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Paula Fitzjohn

written by

Leukaemia Care, Charity

  • Paula Fitzjohn

I was recovering from a second cancerous tumour when I was diagnosed with leukaemia. At first, I didn’t think that anyone could be unlucky enough to hear the news three times that they have cancer, but I was.  However, I am incredibly lucky to be beating it: each day, week, month and year of my life.

I was first diagnosed with cervical cancer and it was just before my two-year check-up that I was told that I had another cancerous tumour.  The treatment was intense and two years later that I discovered that the radiotherapy had caused damaged to my hip bones, meaning I needed a double hip replacement. It was whilst I was preparing to have the second hip replaced that I was diagnosed with leukaemia. 

I have been living with leukaemia for eight years now. The type of leukaemia I have is chronic myeloid leukaemia, the incurable type. However, the good news is that it can be controlled with medication and as long as my body copes with it, then I will stay on it. Currently, I am doing extremely well and feel good.

Having always been active, I wasn’t going to let leukaemia prevent me doing what I enjoy.  I continue to go on long distance walking holidays and have completed The West Highland Way, Hadrian’s Wall and a section of the South West Coastal Path.  I enjoy regular diving holidays and have completed my Advanced Open Water Diver certificate.  I also achieved a degree in law and last year took a leap of faith by changing my career from the travel sector to law.  I did all of this whilst living with leukaemia. 

I took up cycling last year and really enjoy getting out and about in the countryside. I took part in the first ‘Ride The Night’ in 2014; a 100km bike ride around London in the dark for ovarian, breast and cervical cancer. I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in it and knew that I had more to give.

This year, I am taking park in the Prudential RideLondon, which is a 100-mile bike ride from Surrey to London. I am thrilled to be able to take part in this event and to raise money for Leukaemia CARE, a charity very close to my heart. I will ride with pride and if I become tired and find it a struggle, I will think of all the people affected by the disease and it will spur me on to the finish line. 

I don’t know if I have always been a positive person, but I certainly am now.  Living with leukaemia makes me feel more positive about life and loved ones.  My aim is to live life to the full, to stand up to cancer and to support others affected by this disease.  I am achieving my goals.