Carly Leigh James – Myeloma and Me

Carly Leigh James – Myeloma and Me

It was 14th December 2018, the day that life as I knew it would change forever. The words I never thought I would ever hear “You have cancer…incurable cancer”.

I was diagnosed with myeloma, a cancer I had not even heard of before. It’s still a blur, raw – you feel like you’re falling into a black hole. The humbling part is just how many arms reach out and catch you – from your medical team to your family and friends – you’re not alone.

Carly’s Army of Friends and Family

Treatment:
After the initial shock of my diagnosis, I did so much research. I wanted to be armed with as much information as possible. In my appointments, I wanted to fully understand the words my consultant was saying.

The start of December 18, my fight truly began. I started treatment. I had never seen as many tablets or needles in my life. With treatment came a whole host of side effects – some which were temporary and others have been more permanent. I got told midway through my 2nd cycle of treatment that I was responding well to it, this gave me the lift I needed.

I got every single side effect going, which really doesn’t help when all you want to do is tackle things positively. The worst one was a rash that caused my body to swell and covered me from head to toe, it was horrendous. Given all these side effects and the fact I was responding so well it was decided that we just go ahead more urgently with my stem cell transplant.

This was without a doubt the hardest thing I have ever done in my life: just under three weeks in hospital, an intensive care stay and severe sickness! But would I do it all again… absolutely.

At the time, I was 34 and a mother of two sons – Jack, 7 and Ben who was 2.

Life after cancer:
My transplant was a success. I’m in remission and although my cancer will come back no one knows when.

All that being said I wouldn’t change my journey, cancer has changed me but in the best way possible: it has made me a better person. I appreciate life so much more, I love harder, hug tighter and I laugh louder.

Most days are great, but not all. I suffered with my mental health and I saw a therapist who helped me see everything more clearly. It’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay to feel sad, angry and every emotion that comes with cancer. Then, I dust myself off as I’m proud of myself and what I have overcome.

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