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Day 1: Diagnosis

Day 1: Diagnosis
November 11, 2015

Diagnosis date: 11/11/2015
Diagnosis: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia

Not your ordinary day, remembrance day 2015, a day I, nor my family will ever forget.

24 hrs after having a blood test at my GP, these were the results that followed; “your blood results show you are quite anaemic and this explains why you have been feeling the way you have, however, there are some abnormal cells in your blood, and so they are running more tests”. That could be anything right…?!

I received a call a few hours after hearing this stating that the Queen Alexandra Hospital had a bed for me, and that I needed to come in ASAP due to a significant blood disorder. Trying my best to remain calm, I put an overnight bag together as advised, and one of my dearest friends kindly took me in and stayed with me. On the lift sign for the ward it stated ‘Haematology/Acute Oncology’ – now I’m assuming unless you live under a rock, that most people know what Oncology means!! Nothing nice about that.

The doctor who met me at the door, took me into my room and asked me how much they had told me and then said “there is no easy way to say this, you have been diagnosed with Leukaemia, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL)”.

My world had done a 180 in a matter of seconds and I came to realise very quickly that I wouldn’t be going home anytime soon. I had been plucked out of my life and dropped in hospital like the google maps street view icon. That one bag of random crap i’d packed in a daze after being told I had a bed in hospital was pretty much useless – highly unlikely that those skinny jeans will be worn on a daily basis Alex!! SMH.

They informed me they would begin tests first thing in the morning, including a bone marrow biopsy from my hip bone and a host of blood tests. I was briefly told about the length of treatments including the inevitable Chemotherapy… That is a lot of information to absorb in one sitting. They gave me time to call my family, who were all amazing!!

I didn’t feel like she was telling me this information. You saying that I, Alex, have Leukaemia?! Surely not, how is that possible? See the thing is I didn’t feel that sick, just thought I had a case of anaemia, that I was trying to curb with steak dinners and liquid iron so I could get back to the gym and playing netball! I’d been to the gym and taken part in an research experiment at work that morning for crying out loud… I felt fine in my daily life and self, I had just been experiencing some unusual breathlessness and a rapid heart rate after climbing stairs or trying to exert energy… combined with random night sweats and some random pains in my hips, no real alarm bells were going off. In hindsight and after reading the symptoms of ALL, it appears the signs were all there, but I never imagined this would be the outcome. If these symptoms sound familiar to you – GO GET A BLOOD TEST NOW!!

You hear people talk of ‘out of body moments’ and I’d never experienced one myself, until that moment. I couldn’t, well didn’t want to, believe the words I had been told. I instantly felt heartbroken, heartbroken for my future self, l had a bucket list to do and so many wonderful events with family and friends planned in the near future, that were crushed in a three word sentence; “you have Leukaemia”. I had so many questions and thoughts running through my mind, what will my life be like now, I won’t be able to go to that event, or go on that holiday, I should forget about that future opportunity, when can I/or will I go back to work, will I loose my hair (inevitable), how sick will I look, how horrible will I feel after chemo, and the one morbid thought that stayed with me throughout the first night…

I have had family/friends both survive and pass away from Leukaemia, and that scared the shit out of me. It is a tough disorder and one you haven’t much/if any control over, your white blood cells decide to randomly stop doing their job properly. The treatment is no walk in the park either, but I decided after a short period of time that I was going to take this beast on… People who know me well, know I am (a little ;)) competitive and so this was the ONLY strategy for me…. I wrote this down as soon as I thought it on the first night; I WILL run again, I WILL travel again, I WILL work again, I WILL get over this… You see, I’m ALL in!! #AlexisALLin

‘Keep your head up, keep your heart strong’ – a good song to have in your head!

  • Carla Evans

    Hi Alex ๐Ÿ™‚ I saw your blog after a friend posted it on Facebook! I was diagnosed with AML and treated at QA in 2010. I must say your diagnosis post sounds identical to what I went through on the day! If you ever want to chat or anything feel free to message me. Your positive attitude towards it all will definitely go a long way ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

    • Alex Milligan

      Hi Carla, thank you so much for getting in contact. It is great to hear from people who have experienced something like this. I hope you are well and your treatment is going strong. Take care. x

Quote of the day

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” Gandhi

December 11, 2015

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