Tag Archives: double hit lymphoma

Unless you have psychic abilities or prophet like intuition, who knows?!

Before I explain why I asked the question above, I’d better give you a quick update on what’s been happening as I know some of you have been wondering! I’ve almost recovered from the renal infections, the e-coli has gone and the uveitis has cleared up. All positive, except I’ve managed to get a really nasty chest cold pretty much straight away. After 3 weeks of it, it’s clearing up now. If you haven’t had it.. you’re next!!! It’s doing the rounds at the moment! I can’t seem to go anywhere without hearing sneezing, coughing and nose blowing. If you have yet to catch it, start dosing up on your vitamins now or better still, hibernate until March-ish!

Anyway, apart from the chest cold, I still have a low haemoglobin count and mysterious bruising on my legs – my consultant is keeping an eye on both of those issues. I’m hoping the haemoglobin sorts itself out soon as it has really affected my fitness training, I feel so unfit.

So, back to the question at the top. It doesn’t really require an answer as it’s more of a rhetorical question, but the fact is, we really have no idea what’s around the proverbial. It all came to a head this morning when I was as usual, listening to BBC Radio 5 Live on my drive into work. The headline news was that the Australian cricketer Phil Hughes, had died after being struck by a cricket ball two days earlier – he was only 25 years old. This news filled me with sadness, not because of his age but the fact that he had died from a ‘freak accident’, a blow to the side of his neck. Having heard this, I was trying to make sense of why it happened and why he had to die. And it was all borne out of what I went through and what had happened since my last blog entry.

The same week I posted the last entry, I received news that two of my friends within 24 hours of each other were diagnosed with cancer. One with Myeloma and the other with Uterus cancer. A few weeks later, a friends 7 year old son was diagnosed with Leukaemia. Each of those families are going through hell at the moment, and no doubt the family of the Cricketer is also going through hell. That radio report really hit home when it was juxtaposed with a news story about mindless violence and the David Mellor taxi driver rant. I couldn’t help but wonder whether some people could do with a little perspective and a little reminder of their own mortality. I’m not saying they should be struck down with anything nasty – oh god no, I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone, but if there was a way to make them realise how short and precious life is, maybe they would think twice about their actions. Wouldn’t the world be a better place for it?! God, I sound naive.. but that is what perspective does for you. I’m not saying I’m perfect, I’m far from it, but what I do know is that the way I viewed life 3 years ago is vastly different to how I view it now. I appreciate it for what it is, I enjoy life a lot more, but I’ve also developed a fear that I’ve never had before. The fear of not knowing what will happen next – to me, or to the people I love. It’s absolutely terrifying which is all the more reason to appreciate and treasure the life and the time you have on this earth. Like the cricketer, it could be snatched away when you least expect it. Nothing is beyond the realms of possibility. As the last few weeks has proved, no one is immune to freak accidents, illnesses or anything.

On that philosophical note, I shall leave you to ponder (or go to sleep)! Next time you see someone you care about, give them a hug and appreciate them, you won’t regret it – even if you do come across a bit weird!

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… sang James Hetfield some 11/12 years! Although I’ve stolen these lyrics from a song called The Unnamed Feeling, it pretty much summed up how I felt in the waiting room yesterday waiting to see my consultant.

My consultant was running about an hour late and that extra hour of waiting was probably the most agonising wait I’ve ever had to endure. I’ve had 9 PET scans in total over the last 2 years so I should be use to it, but the truth is, the more I have, the more anxious I get. Each scan seems to be more and more important.

In that hour, so much went through my mind. I was kind of aware that it was manically busy but in my mind, I managed to conjure up a different scenario. For example, I saw my stem cell nurse who has spent a good couple of years looking after me dashing from one place to another. She didn’t make eye contact with me or say hello like she normally would and she just looked so serious. Instead of seeing that she was incredibly busy, I read that to be that something was wrong with my results and she couldn’t look me in the eye. It’s completely irrational but at the time, in my mind, it made sense.

When I was finally called in, I was a wreck, I felt sick and I knew the moment I stepped into the office my consultant could see that. I was sat in a chair opposite her hunched over with my shoulders slumped as if I had a tonne of weight on them. That weight lifted completely when she told me, “the scan was good, it’s all clear”. The moment she said that, I sat up as if that weight had fallen off and I couldn’t stop smiling. I wanted to jumped up and do the Snoopy dance and punch the air and now I think of it, I’m not sure why I didn’t! Instead, in my head, I was screaming..

I’M STILL IN REMISSION! F**k CANCER!!!

I’m still screaming it silently as it happens!!

At the moment, life is good! My hair has grown a lot more, I just need to get my arse back to work having been off a few weeks and hope that my kidney function has improved. Results are die back today.

