Abigail H
Posted by

There is life after blood cancer!

Abigail H
Posted by
24 Jun 2014

I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in May 2000 when I was 18. If there was a worst time to get cancer it was definetly for me then. I had just finished my G.N.V.Q in Art and Design at college and was starting my BTEC National Diploma in it too, I loved life and was having fun. I realised there was a problem when I started to feel constantly tired, yes I was working hard and liked to go out at the weekends but this wasn't the usual partied too hard tiredness, I literally could fall asleep in a instant. Then my gums started bleeding everyday and i was getting nose bleeds, then one day I noticed a strange rash on my legs I panicked and showed my mum who immediately rushed me to the doctors as she thought it was meningitis. When I got there the doctor said it wasn't meningitis but that she was concerned what it was so she took a full blood count and told me to ring back in a few days for the results. I don't know how I knew but I just knew that it was Leukemia. The following day my parents took me out for the day to Chester and even then my parents said that all I did was sleep all the way there and all the way back. When we got back home I went to bed to have a sleep but was woken up by the telephone ringing, It was the doctors and they said that they had been trying to ring all day that my blood result wasn't good and that the heamotologist at the hospital wanted to see me first thing the following day and to bring overnight clothes as I needed blood transfusions and may have to stay overnight.

 When I arrived at the hospital the following day I had my bloods done again and the Heamotologist told me that my blood count was worse than the previous one and that I needed a bone marrow test done straight away. I remember saying to him " I've got Leukemia haven't I?" and he said " until we have done the test we won't know for sure but yes that is one possibility".

I had the test and i'm not going to tell lies and say it wasn't painful as it was but my doctor was amazing and the nurse held my hand all the way through. Then I was told I needed a blood transfusion so I went down to a chemo unit. The first bag I had made me feel better than I had in a while I was told that this was because all of my own blood was near enough just water going through me. A lovely nurse came down to get me and said I would be stopping in overnight as I needed more blood and had to wait for my results of my bone marrow test. I was took into a isolation room and never came out for 7 months.

When I was officially told it was Leukemia I was told that I would need Chemo and that I would need to have a Hickman line fitted into my chest to administer the chemo and other drugs through. I was asked if I would be willing to take part in a clinical trial chemo and i said yes i would cause if it means it helps other people too it will be worth it. I was took down for my operation to insert the line and when I came round I was back in my room and was told my line had been put in successfully and I would be starting my first chemo. One thing about Chemo is that while it fights the cancer it also attacks your immune system, you lose your hair- I decided to have all mine shaved off early as it started coming out in clumps and you are more succeptable to infections and unfortunately it does make you sick. I did become very ill through my treatment I lost a lot of blood having the line inserted, I got septicemia, my body swelled up and I had fluid on my lungs but despite all that I am still here to write this, and this is the part I want anyone fighting this or any other cancer in fact to take notice of. Yes I have been left with reflux which I just take a tablet a day for and do have a scar when the line was but what are they compared to being cancer free and thanks to amazing scientists, researchers ,organizations, doctors and nurses blood cancer can be treated, can be cured and you can have a life after this disease.

I am now 32 and live with my boyfriend who I have been with for 3 years who is amazing and want to start my own family with. I have amazing parents. I still have my love for Art and Design and make cushions and other fabric crafts which I sell on my online shop.

So for anyone going through this at the moment, good luck, there is hope and there is life after blood cancer.





Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with AML. Brings back a lot of memories of my own experiences with blood cancer although it seems like you had a lot more complications than I did! Wonderful to hear you're out the other side and enjoying life again. Good luck with your online shop and thanks again for all your support of the charity.