Chloe-Leigh Todd, 22, had been suffering from a sore throat, night sweats, vomiting, and unexplained weight loss for a month before she spoke to a doctor about it.
Then, during a telephone call with her GP in spring 2020, she was told she had tonsillitis.
But when she later Googled her symptoms, Chloe was shocked to read that she was experiencing all the symptoms of leukaemia.
She booked herself in for a face-to-face GP appointment, underwent a blood test, and when her results came back abnormal, she went straight to the hospital.
Chloe, a stay-at-home mum from Gateshead, Tyne and Wear said: ‘Everyone knows their own body and I just knew it was something serious.
‘The doctors were putting it down to other things, but I was adamant they were wrong.
‘I Googled my symptoms – night sweats, fatigue, bruising, and so on – and leukaemia came up as the first search result.
‘I checked and saw I had every symptom on the whole website – everyone had thought I was crazy when I said it but I knew I wasn’t.
‘When the doctor confirmed it, I thought I was going to die.
‘I was happy to have the diagnosis but I went numb, hearing it is a big difference.
‘The doctors told my mum in a different room, she broke down – I could hear my mum screaming.’
At the hospital, Chloe was also told she was mere ‘weeks away from death’, and she started treatment the very next day.
She said: ‘I had a bone marrow biopsy.
‘The cancer was everywhere in my blood. Doctors told me they didn’t know if chemotherapy would help, but they were willing to give it a try.’
Thankfully, the six rounds of chemotherapy Chloe has since been through eliminated most of the cancer, so she began to feel more optimistic.
Chloe said: ‘Looking back now I am numb to it – everything I was being told is a blur.
‘I was looking at the world so differently asking “why me, what have I done to deserve this?”
‘The hardest part of it all is I thought I might not be here to watch my son grow up.’
Chloe was put on the Anthony Nolan register in the hopes of finding a bone marrow donor in September 2020.
It didn’t take the hospital long to find a 100% match in a 27-year-old man, which meant she was able to have the transplant the very next month.
Chloe later underwent another bone marrow biopsy to make sure the transplant had been a success and got the happy news that she was cancer free.
Chloe said: ‘When I received the news I picked up my son and cuddled him so tight.
‘It was amazing to know it had all gone, it was the best day ever.
‘I rang the bell in March 2021, it is an amazing feeling. I had my little boy in my arms with me.’
But Chloe’s medical woes aren’t completely in the past, as she’s now suffering from Graft vs Host disease, which is when some of a person’s white blood cells in donated stem cells or bone marrow begin to attack cells in their own bodies.
Chloe said: ‘No matter what I am going through I am always positive and have a smile on my face. No matter how ill I am I will put my child first.
‘When I spoke to my donor in March 2023, I had butterflies in my stomach.
‘We were talking like we have known each other my whole life. We have this connection that nobody will be able to understand.
‘We will always have that bond, I am still here because of him.
‘I feel so grateful and thankful. I would rather go through this than not be here at all.
‘It is a bittersweet situation – I am alive to tell my story.’
- Skin looking pale or ‘washed out’
- Losing weight without trying
- Frequent infections
- Having a high temperature, and feeling hot or shivery (fever)
- Night sweats
- Easily bruised skin
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