I was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia in 2010, but the disease didn’t require treatment until 2015, when I was referred to Professor Peter Hillmen. That first appointment at St James’s University Hospital was the moment I felt I actually understood the disease and what was happening to me.
Professor Hillmen offered me the opportunity to take part in a clinical trial which would involve having a different treatment to standard chemotherapy, something which definitely appealed. I’ve felt very comfortable with my decision to take part right from the start, as the research team gave me all the information I needed to prepare for the trial, including what side effects to look out for.
The trial involves more visits to hospital than would be the case with normal treatment, but I feel it’s worth it. The research team can’t do enough for you, they make you feel really special, that you’re the only person that matters. You know you’re in safe hands.
It’s a really comfortable, friendly and supportive place to be. It’s like you’re part of a club and everyone is on first name terms. And the whole team has a sense of humour, from the reception desk onwards.
I started the trial in February 2016 and will be on regular IV treatments in hospital for the first six months, then on tablets for three years. I’ve not had too many side effects, just a slight nausea, so I’ve felt well enough to continue my job at a removal company and refereeing rugby matches, which I do in my spare time.
I definitely think I made the right decision to take part in the trial and would recommend it to others in my position without reservation.