have had in well over a year. I absolutely, completely and utterly refuse to let this stop me doing the things I love and although a cliche, this has made me look at life differently.
Of course I get stressed and emotional at times but I make sure that it is short lived as it really is a waste of energy, energy that I need to stay strong, physically and mentally.
Breaking news is that I have signed up to Tough Mudder which is a 10 mile obstacle course. I am being joined by 10 of my friends to raise money for LLR and I will keep you updated on training and how it goes. Note, I have never ever run more than 3 miles before... May I ask that you all wish me luck because I really am going to need it!!!