A mum was given one week to live after she’d noticed strange bruising – and now wants to alert others about when to get help.
Karin Manchester, from Wingate, County Durham, was about to travel to Tunisia to celebrate her 25th wedding anniversary with her husband Phil when she noticed strange bruising and booked a GP appointment, reports ChronicleLive.
The following day, the couple departed from Newcastle Airport for a two-week break – but Karin became extremely ill in the North African country.
Karin, who was then 44, said: “By the end of two weeks I was almost bedridden.
“I couldn’t pack to go home or do anything for myself.”
She added: “I couldn’t stop shaking all the time, and also noticed 5p sized bruises all over my arms and body.
“And I could hardly breathe.
“I self-diagnosed pneumonia.
“I’m a nurse, but in retrospect I still didn’t understand what was wrong with me.”
On her return to the UK Karin was immediately driven to A and E by her son, Michael.
She was transferred to the haematology unit of North Tees University hospital where she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia.
And she was told that she had an estimate of a week to live unless chemotherapy started immediately.
She said: “I was very scared about the chemo and it burned when it went into my body.
“I peed orange for a few days.
“Two weeks after the chemo began my hair fell out I cried and cried.”
Karin, now 64, was in and out of hospital for six months but her treatment was successful and Karin went into remission.
She warned the four main signs of the cancer are fatigue, repeat infections, unusual bleeding and unexplained bruising.
Karin added: “My message to those with any strange symptoms is to demand a blood test.
“Bruising that refuses to go away, any skin changes, they’re all signs.
“I had a huge bruise on my leg in Tunisia which actually got darker rather than fading.
“Mouth ulcers that refuse to go, flu-like symptoms, a constant cough.
“The signs all add up, and they need investigating urgently because leukaemia can actually kill you in days.”