Love to you all!


One of my friends left the BBC today so I should be enjoying a glass of bubbly at his leaving party, instead I’m sat in bed sulking and feeling pretty miserable. I’m back in the same hospital and the same ward as I was 18 months ago when I was fighting cancer.

..Oh my god, the guy on whatever BBC antiques programme that’s currently on TV at the moment looks like Vladimir Putin. Poor bugger…

Anyway.. I’m in because I’ve been hit down with a nasty infection which my doctors believe have caused a multitude of other issues.. Think ‘buy one, get one free’. I have renal infections so we’re talking kidney and bladder here. I also have a low haemoglobin count which meant I’ve had nasty headaches and constant tiredness, I also have e-coil and cloudy vision in both eyes. All the above has caused nasty temperature spikes as well and the inability for me to sleep very much. My symptoms started over a week ago but has really ramped up over the last few days. At the moment, I’m on a 24/7 fluid trip and twice daily IV antibiotic drip.

Feeling quite miserable and extremely tired. Today I woke up with a very sore neck, shoulders and back due to the uncomfortable bed. My sleep was broken up with trips to the toilet as I have constant fluid being pumped into me and at 3am I was woken up to go for a CT scan of my brain and head. I’m also bored still and desperately hoping I can go home soon but I have a feeling I’m here for a few more days.

When I was admitted, I was absolutely distraught. I’ve managed to stay out of hospital for nearly 18 months and hearing the news depressed me. When I got to the ward, it felt like a nightmare. I remember every single thing about the ward – the sights and clinical smells brought everything I felt when I was in here in 2012 and 2013 back. It was like having horrific flashbacks. I have an amazing view from my room, I can see The Shard, the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral etc but this view has haunted me ever since I got here. Over 18 months ago I was desperately ill, unable to leave my room and stared at that view – I felt like that person all over again.

As as the nurses here are great and the facilities are world class, it’s a place that’s full of ghosts. It made me realised how much my time here still torments me.

So please send me good thoughts and pray I’m allowed home soon.


Anniversaries as we know them tend to be occasions to mark and celebrate something joyous, or at least that’s what I use to think. But what I’ve discovered is that once you been through a life changing trauma, anniversaries serve as an awful reminder.

Today, the 28th of August is an anniversary for me. One I wish I could forget but has haunted me for exactly two years, the day I was told I had cancer. I still remember it like it was yesterday. I remember when I was given the diagnosis, I remember the excruciating walk out of hospital, I remember phoning Ade from the car – the hardest phone call I have ever had to make and I remember breaking down like I have never broken down in my life. I remember going to my parents house to break the news to them that evening, I remember the look on their faces and I swear I could hear the sound of their hearts breaking. To this day I can remember every single detail and sometimes when I close my eyes, I’m forced to relive it and feel that same pain all over again.

There’s a common misconception that if you’re as lucky as me, you come through and all is good again, but this awful disease leaves a legacy that you never get over. It’s like a death of a loved one, you never get over the trauma, it becomes easier to live and deal with. I’m ok now, I have my moments, mainly due to the consequences of the treatment I’ve had, but I’m handling it much better than I thought I ever would. But for my family, particularly my parents, it has taken much longer. My mum has been so strong and she still does so much for me to make sure I’m not overdoing things despite the fact I’m working full time and I’m back to being active – she treats me as if I’m made of glass. My dad still blames himself for my illness. It’s so irrational and off course it’s not his fault at all, I was just unlucky but I understand why he feels the way he does. Cancer doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been a bad person or a saint all your life, it will get you if it wants to. But for someone like my dad, he struggled with the ‘why me’, he needed a reason as to why I was the one who got ill. I remember the day after I told my parents, I was admitted to Accident & Emergency at Southend Hospital, my dad came into my room and broke down, he kept saying that he had been a bad father and that he shouldn’t have disciplined me as a child, he should’ve been nicer to me and paid more attention to me. It broke my heart to hear him say that and to see that he believed what he was saying. I had an amazing childhood with the best parents anyone could have, but this is the nature of such an evil disease, it didn’t just screw me, it screwed my family as well.

It’s taken a while, but two years on, I have beaten cancer. I’m in a much better place now with a better outlook on life. My family although scarred, have recovered too. The ghosts are still there but we’ve all learnt to accept that they will never completely go away. I’ve just got over a nasty chest infection (turned up just after I got over the Shingles) and I feel fantastic. I had my best pool session in over two years, and I’m on course to do my first post-cancer triathlon next week. At the end of September, I should be exorcising the ghost that is the Ealing half marathon – the event that I had to withdraw from in 2012 as I was having my first ever chemotherapy treatment.

