Some people have told me that I’m one in a million, but I’ve recently discovered this isn’t true, I’m actually 1-2 in 100,000. It turns out that after a few worrying months of me thinking I was turning into some kind of lazy and dizzy brained mother, that I have Leukemia.
There were lots of signs—extreme tiredness, headaches, mysterious bruises, changes in eyesight, shallow breathing while exerting myself etc, all of which I put down to the ‘joys’ of motherhood and lack of exercise. But eventually I decided to see my Doc and went back one week later to collect my blood work results. The Doctor sat me down, apologised for giving me such awful news on a Friday afternoon, told me that he’d do something for me on Monday morning which would probably involve bone marrow biopsy and CT Scans. I knew it was serious when he gave me his home phone number and told me to call any time. And he’s not even a private doctor! By the time I’d staggered home in a daze the phone was ringing and it was my Doctor who’d spoken to a haematologist who said that I should go to Accident and Emergency straight away. My blood was completely messed up, I was producing too many white blood cells which was affecting my red blood cells and platelets, so that I didn’t have enough and I was at huge risk of a heart attack.
I was started on chemo medicine straight away which began killing off the white blood cells, but that meant that my kidneys were overloaded so I had to take kidney medicine too.
So far I’m one of the lucky ones who experience very few side effects—my spleen has shrunk back to normal, it was four times the size it should be as it tried to cope with the overload (I’d thought I had trapped wind for about a month!)
The only thing that’s a real problem for me is the tiredness. I’m so irritated that the reason I went to the Doctor was because I was tired and I get prescribed medication with a tiredness side effect!
So, I've been diagnosed with CML - Chronic Mylogenous Leukemia. I'm now on very expensive medicine called Gleevec, (hooray for health insurance!) but it's not going to cure me, it's just going to control it. I am going to have to take this medicine and put up with all the side effects (I just hope I don't get them ALL!) for the rest of my life! Though of course, the one question I have is, how long is the rest of my life?