“Amazing!” That’s the word that keeps cropping up when Mohammed Hussain talks about the care he received and the staff he met at UCLH while undergoing treatment for serious blood disorders.
“From start to finish… everyone was amazing. There were times when I felt really afraid, but they were always there for me.”
There were the consultants who explained the clinical procedures thoroughly (and with kindness); the nurses who always had the time to stop for a chat and boost his spirits; the clinical nurse specialist who helped with pragmatic advice on benefits and transport arrangements and was "always there for him" when at his lowest ebb and the transport drivers who cheered him up with their positive vibes. “Amazing!”
Until his initial diagnosis, Mohammed described his life as "carefree and happy".
Then aged 23 he was diagnosed with Aplastic Anaemia, a rare and potentially life-threatening blood disorder in which the body fails to make enough red cells, platelets and white blood cells because of damaged bone marrow. “I had been feeling a bit dizzy, was losing blood from my mouth and deep bruises had appeared on my arms. I knew something wasn’t right, but I still felt pretty fit and had been doing weightlifting at the gym the day before.”
“When I was told I was ill I thought ‘why me?’ I was in shock.”
In 2008 - on his 24th birthday - he underwent a successful Anti–Thymoglobuline transfusion at University College Hospital. This aims to suppress the Immune Activity that causes damage or prevents the recovery of the Bone marrow stem cells. This takes some months to improve the Bone Marrow function, but once he recovered he restarted his job as a sales manager. Sadly his symptoms re-occurred again and it was discovered he had
Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML).
"As soon as I get the all-clear to travel from the doctors I would love to go to Dubai. I’m going to enjoy my life – and go with the flow."
Last year he underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy at the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre. As a day care patient, he was able to stay overnight at the Cotton Rooms, a bright and welcoming patient hotel just a stone’s throw from the hospital. A few months later his consultant advised him to undergo a bone marrow transplant.
“I have two brothers and sisters and my older brother Joyale rushed back from Bangladesh where he was on holiday. What a brother I have! He was a perfect donor match. My brother is my hero. He quite literally helped to save my life.”
The four hour operation – on his 30th birthday last September– was a success. Now Mohammed is planning his future. “As soon as I get the all-clear to travel from the doctors I would love to go to Dubai. I’m going to enjoy my life – and go with the flow.
“Thanks to everyone who helped me at UCLH – you’ve been amazing!”