When I knew something was wrong

In June 2013 I was watching my son play with his local football team and all was fine until I walked back up a hill and found that my heart was pounding through my chest. As I reached the top of the hill I developed a large blood blister in my mouth that continued to grow until it popped.

I went to the doctor's the very next day to have a check-up and the doctor wanted me to have a blood test there and then. I thought nothing of it and the day went by until I received a phone call at 22:35 and was told that my blood levels were low. There was nothing to worry about but I needed to go and see my doctor first thing in the morning.

I went to my doctor's the following day with no wait time as I seemed to jump to the front of the queue. I found out that I needed to go straight to the hospital where an appointment had already been made for me and that I would find out what department when I got there. When I arrived I headed towards the designated clinic only to find I was heading towards the cancer wards - at this point I was starting to worry.

I took my ticket and sat down holding my wife’s hand worrying what was coming next. My name was called and we went through to see the consultant, within five minutes a nurse had put a cannula in my hand and I was receiving blood.

"We think you have leukaemia ..."

The consultant sat down in front of me and said the words that I will never forget “We think you have acute leukaemia". My world just dropped away from me and my wife was in tears, however I still tried to keep a positive attitude and told my wife it will all be ok. I was admitted straight away into a ward.

Two weeks passed and I was visited by a consultant who went on to tell me that they now didn’t think that it was leukaemia and that it could be aplastic anaemia. I had never heard of this and asked questions which the consultant went on to answer. He also gave me some very good advice and told me never to Google aplastic anaemia which, to this day, I never have.

The consultant told me that the best way to treat this condition was to have a bone marrow transplant, however there was no suitable match on the register. My sister was then tested and thank the stars, came back a match.

Transplant and positive thinking

I was transferred from Derby to Nottingham City Hospital and placed under their care. I was admitted two weeks later to the haematology centre where I spent seven weeks in isolation. The first few weeks while receiving treatment were not as bad as I had envisioned, however I did get poorly and started to focus on all the bad things that could happen rather than the good.

Four weeks had passed and I was at my lowest thinking "this is it, nothing is happening." Then I made the best decision I have ever made. I stopped lying in bed and started to look at all the positives:

I have a son who I want to see grow up and get married, I have a lovely caring wife whom I adore so why am I sitting in this bed thinking dark thoughts ...

The next day I got up out of bed, showered and had a cup of tea while doing some leg exercises. I walked around my tiny room and read all the advice that was on the wall and put it all into practice. Three days later the doctor came in and told me that my counts had started to move up and - fingers crossed - I would be allowed out of my room and onto the ward in the next couple of days. This made my positivity go through the roof, things were looking up!

Two days passed and I was allowed out onto the ward. What a feeling it was and I remember thinking "Right, my next step is outside and then home". This all came true through positive thinking along with the quote "The body achieves what the mind believes" and listening to Titanium by David Guetta. Here I am 5 years on and still going strong.

I hope that whoever reads this finds it helpful and just possibly finds a song and quote to carry them through their journey.