My name is Linda Hurst and on the 28th June 2010, pretty much out of a clear blue sky, I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML).
To say we were all devastated (and I was extremely frightened) is an understatement but from the very word go, my family and I had everything explained to us in words that we could understand and we were all treated with compassion and respect and this in turn inspired confidence.
The Haematology Unit (B4) at The University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff is an oasis in what is otherwise a hugely busy working hospital. B4 has a serenity to it; it is calming and at no stage was I ever fazed at all about having to go back in to continue my treatment after a 10 day, or so, stay at home simply because I knew I was amongst 'friends' and was going to be given the treatment I badly needed.
The Chemotherapy was pretty gruelling but I was given anti sickness relief as and when I needed it and also pain relief. The staff were so experienced and almost seemed to know your every need. The care I received was absolutely second to none and I will never ever forget the kindness and care given to me.
To be told that you have cancer is an horrendous experience. There is no easy way for a Doctor to tell you and there is no easy way for you to accept it. You just have to let it sink in and deal with it in the best way you can.
Initially, I was the strong one, comforting my husband who was dreadfully upset and then by the time I actually got onto the ward the situation had reversed and I was the one in a state of collapse and it was his turn to be strong for me.
This, in a nutshell, is how we coped with my illness. If I was having a 'blue' day, and it is perfectly natural for this to happen, my husband and family would be there to boost me up. In turn, if he was having a down day then I would try and boost him up!
I was told I was in remission at the beginning of September 2010 after 3 courses of Chemotherapy. This was certainly a red letter day and one I will never forget but getting there had its very tough moments, some of which were worse than others but with the care and expertise of the Doctor's and Nurses and with an extra large dose of positive thinking thrown in, I made it and am here today and am able to write this blog.
I have been part of a trial which has involved me having Bone Marrow tests every three months since my remission. These have naturally been unpleasant but they have given me peace of mind and more importantly, because I am part of a trial, I feel that it is one small way of me giving something back to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research (LLR) research.
I am now also involved in fundraising for LLR as not only do I want to put something back on a personal level but I feel very strongly about raising its profile. When I approached the fundraising team at UHW and they asked me if I had heard of LLR, I am totally ashamed to say that I did not know what the initials stood for! Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research - how ironical considering I had suffered from Leukaemia! This proved even more so to me that I needed to get involved and raise its profile. This year I’m involved with Small Change, BIG Impact...Beating Blood Cancers Together, to help raised the profile of LLR in Wales and around the UK. Come and Join me and make a BIG Impact. You’ll be able to say; “I have helped to beat blood cancer.”
Finally my ultimate Bone Marrow test will be next November and then I will be finally discharged. I am absolutely passionate about getting involved in fund raising as I am one of the 52% who has survived and so much more research needs to be ongoing before we can get that figure down.
Cancer is not always a death sentence but money needs to be raised so that research can be done to enable a cure to be found for this insidious disease.