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What to write first?

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20 Feb 2017

My first blog, Cml diagnosis and a crazy 10 months!

I don't even know if anyone will read this but here goes!! 

Hi I'm Heather. In April last year, I was suddenly diagnosed with CML at 30 years old. A shock to the system to say the least! All I did was go to my annual opticians appointment  (I'm a full time wearer of contact lenses) and get a standard eye test. 

My optician noticed some tiny burst blood vessels behind my eye, we have diabetes in the family and she wanted to rule that out. I was pretty certain that I wasn't diabetic but  took the advice and got the blood test done, never ever suspecting that they would find anything sinister! I am forever thankful to my amazing optician for being on the ball because who knows what would have happened if it had not been discovered..

I took the morning off work to get those initial blood tests done and then in the  following days completely forgot about them whilst I was having a long weekend in Scotland . When I returned, my GP called me to say could I pop in to see him. I still had in my head that the worst scenario would be diabetes, after all I felt fine in general , was working full time,  sometimes I got tired but put that down to the 42 hour week. 

So he sat me down and told me in the nicest possible way that I had Leukaemia, my white cell count was 15 times higher than normal and that I was booked in with a specialist consultant the following day. Nothing sank in at first, but I told my family straight away and friends over the weeks that followed. I told work straight away and kept them in the loop about what was happening. I had 6 weeks off on sick leave in total whilst I was back and too having blood tests, bone marrow biopsies and had leukapheresis to reduce my white cell count. 

I started on Imatinib about 2 weeks after diagnosis. The side effects were not great- aching bones, cramps and feeling sick. I still get all three of these from time to time, the cramps are fairly common but I just grin and bear it ( tonic water helps!). 10 months in and I pray that I keep responding to my TKI and I'm proud to say my mum has been to EVERY appointment with me. We try and have a good laugh whilst waiting in the clinic- people watching and watching the comings and goings, makes me feel at ease. I am so thankful for my family, partner, friends and the masses of support they have shown me and continue to do so. 

Thanks for reading my about diagnosis, it has been dramatic. One minute you have your eyes tested, next minute you have a firm diagnosis of Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia! My advise to people is to get your eye sight checked out regularly. Not only are they the windows to your soul but they tell you a lot about your body and if something is not quite right. 

Take it easy. H 




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