“On 1st April 2014, I got married whilst on a world cruise. I didn’t really feel ill at the time, but I kept noticing unexplained bruising, and found I was bruising really easily if I knocked myself.
We got back in mid-April and I felt tired and had little energy. It then started with a pain in my back, but I thought I had pulled a muscle. This went on for about a week, so I booked in to see my GP. She initially thought it could be pleurisy or maybe a blood clot, so I was given some antibiotics and painkillers.
A few days later, I woke up in the morning and struggled to get out of bed, so I phoned the emergency doctors and was told to go straight to A&E. However, I told them I couldn’t go because I was caring for my mum who has dementia. I also had no way of getting to the hospital, so he told me to phone an ambulance which I didn’t do because I didn’t realise how poorly I was. I got a taxi to the hospital, and they sent me for a chest x-ray. That’s when things started to move. I was diagnosed with severe pneumonia, but they were concerned about my bloods. So, they tested me for HIV and did a bone marrow test but didn’t tell me why. They put me into a single room because my immune system was so low.
A lovely consultant came in and told me he had my results. He asked if I wanted to call my husband Steve to come (he is a nurse in the hospital), but because I didn’t know what they were testing for, I said that it would be fine as I knew he had been on nights and wanted to be in bed.
They told me I had leukaemia. They weren’t sure what type, but they started me on treatment that day so we could make a plan a few days later. It was such a shock; I asked the nurse to phone Steve and the consultant waited with me until he got to hospital, where everything was explained to him.
The Monday morning came, and I was told it was acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL) and I started chemotherapy the day after. I was in hospital for two and a half months because I was ill with pneumonia. I was really poorly and the chemotherapy gave me bad mouth ulcers. For the first time in my life, I was told I had to eat and put some weight on!
Once home, I was still trying to care for my mum, whilst hiding how poorly I was because she was so ill, and I didn’t want her worrying. She had fantastic carers that helped me and I had amazing friends that got me through the dark days.
I had another stay in the hospital for round three of chemotherapy. I had six blood transfusions and four platelet transfusions. I finished chemotherapy on 30th September, and on the 21st of October, I got the amazing news I was in total remission. I have now been in remission for eight years!
Spot Leukaemia is very important. I thought leukaemia was a children’s illness, so I never for one minute thought it would be something I would get. That’s why it is incredibly important to raise more awareness.”
Lisa’s symptoms of leukaemia were:
Are you currently dealing with similar symptoms to Lisa’s? If so, contact your GP and ask for a blood test.
For more information on our Spot Leukaemia campaign, our goal and how to get involved, head over to our official Spot Leukaemia website at www.spotleukaemia.org.uk
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