Retired bus driver Brian Mellor, 80, from Blackpool, was found unable to move last year after bending down to wash his hands – he has since been diagnosed with cancer
A retired bus driver nearly died after his incurable blood cancer went undiagnosed for 10 years after his symptoms were put down to old age.
Brian Mellor, 80, from Blackpool, couldn’t move after his femur and hip had split open for “no logical reason”.
Brian’s daughter, Alyson Yates, 47, and husband Alan are planning weekly gigs throughout March to raise money for Myeloma UK which funds research into a cure which almost claimed her father’s life last year, reports Lancashire Live.
Doctors had reportedly dismissed Brian’s previous symptoms, aches and pains as old age. Tests continued to return negative and the family felt nobody could explain what was wrong with him.
Brian was found ‘unable to move’ on May 21 last year after bending down to wash his hands.
“Little did we know that our world was about to be blown apart,” Alyson said.
“My dad was suddenly unable to move and we had to call an ambulance. It came to light that my dad’s femur and hip had split open but there was no logical reason for this; he hadn’t banged himself or had a fall.
“On the May 25 after much investigation it came to light that my dad had myeloma and was very poorly. He wasn’t even awake so I couldn’t tell him how much I loved him and that he had to fight.”
The next day, Alyson said she had to discuss a do-not-resuscitate order with her father’s consultant.
“What a shocker,” she said, “we only found out about the cancer the day before and he only came into hospital 4 days before that. How can things be this bad so quick?”
May 27 was “one of the worst days of our life”, Alyson continued.
“We got a call to say come in, Dad wasn’t going to be pulling through, and would not make the weekend. To this point we had all been restricted to seeing my dad because of Covid but now we were allowed to be by his side.
“I cannot emphasize what a shock this week had been to us all. How quick the tide had turned in our life. What I can tell you is from my own point of view the heart-breaking pain I felt, I’d never felt pain like it and it was like I could not breathe and my world had crashed into a million pieces.
“Sadly, a lot of families go through this journey leading to their diagnosis. Another reason why knowledge, awareness, training and earlier diagnosis is so important.”
Myeloma is an incurable blood cancer that occurs in the bone marrow. It currently affects more than 24,000 people in the UK. On average, 16 people are diagnosed with Myeloma every day in the UK.
Alyson said: “My dad had fallen sick in October 2020 and despite many tests ran nothing came to light. Even a few weeks before May 21st, Dad had more tests done and still nothing had shown up, even in the blood tests for cancer.
“Going back through my dad’s medical history it is now thought that his myeloma could go back 10 years when it was at the ‘smouldering’ stage but right up to him being hospitalized nothing ever came to light.
“The myeloma had remained undetected. Another reason why a better diagnosis system needs to be found.”
Despite being told he had just days to live, Brian went home in July – a day that Alyson says is one they “never thought we would see.”
Brian is said to have responded well to chemotherapy – but the damage done to his body cannot be reversed.
“He is on chemotherapy every day to give him some extra time.
“Another difficult side to Myeloma is that it does vary from person to person and besides the cancer, myeloma can come with many other complications. For my dad it is his heart and lungs.”
Now Alyson and husband Alan, who run Alan Yates Music, are planning to do weekly gigs throughout March this year in a bid to fund the research into a cure for Myeloma.
Alyson is immunocompromised, meaning her immune system is extremely weak and she is at higher risk of contracting Covid-19.
“Myeloma may become curable but funds are required for that and funds are required to help those in today’s society where there isn’t a cure,” she said.
She said she wanted to support Myeloma UK to help fund research into a cure and to raise awareness of Myeloma so “it doesn’t happen to anybody else. We went through a horrendous journey as a family and the thought of another family going through that… I just can’t”.
Myeloma UK is the only organization in the UK exclusively dedicated to Myeloma and its related conditions. They rely almost entirely on voluntary donations and fundraising.
Their ultimate goal is to find a cure for Myeloma and until then aim to help every patient live well with the diagnosis for as long as possible.
To find out more about myeloma and the work of Myeloma UK click here.
To visit Alyson’s GoFundMe, click here.