Emma was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in July 2021. She noticed that she had suddenly become tired and lethargic but as it was nearing the end of term didn’t think too much of it. However, after collapsing and being taken to hospital, a blood test diagnosed her with AML inversion 16 and myeloid sarcomas on her pancreas, uterus and liver. Within days she was started on an initial course of chemotherapy and was told that she would need a stem cell transplant.
"I was diagnosed with AML in July 2021, literally out of nowhere having become tired and lethargic. As an English teacher and mother to a 13 and 11 year old I always get tired at the end of term and am due for a rest, and presumed that was the reason for my fatigue. A quick blood test diagnosed me with AML Inversion 16 but also with Myeloid Sarcomas on my pancreas, uterus and liver. This was a very unusual presentation according to my consultant and as a result I had to start induction FLAG-ida chemotherapy within days and my journey would involve a stem cell transplant.
At first I struggled to process the magnitude of the situation, I didn’t know what AML really was and the thought of starting chemotherapy immediately terrified me. The thought of being away from me family was heart-breaking as I had to stay in for six weeks for the first round of treatment. Now, with the support of my family and the excellent NHS staff I understand what my journey entails. I feel there is hope for me and others in my situation due to the fantastic collaboration between charities and specialists treating blood cancers and the advancement of specific treatment options.
I have now undergone a second round of FLAG-ida consolidation chemotherapy and the treatment has removed the sarcomas and got the AML into remission. I have just had a maintenance round of chemotherapy to keep me in that position before my stem cell transplant, planned for late November 2021.
Since diagnosis it has been a horrendous journey for my family, and although the transplant will be a challenge, there is hope that it will cure me of the disease and allow me to live a normal life, cancer free."
Emma's symptoms of leukaemia were: • Fatigue Are you currently dealing with similar symptoms to Derek’s? If so, contact your GP and ask for a blood test.
Early diagnosis saves lives.