A WOMAN who thought she was suffering from a long-term Covid illness was shocked to discover she actually had a life-threatening illness.
Sinead Hudson, 30, had a fever that wouldn’t go away after testing positive on January 2.
She was taking a break in Ibiza with her husband Rob, who had also tested positive for the virus, as they scouted out what would become their new home.
Sinead, who was previously fit and healthy, said: “I was feeling pretty bad – really weak and tired – but my partner wasn’t and we thought it just hits some people differently than others.
“I was coughing and had such a bad fever for two weeks and more.”
Despite Sinead receiving a negative Covid test a few days after her symptoms began, she continued to feel unwell.
She said: “I took paracetamol to bring my fever down, but as soon as that went away it went back up.
“In mid-January I was nauseous after dinner and really ran out of food.”
Still thinking it was just the effects of the virus, Sinead put off seeing anyone for her symptoms.
The turning point came around January 21 when Sinead woke up with a fever of 41°C and was delirious.
Rob insisted they had to go to A&E as he feared Sinead had sepsis and she was taken to a hospital in Ibiza where tests were carried out.
Sinead said: “I thought it was just an infection or a long covid and wanted them to just give me antibiotics so I can go home but they told me they had to find out what the infection was.”
After four days, doctors decided to do a bone marrow biopsy because of her unexplained fever.
Two hours later, the doctor came back to tell her the result.
Sinead said, “She just said, ‘You have acute leukemia.’
“Everything just went white and my ears were ringing. It felt like my brain stopped and I couldn’t understand anything she was saying to me.
“Then I just had this overwhelming feeling that I wanted to live. I can’t explain what that’s like.”
Sinead booked the next flight home to the UK to be treated at the Royal Berkshire Hospital near her home in Reading.
Her mum, dad and sister picked her up at the airport to take her straight to the hospital while Rob gathered her belongings in Ibiza.
Sinead said, “I just closed my eyes and my sister was holding my hand because Rob still wasn’t back.”
Sinead was told she had acute lymphoblasts leukemia – which happened to be the same type her cousin suffered from 10 years earlier.
It is a rare type of leukaemia, diagnosed in around 790 people in the UK each year, but is the most common type of childhood leukemia.
The disease causes the bone marrow to release white blood cells before they are ready, causing patients to increase in number prone to infection.
Sinead said: “Covid is my savior to bring this to light… I think it may have helped seeing things very early on for me.”
A drop in red blood cells also causes symptoms such as pale skin, tiredness, unusual bleeding such as a nosebleed, high fever, and a purple rash.
Sinead started chemotherapy but still couldn’t see Rob because she was in isolation.
She said: “It was difficult but the nurses with me were amazing. They cut my long blonde hair when this came out.”
Sinead wanted to do something to keep herself occupied and make a difference while she was going through chemo and decided to start a social media campaign.
She wanted to raise awareness for charities that support people with blood cancer and raise money for the Adelaide ward where she was treated.
Her first contribution to Blood Cancer UK raised £6,000 and encouraged her to set up a JustGiving page. Within 10 days she had raised just under £10.00.
Sinead then turned to raising awareness of the Sem Cell Register, which is a database of people willing to give their stem cells to people fighting a blood disease.
Sinead said: “Right now I’m on chemotherapy and we don’t know yet if I’ll need a stem cell transplant, but I wanted to spread the word for others who are doing it.
“I asked people to sign up for both Anthony Nolan if they are under 30 or DMMS If they are over 30, share a photo of their registration on their social media and name three other people doing the same.
“It’s so easy to sign up for the register – it’s just a cheek swab, which is what we’re all used to after two years of Covid.
“The package comes in the mail, then you wipe it off and send it back. You don’t have to go anywhere.
“Once you are on the registry you can be compared to anyone who needs a donor and 90 per cent of the time you can donate the same way you donate blood. It’s not really invasive and doesn’t take a lot of time.”
Sinead has been told that she is responding well to chemotherapy, but she still has a long way to go and a transplant is not ruled out.
She is currently working with Leukemia UK to further raise awareness as her ongoing research also looks at how to develop gentler and more effective treatments for patients like her.
Visit the Leukemia UK website for more information. To register as a stem cell donor, visit Anthony Nolan for those under 30 or DKMS for those over 30.
https://www.thesun.ie/health/8576377/i-thought-fever-cough-covid-but-truth-cancer/ I attributed my cough and fever to Covid, but my world stopped when I found out the devastating truth