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A lot has happened in the month since I last blogged. Holidays, hospital, leukaemia results, oh and Cheryl Cole’s got a new man! Where to begin...
I had a fantastic holiday in Lanzarote. I was apprehensive about going so far away from hospital, friends and family but I needn’t have been. I honestly haven’t felt as good in the two years since learning I had leukaemia, as I did when I was away.
Yes, the weather helped, although my medication reacted badly with the sun and I looked more like a bar of coconut ice than managing to achieve the deep dark tan I was going for (not a great look when your boyfriend blinks at the sun, goes brown and keeps getting asked if he’s Spanish – well jel).
It was more the fact that away from Scotland, I seemed to be away from all the worries of home and the reality of living with cancer. I cannot thank my boyfriend enough for taking care of me and driving me round the island to see artist Cesar Manrique’s stunning house and giving in to my ridiculous demands to ride a camel. FYI, they do smell and are every bit as obnoxious as you would imagine.
We had the best time and the first chance to properly relax since our world turned upside down in September 2009.
Fast forward to September 2011 and we returned from holiday and settled back into our daily routine – well for a week at least.
As I headed to work one day, I started to feel pains in my chest and was having palpitations.
Thinking that it was just one of my many funny turns, I headed into the office but almost collapsed in front of my colleague and dear friend Julia. I was struggling for breath and knew something was up.
I won’t bore you with the full story but later that day I was admitted to Glasgow Royal Infirmary as my heart was racing. They feared that I had a blood clot in my lung. I was terrified.
Being stuck in a hospital, hooked up to monitors which show your heart racing every time you so much as raise your hand, is pretty frightening.
I would be lying if I didn’t say that that first night in the Royal, the worst was going through my mind.
The next day I was transferred to the cardiology ward, in amongst women who had had heart attacks and serious heart problems. I was still thinking that this couldn’t be happening. Had my body just given up?
After lung scans and numerous heart tracings etc, three days later I was allowed home, with the problem being diagnosed as a viral infection. It was such a relief. What was equally joyous was that I would actually be able to eat something.
Now I am not a fussy eater – far from it – but the food in the Royal was like nothing I have ever seen. To make matters worse, chef James Martin was on the TV each morning during my stay talking about the state of hospital meals. Well, you’re not wrong James.
I had the joy of tasting one of the frozen omelettes he spoke about, served with a side order of ironically named ‘potato diamonds’, but I didn’t see any jewels on my plate. Just congealed, blackened potato with what I think was the omelette – either that or the cleaner had dropped her yellow shammy on my dinner.
Dear Mr Cameron (and James Martin if you so happen to be reading this whilst rustling up a buttery delight), please do something to sort this out. People will take much longer to get better if they aren’t given nutritious meals to help them build up strength. It can’t be that difficult can it?
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The week after getting out of hospital, I was told to rest at home, so I did just that.
I attended the Beatson as I have now reached the end of my one year CHOICES Trial, where I have been trialling a new drug to help kill the leukaemia stem cells.
Has it worked? Only time will tell, but for now my results are steady and I am keeping leukaemia at bay.
Each time I go to the hospital, as I am sure anyone waiting on results will tell you, I feel that my life is once again in the hands of the doctors. Will it be good news or bad news this time? It feels a little like a lottery but thankfully I am rolling over for now. I haven’t quite hit the “I’m cured” jackpot but hopefully at some point that will happen and when (and if) it does, I know that will be much better than ever winning the Euro Millions – although that would be nice too!
My 2 year cancer-versary, as my friend Kirstin dubbed it, came with mixed emotions. Joy that I am still here, mixed with fear about what the future holds, as no-one quite knows how well the leukaemia will continue to respond to the drugs and for how long. That’s why every day is so important.
I have been following the story of three year old Ryan who has Acute Myeloid Leukaemia – the next stage up from my cancer.
If you haven’t heard about Ryan, you can find out more here and watch the video in the player above, but this gorgeous little boy urgently needs a bone marrow donor and you could help.
Lanarkshire Strathclyde Fire and Rescue are holding a recruitment drive to get people to join the Anthony Nolan register and potentially help Ryan and others like him.
Potential donors must be between the age of 18 and 40 and in good health. The clinic will take place at the East Kilbride Holiday Inn on Sunday, October 9 between 10am and 4pm. It’s quick and painless to register and you could save a life. I know all too well how important this is.
As I venture into my third year living with the disease, I have plenty to keep me focused and to look forward too.
On Friday I am going to interview Jessie J (a hero of mine), Olly Murs and Matt Cardle (it’s a hard life) and Dappy (No Reeeeegrets) at Clyde 1 Live.
Then the following Wednesday, it’s the MOBOs, where I will be chatting to the stars on the red carpet.
I have returned to the madness of all things X Factor at work (Team Jade Richards) and have had the joy of reporting on Cheryl Cole and the hunky soldier she has promised to keep in touch with from Camp Bastion – ever the romantic, I love that story.
Life is pretty much back to normal and cancer, well it can remain on the back burner for now. I have far more important things to be getting on with than to let those rogue cells get the better of me. Onwards and upwards. x
Remember you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org or follow my ramblings on Twitter @STVLaura