Staying positive got me through
Julie Mancini was diagnosed with a blood cancer called leukaemia. The following are all Julie’s words, shared with the Leukaemia Foundation to help raise awareness of blood cancer during September’s Blood Cancer Awareness Month 2019.
My story started on the 5th of July 2014.
I thought I had the flu really badly. My son took me to St John of God Murdoch Hospital where they took some blood. In my mind I’m going to be given some fluids and antibiotics and sent home.
One hour later my world comes crashing down.
The doctor tells me I have leukaemia and am being transferred straight away to Royal Perth Hospital. I really didn’t have time to process what had been said to me.
My husband and two adult children were shattered.
Within 24 hours I’d had a spinal tap to find out what type of leukaemia I had. I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia [AML] and the next day I started my intense chemo.
Stem cell transplant
I wasn’t given a good outlook because it was so advanced but I wasn’t going anywhere. My wonderful family and friends had a motto: positivity only.
Going through the chemo I thought was the hardest thing I would face. In the late November I was told there was no signs of the AML and to enjoy my Christmas with my family.
We were all so excited thinking I had kicked AML to the curb.
February 2015: I go for my check up and it had returned and my only chance was a stem cell transplant. They tested all my immediate family and I was so lucky that my sister was a match.
So everything was put into place for the transplant. My wonderful sister started her program of medication and injections. I had my chemo to give me the best chance.
On the 8th August I had my transplant and then the fight of my life started.
Again, positivity was the only thing in my head.
I had so many set backs throughout my treatment, including infections etc. My doctor, Duncan Purtill, and nurses at Fiona Stanley Hospital 7D were amazing.
Fatigue and GVHD
In 2015 I spent the whole year in hospital apart from 17 days, scattered here and there, when I was allowed to go home.
I’m now four years post transplant and thankful everyday for the opportunity I’ve been given at another chance of life.
I still suffer with fatigue and acute [Graft vs Host Disease] GVHD [a condition where donated cells attack your body’s cells] but I will take that because my alternative is not great.
I’m so thankful for my family and friends. Everyday my family had a inspirational quote they would write on the board in my room.
Staying positive and keeping all negativity away was what got me through. My faith in god or a higher being is what got me through.
I’m still in the fight and will continue to fight on.
Last updated on September 11th, 2019
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