What cancer were you diagnosed with?

Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia


What age were you diagnosed?

25


Natalie's Story

I'm not a fan of calling it a journey. It's not something I chose to embark upon, it's a load that was heaped onto my back suddenly and without warning. 

I was diagnosed after about 6 months of feeling ill and not really knowing what was wrong with me. My diagnosis, weirdly, came as a sort of relief by that point! Shortly followed by fear that I wouldn't be able to have children, I would lose all my hair...the word "Leukaemia" has such powerful emotional associations that it took a really long time to get my head around what CML actually meant. 

I was only in hospital for 5 days overall (UCLH were beyond incredible in their care and attention) and then discharged with the cheery notion that my condition could be controlled by medication and I should make a reasonably swift recovery. Coming to terms with that was actually harder than dealing with the initial diagnosis. I (almost, perversely) wanted to have some more physical side effects, something that would make it easier to acknowledge that I was still dealing with an illness. But to the outside world (and this included my friends) I looked completely normal relatively quickly. It was an incredibly lonely place to be in. 

Thankfully I have been in remission for a really long time now, and enough time has passed that I no longer classify myself as "the girl who has CML" but rather am able to look forward to the next stage of my life and career. I do have the odd wobble though - and I think this is where networks like Trekstock can provide invaluable support in recognising that dealing with the fallout from cancer is ongoing.