My name is Drew and in June of 2018 I was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML).
The series of events that lead to me being diagnosed with CML included the fact I was experiencing blurred vision. I used to work night shifts, I’m a mental health nurse by profession, and during these night shifts I noticed something strange when writing my reports. The letters were appearing like grains of sand and they were falling off the screen.
This also then extended to when I was driving and that was when I really became concerned about it.
I went along to the opticians, and they did a series of tests and at that point, they expressed concern about retinal bleeding. I do also suffer with high blood pressure as well so initially I thought these symptoms were something to do with my heart.
I was referred urgently to my GP so that I could get an urgent referral to the eye hospital and the have an MRI scan done.
I went to the hospital and as soon as the doctor had a look at the scans of my eyes, he expressed real concern. He found what were called “roth spots” on my eyes which can be indicative of a more serious cardiac problem. At the time, that was what he thought it was.
This appointment was on the Saturday and he requested that I came in very urgently, the Monday following, to have blood tests done. It showed how urgent he thought it was.
I went to hospital and received the results back the following week. He confirmed that they had serious enough concerns to give me an urgent referral to the haematology department.
At first they said they were focused on this one particular cardiovascular concern and they said that they wanted to refer me to haematology to rule out the possibility of cancer.
I went along to the haematology appointment, and the first thing that struck me was all the MacMillan posters. I thought, “This was supposed to rule out cancer, it wasn’t supposed to, you know…”
I didn’t know what to think at the time, so I went to my appointment and saw the consultant. At that point, it was confirmed. “You have chronic myeloid leukaemia”.