Woman’s Harrowing Battle with Cancer: From Bone Pain to Triumph

For Blood Cancer Awareness Month, a woman has bravely shared her traumatic journey with cancer and the terrifying symptoms that initially left her feeling she had limited time.

Tracey Palmer-Hole’s ordeal began with unexplained bone pain, initially suspected by her doctor to be rheumatoid arthritis. However, within a few months, her life hung in the balance as the 47-year-old received a diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) and was led to believe she had only two weeks to live.

Tracey, a learning and development manager from Berkshire, immediately embarked on an arduous journey of chemotherapy.

She recalled her experience, saying, “I was in constant pain, struggling to catch my breath and once even thought I was having a heart attack.” She added, “I was frightened but had no idea it was cancer.”

As her condition worsened, Tracey began fainting, which was unusual for her. However, she initially attributed it to travel-related fatigue from her work.

“When the doctor told me it was leukaemia, I remember asking, ‘Have I got longer than two weeks?’ I couldn’t deal with any emotions, as I needed to know if they thought I’d have longer, or if I had less – only then would I be able to process the situation and what needed to happen,” Tracey recounted.

Although the doctors did not provide a definitive answer at that moment, they started exploring treatment options. Ultimately, her symptoms and blood test results confirmed Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.

Tracey’s symptoms, which included bone pain, unexplained bruises, and mouth ulcers, began in February 2019. By June of the same year, she had been admitted for treatment, following a blood test and a bone biopsy.

Thinking of her husband, Rob, 56, and other family members, she found the strength to stay composed and resolute. She stated, “I thought I had to beat this, as I had no other choice – I would do whatever was needed to be here. I had only been married for three years and I wanted a lot longer with my husband than that.”

In December 2019, less than a year after the onset of her symptoms, Tracey received the all-clear from doctors. Her body had responded positively to the chemotherapy, and she was officially in remission.

Although the news of her cancer’s disappearance was joyful, Tracey admitted to harboring a deep-rooted fear of its return. Nevertheless, she now values her time with loved ones more than ever.

“Remission doesn’t mean that the cancer journey is over, as it’s a new chapter mentally. My life has changed, as I want to make every day count and I realise what – and who – is important to me,” she shared.

Tracey, who considers herself blessed, is determined to use her experience to raise awareness about the impact of a cancer diagnosis on patients and to support those who may be struggling. She has been helping people through their cancer treatments and being there for family and friends experiencing similar challenges.

She concluded with a message of encouragement, saying, “Reach out to people who can help you and never stop asking even more so when you’re in remission. If you don’t feel right and you’ve been to the doctor, ask to see another one if nothing happens. This is your life, and we only get one of them.”

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