Grant's story

I first started feeling unwell in October 2017. I kept getting colds, lost my appetite, and had a constant cough with shortness of breath. My GP initially diagnosed a chest infection but antibiotics didn’t help. Large red bruises appeared on my body and further tests showed I was anaemic and had pneumonia. I was sent to Whipps Cross Hospital for urgent treatment and more tests, and a few days later they diagnosed me with multiple myeloma.

I found it very hard to deal with the initial diagnosis. I was transferred to Barts Hospital to start my cancer treatment and had some counselling sessions at the Maggie’s Centre there, which really helped. By September 2018 I had gone into remission. That was fantastic news, obviously, but it came with its own challenges. I lost the ‘comfort blanket’ of regular support and assessment from the staff at Barts and found it difficult being solely responsible for my own care.

I had another block of counselling sessions, this time with the cancer psychology team at Barts, and then again when the myeloma returned in April 2019. I still have quite severe health anxiety, but there is a treatment hotline I can call 24/7, which is a real comfort. I’ve also had support from Macmillan with information, a financial grant and some complementary massage therapy.

Despite the issues I’ve had, I’m determined not to let myeloma dictate my life. I’m now back at work, with one day off a week to have treatment, and performing with my am-dram company. I’ve also written and performed my own solo comedy show at the Edinburgh and Brighton Fringe festivals. I’m still with my partner Christian, who I’d only been dating for a few months before my diagnosis, and he, and all my family and friends have been so wonderful and understanding. My work has also been very supportive throughout my entire journey for which I am eternally grateful.

Myeloma is unusual in people under 50, especially men, and I was 48 when I was diagnosed. I hope that my story can help anyone in a similar situation who feels lost and caught up in what they think is a lose-lose situation. I’m living with myeloma on a day-to-day basis and looking for my next challenge, whatever that may be.

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