Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

My Cancer's So Rare, I Hadn't Even Heard of It. but I'm Not Going to Let It Ruin My Life

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

My Cancer's So Rare, I Hadn't Even Heard of It. but I'm Not Going to Let It Ruin My Life

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVE ROBSON

MOST people don't know what it is - but when Linzi Holdsworth was diagnosed with myeloma, it turned her life upside down.

The word is often mistaken for melanoma - a malignant skin tumour - but myeloma is a relatively rare blood cancer that develops in the bone marrow's plasma cells.

And when Redcar mum-of-two Linzi was diagnosed with it, it shook her and her family to the core.

But now, after intensive treatment and a stem cell transplant, Linzi, 37, is in remission and determined to live to the full. She's also eager to spread awareness of, and raise funds for, the condition.

The alarm bells started ringing before Christmas when Linzi, of Redcar's Mickledales estate, started getting neck pain and migraines.

As they worsened, she started to fear a brain tumour. But the reality, which was diagnosed in March, left her, process operator husband Scott, 38, and children Ben, 15, and Beth, 13, both Rye Hills School students, wondering what the future entailed.

All she knew was it usually affects people over-60, predominantly men and accounts for just 1% of cancers - but it's on the increase.

Linzi, a pharmacy technician for Clevechem Ltd at Redcar Primary Care Hospital, said: "It took us four months to get our heads around it, but then you get on with it. 97% of people asked didn't know what it was and we were among them."

With Linzi's myeloma progressing quicker than first envisaged, she started treatment in June. It included a drugs cocktail of chemotherapy, thalidomide and steroids, stomach injections and, at one stage, 80 steroid tablets in four days. Then, with the myeloma "unreadable", she could have a crucial stem cell transplant, coupled with huge doses of chemotherapy, at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital.

It knocked her for six - but with age and good health on her side, the procedure went "absolutely brilliantly - everything has gone to plan".

Linzi's mum Marilyn Tilburn said watching her daughter suffer was harrowing. …

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