Brave West Lothian women discovers back pain is actually deadly blood cancer – Daily Record

Posted: January 9, 2021 at 2:48 am

A brave West Lothian mum was floored after doctors found her sciatica pain was actually a symptom of a deadly blood cancer which had hollowed out her bones.

Judith Green had suffered from back pain on several occasions over the last 10 years but was repeatedly told it was likely due to a trapped nerve and would resolve itself.

The 42-year-olds pain became too much in June 2019 when she woke screaming in the middle of the night before repeatedly vomiting blood over the next two days.

She took herself to St Johns Hospital in Livingston where doctors soon made the shock diagnosis of myeloma cancer which had left her kidneys functioning at only 15 per cent.

The mum-of-two was told that the condition - which normally affects men over the age of 60 - was incurable but doctors hoped to extend her life through various treatments.

She underwent a stem cell transplant with her own cells in January 2019 but was heartbroken when medics revealed the cancer had returned just seven months later.

The former waitress has vowed to keep fighting so she can meet her future grandchildren and is urging people to register as stem cell donors in a bid to save more lives.

She explained: I remember thinking but its just a sore back. I had never heard of myeloma before I got diagnosed with it.

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 per cent 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 deep frozen before being transplanted back into the mum-of-two in January this year - a move which they hoped would buy her at least 18 more 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.

They then discovered Judith had sepsis and MRSA and having no immune system and blood cancer, Judith said she was the sickest she had ever been.

She continued: 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.

Judith continued: 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.

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.

To find out more about stem cell donation for those aged under 30 visit https://www.anthonynolan.org/.

Those over 30 can visit https://www.dkms.org.uk/en.

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Brave West Lothian women discovers back pain is actually deadly blood cancer - Daily Record

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