Glyn was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia after being refused as a blood donor. A chromosome abnormality makes his leukaemia resistant to chemotherapy. After several treatments were unsuccessful he was given lenalidomide, which is working.
Glyn went to give blood and was refused because of a low cell count. His GP rang the next day to ask him to go to the surgery for a blood test. He returned a few days later for the result and was told he had chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and that it was a type of leukaemia that people lived with for many years. He had swollen lymph glands in his neck and an enlarged spleen. He was referred to his local hospital two days later where he had another blood test and was prescribed steroids and chemotherapy tablets and told he would need a CT scan. Meanwhile he and his wife went on holiday where he had food poisoning and noticed that he had lost a lot of weight. He continued on the tablets and had regular blood transfusions and attended the clinic once a month.
Initially his blood counts improved but after a few months that was no longer the case. A sample of his blood was sent to a specialist hospital for further testing after which Glyn was referred to see a consultant there. He was told he had a form of CLL where a chromosomal abnormality in the p53 gene made his leukaemia cells resistant to chemotherapy resulting in a life expectancy of only 2 3 years. He was put on combination of steroids and an immunotherapy drug called Campath (alemtuzumab). After a few days of this treatment he needed to stay in overnight for blood and platelet transfusions. Once at home he developed a fever and as it was a Friday evening went to Accident & Emergency where he was further at risk because of his compromised immune system. The next day he was moved to an isolation ward where he stayed until he recovered.
Glyn then restarted his treatment, which he took quite well. At the end of the planned 16 weeks of treatment tests showed that there were still leukaemic cells in his bone marrow so the doctors decided to give him another 8 weeks of the same treatment, but it still didn’t get rid of the leukaemia. His doctors then decided to apply to the Primary Care Trust for permission to give Glyn a new drug called lenalidomide, also known as Revlimid. The application was successful and Glyn has been taking it daily for a year. Tests show that his immune system is returning to normal, he no longer has swollen lymph glands or an enlarged spleen. Glyn has therefore been feeling a lot better although he has recently caught a cold.