A Falkirk woman is calling for more awareness of blood cancer after receiving a devastating diagnosis during lockdown.
Sarah Barron, 48, was told that she had Myeloma back in 2020.
The yoga teacher had squatted down to feed her cat and felt something pop in her back, followed by agonizing pain.
She was rushed to hospital where medics found a fluid-filled tumor had crushed one of her vertebrae.
She was diagnosed with Myeloma, a type of blood cancer, that develops from cells in the bone marrow called plasma cells.
Sarah was in such severe agony she couldn’t stand and had to crawl to the living room and shout for help following the incident.
She said: “I couldn’t move so I crawled to the living room, shouted and eventually a relative heard me and I was taken away in an ambulance to the hospital.
“It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life.
She had been experiencing increasingly debilitating lower back pain for over six weeks but thought nothing of it until her diagnosis.
“I had a tumor pressing on my vertebrae,” she continued.
“I had not heard of myeloma.
“Prior to all this my mum had died of cancer in the January – we had had a pretty bad run of things.
“There’s no cure for my cancer, they can only control it. It’s difficult.
“Initially I wasn’t able to get around because of my fractured vertebrae but exercising after my first stem cell transplant has helped.”
Looking back, Sarah thinks she may have had symptoms for a decade, including night sweats which started when she was just 37.
Sarah received her first stem cell transplant in July 2021.
She added: “With stem cell transplants your immune system goes back to nothing so I’ve not been really seeing people.
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“Obviously, it’s not helped with COVID around – it’s very isolating. There’s people in my family I’ve not seen for years at this point.
“People are worried about making you sick.”
Sarah responded well to treatment until the end of last year when she was due to receive a second stem cell transplant but it was halted due to the pandemic.
“I can’t think about the second stem cell transplant because there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s just the fact that you’ve lost that opportunity,” she said.
Unfortunately, Sarah’s cancer has now returned and she is back on chemotherapy.
She’s now keen to help raise awareness of the impact a delay in diagnosis can have on patients’ quality of life and ensure others are spared unnecessary pain and potentially avoidable complications.
According to research by the charity Myeloma UK 49% of patients with a delayed diagnosis suffered a high impact on their quality of life.