I went from climbing a munro to being diagnosed with cancer, going to doc early saved my life
MUNRO-bagger Graeme Clark knew he’d have a mountain to climb when it came to cancer – but getting an early diagnosis was vital in his recovery.
The 35-year-old went from feeling fit and healthy to needing a bone marrow transplant after suffering a series of symptoms which weren’t normal for him and being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia.
Graeme went to the GP when he suffered unusual symptoms
And he says getting seen quickly saved his life.
Graeme said: “Acute myeloid leukaemia is a cancer that sneaks up on people and catches up with them very quickly.
“Apart from the symptoms that prompted me to get checked, I felt pretty normal – I’d climbed a Munro the week before and been on holiday. Had I not visited the GP when I did, I dread to think how many days I had left.”
The art director is speaking out as The Scottish Government launches a new campaign encouraging people to ‘be the early bird’ if they have symptoms they think could be cancer.
Experts are urging Scots to contact their GP practice if they have unusual, persistent symptoms that are not normal for them – which is exactly what Graeme did.
He went from playing football and working hard to sleeping for 12 hours and struggling to get out of bed because he felt so exhausted.
At the same time he developed red freckles on his arms and noticed his gums were bleeding – something that had never happened before.
Then he woke up in agony days after a minor injury to his ankle, which was red and had swollen to the size of a tennis ball.
He saw his GP who took bloods and then drove the samples to hospital, so they could be tested urgently.
Hours later, Graeme, then 29, and his wife, Nic, received a call from the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, asking him to go in immediately.
There doctors said they thought he had blood cancer, a diagnosis confirmed two days later after a bone marrow biopsy confirmed he had acute myeloid leukaemia and he started chemotherapy that night.
Graeme, of Leith,…