- Katherine Sinfield, 33, ran a massive online campaign after being diagnosed
- She helped boost local blood and bone marrow donations by 15 per cent
- Battle with chronic myeloid leukaemia was recorded every day without fail
11:56 GMT, 15 February 2014
15:26 GMT, 15 February 2014
A woman who kept an moving daily diary of her battle against leukaemia has told her thousands of loyal readers she is in remission.
Katherine Sinfield from Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, was diagnosed in April last year and in June she started a day-by-day account of her gruelling rounds of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, blood transfusions, drugs and a bone marrow transplant.
With the help of her husband Stephen, 34, the editor of local newspaper the Ashbourne News Telegraph, the 33-year-old’s journal appeared in print and gave her a huge following.
Within two months blood and bone marrow donors in her town had risen 15 per cent as readers were inspired by her messages of goodwill.
Scroll down for extracts from Katherine’s diary
Start chilling the champagne: Katherine Sinfield, pictured with her husband Stephen, has gone into remission from chronic myeloid leukaemia after keeping a daily diary about her battle with the illness
Achievement: She prompted a boost in blood and bone marrow donations and donated old stamps to charity
Columnist: Mrs Sinfield’s diary was published in the local newspaper where her husband (right) works
Today Mrs Sinfield, a teacher, revealed she has gone into remission – and her first act was to apologise for not saying so earlier.
‘I need to say a little “sorry” to my loyal followers,’ she wrote online. ‘Many of you will have been checking my diary on a regular basis to discover news of my clinic visit on Wednesday. The news was exceptionally pleasing – I am in remission.
Trial: Her diary included the problems of wearing a wedding dress without medical lines showing
‘As I continue to be the face of leukaemia and stem cell donor campaigns across much of Staffordshire and Derbyshire, we agreed not to reveal the news until today.
‘It’s too early to pop the Champagne corks as further tests are still needed on the bone marrow biopsy, but it’s safe to say that the Champagne can go in the fridge to start chilling.
‘I’m still a regular visitor to the hospital and this will continue for years as leukaemia can be a tricky customer.
‘The first two years following a transplant are important, as statistics show that if the leukaemia is going to return at any time, it is most likely to happen within the first two years.
‘Once I reach the five-year remission milestone, it’s fairly safe to say that I am fully cured’.
news came 100 days after Mrs Sinfield had a bone marrow transplant from
a German donor in a bid to beat her disease, which is known as chronic
myeloid leukaemia (CML).
diary included battling the disease to go to a wedding, struggling to
put up Christmas decorations, watching her hair fall out and pledging a
new year’s resolution to give back to cancer charities in 2014.
though she is in remission, Mrs Sinfield is still suffering from
various conditions including Graft versus Host Disease, which happens
when her body attacks the donor bone marrow cells.
Symptoms include a sore mouth, stinging legs and patches of dry skin and will need regular hospital treatment.
She said: ‘It’s going to be a very long and complicated road back to full health, but at least I am currently free of leukaemia.’
Katherine, 33, said: ‘It’s too early to pop the Champagne corks as further tests are still needed on the bone marrow biopsy, but it’s safe to say that the Champagne can go in the fridge to start chilling’
Illness: Mrs Sinfield had chronic myeloid leukaemia, which affects around 600 people a year in Britain
Around 600 people a year in Britain are diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia.
Unlike other forms of the illness, it is not common in children and develops very slowly so sufferers can take a long time to realise they are ill, or what their condition is.
It occurs when patients have too many abnormal white blood cells called granulocytes, which build up in the spleen and bone marrow and prevent usual levels of blood cells from being produced.
The condition can be treated in some people with a bone marrow transplant, but donor matches are much harder to find than with blood.
Health authorities have to campaign hard for people to sign the register, which is run by the Anthony Nolan charity.
BATTLING LEUKAEMIA ONE DAY AT A TIME: SOME OF KATHERINE’S DIARY
Inspiration: Katherine Sinfield (pictured) kept the diary since June last year
Monday, June 24, 2013 (first entry): Admitted to hospital
Following my appointment with Professor Craddock last Wednesday, I was told to arrive today with my overnight bag packed. At my appointment today, Professor Craddock told me that the results from the bone marrow test showed I was in blast crisis phase and so I was admitted to ward 625. I was assigned to a private room and was given a tour of the ward and visited by the doctor. Tests were taken for MRSA and HIV.
Saturday, July 6
The weather looks hot outside and as I am expecting more visitors than usual today, I enquire about venturing out of the ward. As I am still neutropenic the risk is too great to venture out of the ward and so the only sun I see today is that shining through my sixth floor window.
Sunday, July 14
It’s taken a while, but I am now fairly confident that my hair is starting to fall out.
It’s not falling out by the hand full, but loose strands of my long locks are starting to depart at fairly frequent intervals. I may be lucky and it may just gradually start to thin, or it may fall out altogether – either way, I have wigs, a bandanna and hats at the ready.
Wednesday, August 14
This was has been my first full day at home since June 24. But despite being home, my medical treatment continues. The district nurse arrived to check and change my dressings first thing and then my day revolved around a timetable of tablets, creams and medicines. I managed to venture outdoors to the convenience store but this was quite a challenge – I’m not used to walking more than 50 metres at any one time. It’s going to take a while before my energy levels return to normal.
Saturday, September 14
Today was a very rare change for me – we went off to London for a wedding. The Houses of Parliament to be precise. Of course I had to be armed with a bag full of medicines and my emergency medical card just in case I was taken ill, but we made it. Choosing what to wear is now made increasingly tricky because of my Hickman Line – anything too low-cut and you can see the dressing over where the tubes protrude. A new technique of hair nets and hair clips also meant that I managed to wear my wig and a hat all day – and until I told them, nobody even knew it was a wig. There comes a time when people ask you where you had your hair done, that you have to break it to them that it came out of a box.
Tuesday, October 29 – Day Zero
The day has come – the day when I am going to receive my stem cell transplant. It’s funny in life how certain dates attract a lot of activity and October 29 is one of those dates for us. Not only is October 29 the day I am due to receive my cells, it would also be my late mother’s birthday, my late brother-in-law’s birthday, and was also the day when one of my aunts died. Unfortunately, storm St Jude had made its way over to Germany and was playing havoc with the flights. My cells did arrive in the ward on October 29 – at around 11pm – but it was just after midnight when they were finally up on the drip stand.
Sunday, December 1
Today is the day when we would normally decorate the house in preparation for Christmas. We have a few decorations in place, but nothing to the scale as it usually is because I do not have the energy and there is only so much one person can do on their own. Instead of ‘decking the halls’ in a single day, I think it will be done over several days or even weeks.
Tuesday, December 31
As today marks the end of another year, it fills me with optimism for the year to come. This past year hasn’t been particularly joyous – with the bombshell of discovering I had leukaemia being dropped in April. 2014 will certainly be the year when we do all we can to help the charities which have supported me in one way or another through a troublesome 2013.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
I need to say a little ‘sorry’ to my loyal followers. Many of you will have been checking my diary on a regular basis to discover news of my clinic visit on Wednesday. The news was exceptionally pleasing – I am in remission. As I continue to be the face of leukaemia and stem cell donor campaigns across much of Staffordshire and Derbyshire, we agreed not to reveal the news until today.
Extracts courtesy of Katherine Sinfield. For the full diary and details of fundraising visit katherines-story.com.