My Cancer Diagnosis and The Plan – BLOG

In January I attended a medical to see of I was fit enough to donate stem cells. Just before Christmas I had come up as a match for someone the Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Register run by The Anthony Nolan Trust. After some basic blood samples by my GP, I embarked on a journey to Sheffield. This just happened to be when extreme snowfall was occuring there.

After arriving at The Royal Hallamshire Hospital, I had my basic observations taken before being interviewed by a specialist consultant to go over my medical history. So far so good. After that, I had a large number of blood samples taken followed by an Electro Cardiogram (ECG), which was also all good. I then set off on my drive home which turned into a 12 hour ordeal due to numerous diversions as a result of the snow in England.

Abnormal Results

A fortnight later, my phone rang and upon answering ot was a Consultant for Anthony Nolan. She advised me that several of my blood test results had come back abnormal.

Firstly, I was extremely iron deficient and more worryingly, my Haematocrit was high. This is a measure if the volume of Red Blood Cells in your blood. I’m in a unique situation of knowing this isn’t ideal, as my father has the same issue. Read on.

My GP was contacted and the same day she was taking several more vials of blood to check my organs and to confirm that the Anthony Nolan results weren’t a one off.

A week later, I would receive from my GP that changed my life forever: I have a rare form of Blood Cancer that will be with me for the rest of my days. It’s NOT terminal, but careful management will be required.

I have a condition called Polycythemia Vera. It is not “usually” genetic, but in my case it might be as my father also has it.

As well as being diagnosed with Polycythemia, I also have Iron Deficiency Anemia and Very low Follate Levels. I have been started on iron & follic acid supplements by my GP.

Treatment

While Polycythemia is not terminal, it will be with me for the rest of my life. As my blood is much thicker than it should be, I am a much greater risk of Stroke, Heart Attack and Thrombosis. I am yet to see the Haemotology Department at my local hospital, but it’s near certain I’ll end on on some form of blood thinners to low my risk of clots.

Once the iron begins to kick in, this has the effect of raising my already high haemoglobin, (red blood cells), something that isn’t ideal. The first type of treatment for this is having 1 or 2 pints if blood taken over a month to lower my red cell count.

I have been feeling extremely tired for the past several months, but had put ot down to lockdown and being busy with my kids. It turns out I was wrong.

My Plan

For now, I’ll be taking things easy as my body adjusts to medications and treatments are decided and begun. J will still be reporting on Important issues, but it os more likely to be via social media, especially my Twitter, instead if on here.

However, this os not to say I won’t be writing in here, it’s just much less likely.

Meanwhile, Charlotte Hughes will continue to publish new stories on here, and I ask you all support her as much as you have me. You should definitely check out some of her articles.

As I really value this website and what we’ve built, I want to fundraise so I can take on some new writers and pay them a decent wage. There are so many writers who deserve a chance and I want to turn my diagnosis into a positive.

If you’d like to support me in this plan, please consider donating via the PayPal button further down. It really means a lot how much support you have given so far.

This is not a goodbye, nor is it the end. If anything it’s the beginning of a new journey on which I hope you’ll join me on.

Be safe, be kind and most importantly; love yourself. It may be difficult right now, but things will get better. We have good times again.

Alex xxx

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