Neil was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia after feeling weak and lethargic and having a respiratory infection. He spent 7 months in hospital having 5 courses of chemotherapy as part of a clinical trial, which put him into remission.
Neil had been feeling weak and lethargic, needed antibiotics for a respiratory infection and still didn’t feel right. His acupuncturist recommended he see his GP. The doctor took a blood test and phoned him the same day to say he should go to his local hospital that evening where there was a bed waiting for him. Being a busy man with a business to run he was initially reluctant to drop everything but the doctor was insistent. Once at the hospital he asked why he had been admitted and was told he probably had acute myeloid leukaemia.
The next day the diagnosis was confirmed and he had a Hickman line inserted and treatment started the following day. He was given a chemotherapy regimen called ICE which initially made him feel a lot better but as a side effect developed a swelling in his scrotum, which went away with further treatment. After receiving treatment for a month he was declared to be in remission and allowed home for a few days to recuperate before starting the 2nd course. His Hickman line was replaced between the first two courses because of an infection. The third course was a different drug combination, which made him more sick than the ICE had and caused mouth ulcers for which he was given morphine. Other side effects included weight loss and hair loss and after each course of chemotherapy he developed septicaemia.
After his third course of chemotherapy he had his bone marrow harvested in case he needed a bone marrow transplant in future, as his only sibling had been tested and was not a match. He agreed to take part in a trial to compare the effectiveness of 5 courses of chemotherapy versus 4 and was randomised to receive all 5 courses. The start of his 4th course of chemotherapy was delayed by low blood counts and a swollen lymph gland in his armpit. At the beginning of the 5th course he couldn’t face another month in hospital and suggested having the treatment as an outpatient, but after two days he realised that wouldn’t work and stayed in hospital.
After five courses of chemotherapy and seven months in hospital Neil was discharged having completed the treatment.