What cancer were you diagnosed with?

Acute Promyelocytic Leukaemia

What age were you diagnosed?


What has helped you to thrive?

My family, friends and medical team specifically a small group of my nurses have helped me to thrive after my diagnosis. My family are friends are constantly helping me to look to the future and are making plans for when I’m better which really has been keeping me positive.

My medical team however were the ones who told me that they expect me to be fully cured and are constantly reassuring me that I will be ok and although I’ve only gotten upset about my diagnosis 4 or 5 times (because I knew there was nothing I could do to change it) a small group of my nurses were there to comfort me and show me how far I have come and how lucky I am to be here, and all of that has kept me extremely positive. All of these things together along with the dreams I have for the future have helped me to thrive since my diagnosis and really make the most of my life, even while sick!

Orla's Story

I was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia on August 23rd 2018. I hadn’t been sick at all, intact I had only come home from holiday 3 days before, and the only symptom I had was bruises which came up 3 days before diagnosis and slight fatigue that started 5 days before diagnosis, it turns out however that I was severely sick and had a week maybe two to live. It’s a fast acting leukemia that I was told I more than likely didn’t have a few weeks before. I started Atra on August 22nd, the day before I was officially diagnosed as a precaution, and started Chemotherapy on August 23rd.

I have since completed three rounds of treatment which includes 8 doses of Idarubicin chemotherapy, 4 doses of Mitoxantrone chemotherapy, 1 small dose of Methotrexate chemotherapy for suspected leukemia around the brain (luckily it was a false alarm), 479 Atra tablets, and countless blood and platelet transfusions and round of neupogen injections. I should have had 900 Atra tablets in total but unfortunately my body can’t handle it and during my first round I developed double vision which turned into vision loss due to raised intercranial pressure (pressure on the brain caused by increased spinal fluid production) that caused haemorrhaging at the backs of my eyes. I needed 2 lumbar punctures which helped the diagnosis and to reduce it thankfully.

I’m now waiting for my bloods to normalise to begin my fourth and final round of treatment. It’s been the longest and shortest 7 months of my life and although it’s brought so much fear and pain it’s also brought a lot of positives to my life. It sounds strange but it’s been an extremely rewarding 7 months and has changed my entire life. I’m now looking forward to the rest of my life, meeting others with cancer to share experiences and stories with, having long hair again, going to college and finding a way to have more accessible support for young adults with cancer in my area. It’s a beautiful life and I can’t wait to live it.