So, although this is an anniversary I wish I could forget, it’s here to stay but I’ve marked it by being “normal” (don’t laugh). I went to work today, I had a great session in the pool and I’m ALIVE!

As usual, I’m finishing this entry off with a few photos, but not before I thank my amazing family and friends for getting me through the last two years. Special thanks to my husband Ade for being with me every step of the way, to the donor who gave me a second chance by selflessly donating their stem cells to me, for my employers at the BBC for having faith that I would recover and return to work, and also my personal trainer for helping rebuild my strength, fitness and confidence.

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Drinking and hanging out with some of the Game of Thrones actors on a recent work trip to Belfast!
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Barbecuing with two lovely Northern Irish boys! Ade and his best friend Gareth.
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Hiking in the beautiful Peak Districts (Hartington) last weekend with amazing people.
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A photo from January of me and the bride with the Scottish Cup at St Johnstone’s ground. (Thanks Jenna for the photo!)
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.. that’s what my consultant called it. Getting shingles seems to be part of the long-arsed merry-go-round that I’ve been on for the past two years. Just when things were going swimmingly, I’m struck down with something. What I thought was intercostal muscle strain from a particularly tough training session turned out to be a case of shingles.

So, what are shingles? Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox and it is an infection of the nerves. The infection causes a huge amount of pain and also pox like spots to come up around the affected area. Shingles is contagious, but only to people who haven’t had chicken pox so on diagnosis, I was once again imprisoned in my own home to recover from it and not to infect the vulnerable.

(CLICK HERE for more information on shingles and its causes)

The turning point was when I was on the train to work in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games. The pain on the right side of my back, side and chest got so unbearable that I had a breakdown on the phone to Ade. He convinced me to get off at the next station to seek medical help. I didn’t want any old doctor seeing me, I wanted to see my consultant as he knew about my condition and also because I have a distrust of doctors in general. So when I got to Warrington, I got off and caught the first train back to London. When I got there, I went straight to UCH where Ade met me to see my consultant. After an examination, he said I was in the early stages of shingles. As soon as he told me what was causing the pain, I immediately felt better and he did spend some time convincing me that the cancer hadn’t come back. I left the hospital with a bag of drugs:

Valacyclovir – a super strong anti-viral drug which helps fight off shingles.
Amitriptyline – this is an anti-depressant but prescribed to prevent nerve damage.
Co-codamol and Ibroprofen – strong painkillers.

Two days after seeing my consultant, I started developing pox like spots on my back and abdomen. Luckily the anti-vitals prevented a huge outbreak, I only had about 30 spots in total and most of which have now gone.

Nearly two weeks on, the bulk of the pain has gone and I’m just left with some residual nerve pain which I hope will disappear in time. I’m going back to work tomorrow and hopefully I can start my triathlon training in the next week too. I’ve been away from physical exercise for nearly three weeks and I’m starting to feel twitchy!

As the shingles came along at the most inconvenient time (not that there is a convenient time), I’ve had to withdraw from my first post-cancer triathlon, but I’ve already rebooked to compete in the Eton Dorney sprint on the 6th September. I made a commitment to my donors and pledgers that I will compete for Cancer Research and the Lymphoma Association, and I’m keeping that promise. So those of you who want to support me, you can still do it. Please CLICK HERE to do so 🙂

Aside from the shingles, my iron levels are still far too high, so I need to have a few more venesections – where I need half a litre of blood drained out of me every 3 weeks or so. This is what half a litre of blood looks like:

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But apart from the health issues, I’ve had a good summer so far! Here’s a few photos of the summer for your viewing pleasure:

Watching Rafa Nadal on Centre Court at Wimbledon
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Working at Glastonbury with the Metallica Club
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Rocking the Glasto t-shirt!
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Working at Knebworth House Sonisphere with the Metallica Club – Me and Ade
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Cathcing up with old friends at Knebworth – Bill from Mastodon
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A sunny wedding in Perth, Scotland – me and the blushing bride!
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Wow.. Two blogs in one week! Last time I wrote two in such a short space of time, I was probably very ill, but not this time.. I’m using this entry as a shameless plug!

Since the start of my journey, the one thing that has stayed consistent is the overwhelming support I’ve received from everyone. Not just those who know me, but amazingly, those who have stumbled upon my blog – be it fellow cancer patients, friends/family of patients, medical professionals or simply those who took an interest. The thing that really inspires me is reading the comments and messages left for me saying that I’ve made a real difference. Whether it’s supporting them through their journey or simply raising awareness. I’m now at the stage where I can ramp up my quest to raise more awareness and I’m going to do it in a way that people will recognise it as being ‘very Kat’.

