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Elaine Young

written by

Leukaemia Care, Charity

  • Elaine Young

Elaine had not been feeling well for some time. She was experiencing headaches, vomiting, bone pains, extreme tiredness and shortness of breathe. She was told originally by the doctor that it was a virus and was issued antibiotics to clear it up. After her course of antibiotics had finished and no noticeable change in her health, she went back to the doctors where they took a blood test. From the results came a phone call asking if she could see her GP to discuss further.

Initially Elaine was told it looked like leukaemia, however they could not confirm until further tests were done. She was asked to go to hospital immediately to begin the tests, however as it was her daughter, Rachel's birthday, she decided to go back the following day.

The tests began that morning including a bone marrow biopsy and a bone marrow aspirate. At 1.30pm Elaine was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) with Philadelphia positive and was told that chemotherapy would need to commence within a couple of days with her only chafter ance of survival being a bone marrow transplant.

Her partner took seven months off work to look after the children giving her one less thing to worry about. Elaine had three sessions of chemotherapy along with steroids and was struck with illness to the point of being kept in a solitary room to avoid risk of infection.

Elaine experienced a loss in taste buds making it harder and harder to eat and drink. She returned to hospital for more chemotherapy. During a routine blood transfusion she began to shake uncontrollably, nurses immediately stopped as they tried to find out what was wrong. Pneumonia was now the problem she faced and a course of medication was set to stabilise her temperature.

Following her recovery, Elaine was able to go back home for three weeks before her transplant took place at Glasgow Royal Hospital. Intense radiotherapy and more chemotherapy were the final stages as on 13th September 2004 she was officially discharged and able to start rebuilding the missing pieces in her life.

It was a couple of years on from discharge that Elaine decided to join Leukaemia CARE as a support volunteer. Through her journey she learnt the power of having someone there to listen to her fears, to talk to.

If I can help just one person cope with this disease and make them see that there can be a happy ending, then I will be happy!