Dorothy B, aged 75
“We can deal with this.”
I was diagnosed with PV in early July 2020 and although I was a bit shocked at the news, I was assured by my specialist: “We can deal with this.”
Prior to my diagnosis, during a weekend at the end of May, I had been feeling confused and my speech was muddled. My husband thought it was a migraine, but when we filled in the online form for our GP surgery, we were told to ring 111, and they sent a paramedic to our house. They ran some checks and said that I should be admitted to the Stroke Unit. A CT scan that evening confirmed that I had suffered a stroke. Until that weekend, I had experienced no symptoms or signs that anything was wrong.
The following morning, I had a very bad headache, and the hospital performed an MRI and another CT scan over the next couple of days. Blood tests showed that my red blood cells were too high, so I had a venesection. When I was discharged from hospital a couple of days later, I was prescribed aspirin, clopidogrel, lansoprazole, and atorvastatin. I also had weekly venesections, and took hydroxycarbamide. I have a follow up at my local haematology department with blood tests every 2 to 3 months, and phone calls if I have any concerns or questions, which is very helpful.
My haematology department suggested that I contact MPN Voice, and this has also been really helpful, as I feel that I’m part of a group if I need some advice.
I feel tired sometimes, but I walk our golden labrador, Poppy, at least once a day for an hour or so, and I enjoy gardening and going out for coffee and lunches with friends. I also make sure I eat a healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables.
I have told a few very close friends and family about my diagnosis. My consultant gave me the following very good advice: “Don’t think of this as being in front of you, put it on the back of your shoulder.” I find having cool showers and using only a soft sponge and carefully drying my legs stops the “itchy legs”. Sometimes my lower legs feel tight and heavy, but I find raising them up on a couple of cushions is helpful.
Overall I feel well and healthy and enjoy life every day! I have great support from my husband and also have two lovely daughters and four grandchildren.