You see when I was really ill, I remember lying in the PET scanner clutching a jade Buddha tightly in my right hand praying in my head. I made a promise that day that if I came out the other side healthy and cancer-free, I will do something to help others as a way of redemption. So here I am, keeping my end of the bargain.

My next challenge is to go back to what I love doing most… Triathlon!

On the 2nd August, the weekend of my birthday, I will be swimming, biking and running my way to another goal at the London Triathlon in aid of the Lymphoma Association and Cancer Research. These two charities have helped save my sanity and my life. If you want to help others like me and give me a bigger incentive to storm this triathlon, please sponsor me! I know in these austere times, money is hard to come by, but even a tiny amount will go some way in helping many others affected by this awful disease. Remember, cancer is a bitch and it doesn’t discriminate.

So if you want to…

CLICK HERE TO GO TO MY FUNDRAISING PAGE

Feel free to tweet, email, forward.. etc.. Let’s nail this together!


This is ridiculous.. how is it the end of June already?!  Time seems to be flying and I don’t like it!  And do you know what I like even less? The relentless medical issues that is constantly being thrown my way.  But to be fair, I rather this than the crap that was thrown at me in 2012 and 2013!!!

So, I got my remission and I bet you lot were thinking “that’s it, she’s ok, she’s going to be ok”, well not quite.  My neutrophils are still being a little stubborn.  I had a blood test today and they were high (6), but I only gave myself the GCSF injection on Friday so I’m not convinced I’ve given it enough time to drop yet, so my consultant asked that I come in on Thursday to have another blood test.  Also according to my blood tests, my iron levels have been consistently high for a while so that’s another problem.  Well, it’s not a problem now, but the build up of iron in my body can cause long term health problems further down the line and can affect my liver, so my consultant wants to do something about it now to prevent this which I’m all for – I mean for the love of God.. I think I’ve had my fair share of health issues now!

Anyhow, before I explain what the docs need to do to me, I’ll give you a brief explanation of how the iron/blood thing works – I say brief because I haven’t badgered my consultant for enough details, so I’m going to tell you what I understand of it so far.  We all have iron in our blood (red blood cells to be precise).  The body through various kinds of bodily functions can get rid of iron naturally, but it’s not an overly efficient system which in itself is fine if you’re a healthy person.  Unfortunately, due to the amount of treatment I’ve had, the iron levels in my body has built up to the point I have far too much iron swimming around.  If left as it is, later in life (if I live that long), I stand a chance of having a melee of health problems which can affect my vital organs.  So to prevent and resolve this, I have to have a procedure called Veinesection (I think) every 2-3 weeks for a few months.  The name of the procedure is quite deceptive as it’s actually a very simply process where half a litre of blood is taken out of me.  The theory is, the half litre includes iron rich blood and the body will replace the blood by producing more red blood cells in the bone marrow.  The red blood cells will then draw iron from existing sources (i.e. old red blood cells) so over time, the iron levels should even out.

So between my neutrophils being stubborn and me being as metal as Slayer (Reign in Blood anyone?) – I’m now back to weekly visits to the hospital.  It’s annoying but at least my consultant is keeping a close eye on me.

Apart from these healthy niggles, I’ve been ok but busy.  My training is going quite well, though I’ve had problems with my achilles and rotator cuff.  The rotator cuff seems to be much better now, but I’m still have problems with the achilles.  Work is going ok, in fact, I’m only back from two weeks working in MediaCityUK with Sport and 5 live research.  I’m now back in my normal job and office dealing with the influx of work relating to the World Cup and Wimbledon.  Home life is good, if not a little chaotic.  Ade and I have bought a lovely house which we’ve been in for a couple of months, but it’s a bit of a building site!  There was nothing wrong with it (except for the awful ‘feature walls’ popular with 90-esque home improvement programmes) but we just wanted to really put our own stamp on it so we decided to strip the walls and redecorate.  The redecorating is almost there, then after that, we’re having our fireplace overhauled and fitted with a log burner.  My ‘other’ job life is about to kick off again too!  This Saturday, I’ll be heading to Glastonbury for the day/night to work the Metallica show for the first time post-cancer!  The week after, I’ll be at Knebworth doing the same! Another milestone for me.. this is me getting my life back together again!  Life is good.. despite the crappy immune system and despite the fact I’m too metal for my own good!

The obligatory blog photos:

Lovely Ade in our conservatory

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Mum and Ade in the back garden

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Ade relaxing after painting the lounge!

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(Apologies for any grammatical/spelling errors.. it’s nearly 1am, and I can’t be bothered to proof-read anymore!)