I was diagnosed with AML (Acute Myleoid Leukaemia) in 2010 at the age of 25. This was a complete and utter shock to me. I didn’t even know anyone who’d ever had cancer. I’d never been ill before. I’d never even broken a bone.
The weeks before my diagnosis were tough. I had signed up to run the half marathon but my energy had just evaporated. I went away during August bank holiday to stay with a friend who lived in Cornwall and I’m ashamed to say that I spent most of the time in bed, exhausted.
On the occasion that I managed to get out, we went for a walk in Tintagel. I’d been there as a child and loved it there growing up. I walked happily down the steep path towards the beach, but then I couldn’t physically get back up. My chest was tightening and I couldn’t breathe. I remember feeling embarrassed, I don’t like to make a fuss. Something wasn’t right.
On the long drive home to Nottingham, my head gasket blew. I was stuck on the motorway waiting for the AA and I could barely stand with exhaustion.
It was a downhill spiral from there really. With no car, I was getting the bus to work. I was walking to the bus stop two streets away. Along the way I would have to stop several times to catch my breath. I could gladly have just lay down on the concrete and gone back to sleep.
I am very stubborn so I just tried to carry on as I was before. I didn’t have the energy or the inclination to think of an alternative plan.
Arriving home from work I’d be too exhausted to get myself anything to eat, I’d just crawl into bed. Then one morning, I went to the toilet and the bowl filled with bright red blood. That scared me. There were massive bruises all over my legs too, yet I had no recollection of hurting myself. I made an appointment with the GP.
I managed to get a friend to drop me off at the surgery as I could barely stand at this point. I could hear a constant pounding in my head and I was finally ready to accept help…