At the age of two, following several minor infections, my parents have told me that I was struggling to breathe properly and not eating. I was on holiday at the time and my parents took me to a local GP, who sent me to the hospital immediately. I was given a blood test and my parents were told the same day that I had acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).
Following diagnosis at Truro Hospital, I was airlifted back to Gatwick and transferred to the Royal Marsden. I was subsequently transferred to Great Ormond Street, where I received all my treatment. I was very ill when first diagnosed and spent the first week in intensive care. I then received four sessions of chemo, each lasting between three and six weeks. I was allowed home for one week between each chemo session.
I finished my chemo about six months later. However, after a further three months, I relapsed and had to go back to hospital for further rounds of chemo and a bone marrow transplant. Over the period, I had a number of infections, a couple of which were very nasty. Luckily, my bone marrow transplant went smoothly, and I finished my treatment about 13 months after my initial diagnosis. Over this period, I spent about 40 weeks in hospital as an in-patient, with one of my parents being able to stay with me.
I am in remission and have been since my bone marrow transplant back in 2004. However, following treatment, I have suffered with chronic sclerodermatous graft versus host disease (GVHD). This has left me with a limited range of movement in all my joints and I often require help to perform everyday tasks.
I believe it is so important to spot the symptoms early, so you can get it diagnosed quickly and be free from it as soon as possible before it gets uncontrollable.