A West Lothian mum has spoken about fighting for her life after her sciatica was diagnosed as blood cancer which had "hollowed out" her bones.
Judith Green, from West Lothian, had complained of back pain over the previous 10 years but was reassured by doctors that it was a trapped nerve which would heal itself.
But in April 2019 Judith woke up in the middle of the night screaming before vomitting blood, the Daily Record reports.
Doctors at St Johns Hospital in Livingston later diagnosed Judith with myeloma cancer which had left her kidneys functioning at just 15 per cent.
The condition, which usually affects men over 60, is incurable, doctors told Judith, but there was hope her life could be extended with treatment.
After undergoing a stem cell transplant in January, Judith was left devastated when medics said the cancer had returned just seven months later.
But the former waitress has said she will keep fighting as she urged people to register as potential stem cell donors.
She explained: Ill never forget the look on my partner Stevens face when the doctor said those words - youve got cancer and it's incurable.
His eyes just went massive and he had a terrified look on his face.
I remember thinking but its just a sore back. I had never heard of myeloma before I got diagnosed with it.
When you tell people, they think its melanoma - skin cancer - but its not.
Even now, I dont even fully understand exactly what it is - I just take it a day at a time. But I wasnt expecting the news to be so drastic, so quickly into this journey.
I 100 per cent thought I was going to hospital that day because I had sciatica. With myeloma, it eats away at your bone marrow.
My ribs were sore but I brushed it off thinking it was my new bra digging in. When my back hurt, I thought it was the new car seat causing it.
But in reality, I had almost no bone marrow. It was 90% cancerous cells. I just made excuse after excuse but looking back I now realise that it was all part of it.
My kidneys were only working at 15 per cent which explained why I was so thirsty.
Doctors immediately started Judith on a course of chemotherapy and steroids before attempting to harvest some of her remaining bone marrow.
The first attempt was unsuccessful but the next managed to gather enough cells to provide at least three more transplants.
The cells were then frozen before she received the first transplant in January. It's hoped this could extend her life by 18 months.
But a blood test in August revealed that the myeloma had returned a lot quicker than expected meaning she now has to undergo a second transplant from a mystery donor.
She explained: I cried constantly for the first six weeks after being diagnosed. When I got home, I was too scared to go to sleep in case I never woke up.
We always knew that the myeloma would come back and I would need to go back on chemo and to get another transplant.
But we thought that it would be six months of chemo followed by around 18 months of each transplant working so all in I had another six years with my family.
We were excited for that because theres always treatments coming out. I got my first transplant on January 11 and everything was great.
I was doing so well on paper and my cancer number was going right now and I was feeling great.
But then all of sudden, they came back and said I had an infection in my hickman line.
They then discovered that I had sepsis but also MRSA - all while having no immune system and blood cancer. I was the sickest I had ever been. It was horrific.
They were hoping I would make it 18 months post transplant but they discovered in August that the cancer had returned and it had only worked for seven months.
Thats when we found out that they wouldnt be able to use my own cells again because it wasnt worth putting me through all that again.
So now Ill be going back on chemo in January and getting a transplant from a worldwide donor. Thankfully the transplant team has already found a match for me on the system.
Im really lucky that theres a match out there for me. But there are so many others, who are a lot sicker than I am, that dont have theirs yet.
The reason I wanted to speak out is to raise awareness of myeloma and stem cell donation.
You really could be giving someone a second chance at life by spitting into a tube. Back in the day it was a bone marrow transplant but now its stem cells.
Its no different from giving blood. I would just ask everyone to go have a look into it and see if they want to or are able to register.
Judith, who lives with her two sons and partner Steven, 46, added: I may not be able to do some of the things I did before like go to the cinema with the boys but Im still here.
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And I hope to be here long enough to see my grandkids. I know Ill keep fighting after that to see them grow up then. But for now, its just taking each day as it comes.
Those aged under 30 can find out more about stem cell donation by visiting Anthony Nolan here. People over 30can visit DKMS by clicking here.
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West Lothian mum fighting for her life after back pain turned out to be terminal blood cancer - Edinburgh Live
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