Tuesday, 4 August 2015

It's going to be okay.

It has been around ten months since I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) and I couldn’t tell you why it is only now that I feel compelled to share something of my experiences with the world. My audience may be small, but I have very vivid memories of those first few weeks after diagnosis; I scoured the web, desperately trying to find any information I could. The most useful were charity websites such as Macmillan and Cancer Research, they gave practical advice on What To Expect but I found them impersonal, and the sparsely used forums were mainly unanswered questions for unanswerable problems. I also read scientific journal articles, but these were far beyond my academic capabilities despite having recently completed a university module in how to write a literature review. There were lots of blogs about breast cancer, but I wasn’t part of that gang. Skin and bowel cancers seemed to have it covered too - but leukaemia didn’t seem to figure in the the equation. I had cancer, blood cancer, but it was notably different from all these others. The only leukaemia blogs I found were American parents documenting the ‘journey’ of their young children. Where were all the adults? 2600 people are diagnosed with AML every year in the UK and most of these are over the age of 65. I wanted to read something personal, something from someone who was out the other side, who could tell me what it was going to feel like. So I suppose I have answered my own question. I can tell you why I have suddenly felt compelled to write, because I know that there are terrified young men and women in hospitals all over the UK right now, desperately trying to find me. And I know that this is just the beginning, but I promise it’s all going to be okay.

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