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Patient Perspective: Pregnancy and leukaemia

written by

Leukaemia Care, Charity

  • Vickie

When I became pregnant with my second child, I did suffer. I thought, however, it was my pregnancy and did not have a clue what I was about to be told at 21 weeks of being pregnant. 

When I found out I was pregnant, I had mixed emotions, as I was ready to go back to work. However, I thought two children and then going back to work didn’t seem so bad. Well, that was the plan.

Throughout my pregnancy, it was difficult to go for a normal walk, such as to the shops. My son was three years old and it was hard running around after him, doing my housework, and being a wife. I also felt sick and never felt right, but I put it down to a bad pregnancy.

I hated being pregnant. I was always out of breath no matter what I did. It was a struggle and a constant battle to do my everyday things in life. I remember going food shopping, me and my husband and my son was with his grandparents. I was at the till and my items were being scanned by the cashier. I went all funny, light headed and feeling sick, and said to my husband, “I’m going to faint.”

The cashier then got me a chair at the till with a queue behind. It was a horrible experience. It was difficult to stand up, to walk and talk. I was thinking what a pain I must be, with people waiting to be served. At this time, I didn’t know what was wrong. However, when I had my injections at 21 weeks, I was called into the hospital. It was then that I was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML).

At this point, there wasn’t a great deal they could do for me as I was pregnant. They did leukapheresis (treatment to remove abnormal white blood cells) and as the weeks went by that become more difficult. I was getting much bigger and it was harder to move, to walk, and to breathe. I felt I was never ever going to get any better. They wanted me to start medication, but as I was pregnant, this could harm my child. I was living at the hospital more than I was at home. I found life very difficult and hard.

Eventually, I had my child by caesarean, as it would have been too hard for me to give birth naturally. (I had been there before, so I knew what to expect). 

Being pregnant was a horrible, tough experience with CML, but I would do it all over again for my daughter, who is now seven years old and perfectly healthy. However, I was sterilised, as I was told another pregnancy could be dangerous for me. It is upsetting not being able to have another child, but I am very lucky to have two amazing children. 

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