Emma Suddes

Emma Suddes was only two years old when she developed difficulty breathing and a loss of appetite. Thankfully, her symptoms were spotted quickly, and Emma was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia. Now 17, she shares her story.

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.

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