Woman who thought she was just ‘tired’ had panic attack at seeing cancer poster
A girl who thought cancer symptom was ‘tiredness’ has shared her heartbreaking hospital visit.
Melissa McNaughton, suffered a panic attack in a hospital loo after seeing posters about the condition while getting medical checks for iron.
She had expected her tiredness symptoms to be something far less serious.
But was devastated after being told she had leukaemia.
The Daily Record reported the 33-year-old beauty business owner, from Bridgeton, Glasgow, had seen her GP 24 hours earlier believing she was overworked.
But after checking her iron levels, the on duty doctor had asked her to visit the hospital the following day.
Now Melissa has bravely recalled the visit – and how she felt “ill with fear” after arriving at the ward – in a bid to raise awareness of the symptoms of leukaemia.
She explained: “I arrived at the hospital, headed to the second floor and walked through the doors.
“I was surrounded by posters that were all about cancer and the effects of chemo, support groups, giving blood and wig makers.
“I felt ill with fear. I had no clue what I was going into.
“I sat down and one of the nurses came up to me and said, ‘Are you here for chemo today?’
“I said, ‘I have no idea why I’m here.’ Then I ran to the toilet and had a panic attack.”
Melissa was then told there was a 99% chance that she had chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), a cancer affecting blood and bone marrow.
She added: “Sitting in the consultant’s room with my mum, dad and husband, I was in my own little world.
“I heard a few words and could see the consultant’s mouth moving. I just heard the words ‘cancer’ and ‘leukaemia’
“A million questions were going through my head: ‘What’s going to happen to me? What will my life be like? Am I going to die? How long will I live? Can I have children?’
“It’s so strange, all these things go through your head that you have never thought of before. I was looking around at my mum and dad and they were asking questions.
“My husband was just in a daze. It wasn’t nice to see the fear in their eyes.”
She added: “Everything was about to change. I was sick, weak and I had bone pain and muscle pain.
“I’ve never cried so much and I lost so much weight.
“I was so weak I could hardly use a knife and fork.
“I tried to keep going with work, but it was all too much. I had to cut my hours right down. It got me really down.”
But Melissa explained her ‘inner warrior’ was quick to begin to fight back as she is now celebrating living with cancer for four years.
She added: “But my inner warrior was not going to let me stay down for long. Fast forward to today and I have had my ‘cancerversary’ of four years living with cancer.
“Every day is still a struggle and some days are worse than others. But I’m getting there.
“Cancer will just have to get used to living with me because I am in no way going to let it beat me. I’m still smiling and I’m not stopping.”
Charities Leukaemia Care and Leukaemia UK have launched a campaign #SpotLeukaemia after new research showed only one per cent of people surveyed were able to identify the four most widely reported symptoms – fatigue, bruising, unusual bleeding and repeated infections.
Melissa, who is documenting her own journey with hashtag, #mycmljourneydiary, added: “I had no idea what leukaemia really was until I had it.
“The Spot Leukaemia campaign is so important, to raise awareness of it. Hopefully getting the word out there will make someone go along for a blood test.”