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perimenopause or something else

If In Doubt, Always See the GP: Perimenopause Or Something Else? 

TLDR: We chat to Deb, Founder of British Boxers, about her experience which could have been life threatening. Was it perimenopause or something else? It’s always so important to be aware of your body and any changes. Here’s her shocking story… 

My Story: Perimenopause Or Something Else? 

If in doubt… see your GP! I know it sounds ridiculous to advise that, but 3 years ago I was 46. I was tired, I kept waking with night sweats. You know the drill. 

Perimenopause symptoms, right? In my case, wrong. 

perimenopause or something else

What had accompanied these symptoms of menopause were a couple of other markers I’d ignored.

There was a gnawing pain under my left ribs. It felt like I had a small cut inside my tummy and then something else: whenever we got in the car, my left arm hurt. 

It was so bad that my husband and I would argue. I’d be saying to him, “We need to sell the car and get a new one. The side of the car is pushing into my arm and it’s really hurting inside my arm.” 

He adjusted the seat and the seatbelt and was getting quite frustrated because he was adamant that you could move your seat to not affect your arm.

I eventually went to see the GP. 

I don’t even think I mentioned to her about my arm or the night sweats. I mentioned the pain in my tummy and feeling tired. I asked “is it perimenopause or something else?”

She sent me up to the local cottage hospital for a blood test. I thought nothing of it until that afternoon when I’d gone back to work I got a phone call from a haematologist at the city hospital.

“Mrs. Price, I hate to do this over the phone but due to Covid restrictions I need to. We think you have a form of leukaemia. You need to come to the city hospital now. But try not to panic, if it’s the one we think it is there’s medicine and you should have a normal lifespan.”

perimenopause or something else

I honestly tried not to panic. 

I own the nightwear company British Boxers so I bought a pair of pyjamas from stock – making sure they were our gorgeous breathable cotton. I phoned my husband who ran down to my office and he took me to the hospital. 

A couple of days and a biopsy later, a diagnosis of Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia was confirmed.

The consultant prescribed oral inhibitor meds. They knock the leukaemia back so that it’s always there but in such a tiny amount it’s as if it wasn’t. 

20 years ago he’d have given me 3 years. Today he’s giving me a normal life. I considered myself extremely lucky.

It turns out the pain in my tummy was my spleen storing a massive amount of cancerous white blood cells, the pain in my arm was my poorly bone marrow, the peri-menopausal night sweats (or so I thought) turned out to be the leukaemia night sweats.

The meds have saved me physically but my work has saved me mentally. 

The week before my diagnosis we’d just signed a contract with John Lewis. It’s what I’d wanted for years. I remember the consultant coming into my room and seeing me working on my laptop.

“Mrs. Price, you need to take on board your diagnosis,” he said to me with a concerned look.

“I have,” I replied. “You’ve told me there’s medicine, I’m not dying, and I should have a normal lifespan so now I’m working out my Autumn stock for John Lewis.”

I always hold that you can’t control what goes on around you but you can control, to a certain extent, how you react to it, and that can have a really positive impact on your mental health and outlook.

3 years on and my meds are working beautifully, I enjoy going to see the consultant at the hospital for my check-ups, I love working on British Boxers with my fabulous team, and I feel older, wiser, and happier. 

I consider myself lucky to be alive and happy that I’m achieving ambitions despite the curveball thrown my way.

perimenopause or something else

About Deb, author of ‘perimenopause or something else’

I’m Deb Price. I own the nightwear and underwear company British Boxers – Knockout Undies & Nightwear (british-boxers.com). We have both men’s and women’s collections and specialise in working with the finest cottons and bamboo fabrics so that all our clothes are breathable. I love my job but managing it whilst caring for my daughter who has Williams Syndrome and also dealing with my diagnosis of Leukaemia has been a real struggle but somehow we’ve made the jumble of our lives work and I love the mish-mash of all of it. 

Readers of this blog can get 20% off british-boxers.com with the code OURREMEDY20.

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