On the 23rd December 2002 I was given the type of news that rocks your whole world; I had Low Grade Follicular Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma... cancer!!!! It was the day before Christmas Eve and passing on my unbelievable fate to my family was even worse than hearing the news myself. I was 34 and my rosy little world had turned black.
Kirsty - a mother of two young children – went on to receive a range of the treatments which have been developed in the RVI’s centre. She has recovered well and almost 15 years on she is in good health and optimistic for the future.
My positive attitude and stoic mindset could not have been maintained if I hadn’t had the support of North East Promenaders Against Cancer (NEPAC) - ironically, a charity that we as a family had supported beforehand. I have eagerly read and absorbed details of the positive work that NEPAC is doing for blood-related cancer research.
In May 1999, I found a small lump in my groin and because of Susan's experience I immediately went to the local doctor. After the lump was removed I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, with disease above and below the diaphragm.
The initial treatment was carried out at Wansbeck Hospital under Dr Dewar, with 6 months of low level chemo. However, this was not successful so I had to undergo treatment involving strong doses of chemo at the RVI in January 2000 followed by one month of radiotherapy in April 2000. This treatment, although intrusive, had the required effect of putting the disease into remission and finally in June 2000, I had a bone marrow transplant to ensure that the disease had been removed.
Although the treatment and experience of having cancer can be a challenge and not all the outcomes are as successful as Susans and mine, our stories are a tribute to the hard work and dedication of the medical teams who have developed the treatment and cures that have allowed us to carry on our family lives.
An exciting year lay ahead: a four year old son, a second child on the way, a long maternity leave with some foreign travel. Then suddenly Evelyn's life was turned upside down. A lump on her neck was suspected to be non-Hodgkin's Lymphona. A caesarean section was urgently arranged. The next day the diagnosis was confirmed and, within days, chemotherapy began and radiotherapy followed.
It turned out that my mum went to these concerts that helped raise the money for Professor Proctor's unit. I'm alive thanks to the treatment, the unit and the drive of the people in there.
That's why they're driven, and that's why people support them. 10 years on, Evelyn is in remission and grateful for the special treatment enjoyed by patients in this region.
I was 22 years old when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. I had just completed my first year of teaching and was looking forward to getting married in the summer. In November 1998 I had a gland removed from my neck that turned out to be Hodgkin's.
I was referred to Professor Proctor at the RVI, he told us not to look in books about Hodgkin's as they would all say that I would die,
particularly as it was only in the last 10 years that a cure had been found. After a CT scan, I had 28 sessions of radiotherapy and that completed my treatment. I married Ian in August 1990 and we have two children.