When Diane Kindred first experienced pain in her elbows she never would have thought it was caused by a deadly cancer.
The now 53-year-old was diagnosed with leukaemia after a diligent physiotherapist urged her to undergo a blood test.
Five years on, Diane revealed how this physio “saved her life” while urging others to be aware of the tell-tale signs of the disease.
Speaking to Chronicle Live, she said: “It was October 2017 when I was diagnosed and I had pain in both of my elbows.
“I went to the urgent care centre at the QE [Queen Elizabeth Hospital Gateshead] and the nurses I saw said it was unlikely to be nerve damage with it being both elbows.
“On the Tuesday I had a telephone appointment with a physio. She said to go to the GP and to insist on a blood test.”
Diane, from Felling – near Newcastle, recalled how her doctor wasn’t initially sure why she was insisting on such a blood test, however, she persevered and was booked in.
While Diane was out in Newcastle enjoying Oktoberfest with her husband she received the alarming news that she needed to go to hospital urgently.
Further blood tests and a bone marrow biopsy revealed that she had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Lymphoblastic leukaemia is a type of blood cancer that starts from white blood cells called lymphocytes found in the bone marrow.
Although it is more commonly found in younger people, it can affect anyone of any age.
Luckily for Diane, her cancer was caught at a treatable stage.
Her sister was found to be a match as a stem cell donor and in March 2018 Diane underwent a successful transplant.
Five years on, and following further treatments, she is now cancer free.
Now Diane is backing the Spot Leukaemia campaign from charities Leukaemia UK and Leukaemia Care, to raise awareness of key symptoms of leukaemia to look for.
According to the NHS these can include:
- Skin looking pale or “washed out”
- Losing weight without trying
- Frequent infections
- Having a high temperature, and feeling hot or shivery (fever)
- Night sweats
- Unusual and frequent bleeding, such as bleeding gums or nosebleeds
- Easily bruised skin
- Flat red or purple spots on the skin
- Bone and joint pain
- A feeling of fullness or discomfort in your tummy
- Swollen glands in your neck, armpit or groin that may be sore when you touch them.
Diane added: “I’m one of the lucky ones – that’s what I think when I read and hear other people’s stories.
“Two weeks for a diagnosis is a really short time-frame.
“Some people wait months before getting help and then could see a GP only for them not to pick up on the signs. | don’t think GPs are necessarily aware enough either.
“If that physiotherapist hadn’t said to me to make sure I got a blood test, I wouldn’t have asked. It’s not something my doctor would have suggested.
“And if I hadn’t had that test I might not be here now. That physio effectively saved my life. “
If you experience any symptoms of leukaemia you should speak to your GP.