Symptoms of blood cancer: UK woman diagnosed with myeloma shares warning signs

A blood most cancers client who had holes in her backbone was to begin with misdiagnosed because of to ‘being a fast paced mum’.

Mum-of-a few Donna Hicks, 49, went to her GP complaining of regular fatigue and back soreness when her youngest youngster was a single.

She was inevitably diagnosed with myeloma – an incurable type of blood cancer – aged 41, in September 2014.

Donna, from Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, had two sons aged 9 and 7 as nicely as her toddler daughter, and experienced just dropped her mum when she was diagnosed.

She had to give up her job as a social get the job done manager, a conclusion she found devastating.

Donna mentioned: “I experienced this chronic tiredness that I could not shake.

“It would not lift and I had truly lousy back soreness that had consistently been place down to getting infants.

“I inevitably went to the GP because it was finding me down and the exhaustion was definitely impacting my lifestyle.

“The GP was quite dismissive. He looked at his enjoy a few of periods and finally stated, ‘You’re above 40, you perform full-time, you have acquired a few kids which include a toddler and you are questioning why you are exhausted?’, and generally despatched me packing.

“I sat in the car or truck in the vehicle park crying for ages simply because I knew something was not correct.

“I did not really feel like myself and it was finding worse. It was awful.”

(Donna Hicks / SWNS)

Myeloma is the 3rd most popular type of blood most cancers – influencing all-around 2,000 Scots – but a lot more than 50 percent of patients wait around over five months for a diagnosis and all-around a third of scenarios are only picked up at a late phase in A&E.

Popular signs and symptoms like back pain, simply broken bones, fatigue and recurring infections are frequently mistaken for ageing or other slight situations.

Though incurable, most myeloma sufferers can reply to remedy to lengthen their life if the condition is picked up in time.

Donna saw yet another GP who suspected something was very seriously improper and ordered a blood test.

The myeloma analysis arrived a fortnight after Donna’s mum found she experienced lung cancer, and died 10 weeks later on.

Donna claimed: “I was caught in this condition of having a actually youthful household and getting missing my mum.

“I just felt seriously desperate. It was really challenging to see outside of that place of darkness to start off with simply because I was so frightened.

“I just felt that existence as I realized it experienced stopped. My job was definitely significant to me. It was a lot additional than a just a task to me. It’s the loss of identity.”

I just felt that existence as I realized it experienced stopped

Donna was referred by her marketing consultant at the Vale of Leven hospital for what was at first predicted to be a “one-off appointment” with Dr Richard Soutar, an specialist in myeloma based at the Beatson in Glasgow.

She has remained underneath his treatment at any time given that.

She mentioned: “I don’t forget that very first night soon after observing Dr Soutar, saying to my husband, ‘I’m completely heading to be in this article in 10 years’.”

Donna underwent radiotherapy to mend the fractures in her spine, adopted by chemotherapy and two daily life-preserving stem cell transplants in 2020 and 2021.

She is now in what is recognised as a “good partial remission” from the illness, and has practically nothing but praise for her procedure at the Beatson.

She explained: “I have a large amount of respect for Dr Soutar. He’s extremely upfront and he’s also really caring.

“It’s so lovely to sense like you have acquired a romance like that with your medical professional.

“I feel very fortuitous that at the Beatson there is a crew that is aware every little thing there is to know about myeloma.

“I know that there are plenty of patients with myeloma who do not at any time seriously see any one who is a specialist in that spot.

“The truth is that some folks are not fortunate with myeloma and it’s pretty unpredictable and irrespective of ideal endeavours and the finest mentality you have all around it, it could continue to never be ample, but I’m still in this article 8 decades later on.

“Life is by no means likely to be the exact same once more, there is no doubt about that. The way I see it is there’s a volcano within me.

“At the instant it is dormant but at some stage in the upcoming it is probably going to erupt once more.

“But when it’s dormant I’m going to get on with matters and do as considerably as I potentially can.”

Donna is sharing her personal working experience as charity Myeloma Uk prepares to the current the Beatson team with its Clinical Service Excellence Programme (CSEP) Award for a next time tomorrow.

The accolade recognises hospitals that go higher than and beyond to deliver compassionate treatment.

Monica Morris, of Myeloma British isles, said: “We have been really impressed by the Beatson’s willingness to adapt to patients’ requirements.

“The crew really goes the additional mile to fully grasp people and aid them when they are at their most susceptible.

“For case in point, when required, people can see a professional pharmacist for soreness management as portion of their standard appointment, preserving them from exhausting and, in the wake of the price tag-of-residing crisis, probably highly-priced again and forth outings to a individual agony clinic.”