Carole celebrates her journey through blood disease at Light the Night
Former University of Western Australia research assistant, Carole Bartlett chose not to ‘watch and wait’ after being diagnosed with a rare blood disease, AL Amyloidosis in mid-2011.
Carole visited her GP after noticing changes in her hair and nails, tiredness, some weakness in her arms and losing a bit of weight – “not something I’d go to the doctor for on their own”.
After some abnormal test results, she was referred on to a renal physician and then a haematologist who confirmed her diagnosis as AL Amyloidosis affecting primarily the kidneys.
“Being in medical research, I wanted to find out as much as possible about the disease, and I had access to research journals and scientific papers, which I delved into,” said Carole.
After her diagnosis, Carole contacted the Leukaemia Foundation and was put in touch with a patient advocate in Brisbane who specialised in support for people with this disease.
“She became my life jacket, keeping my head above the water. She was always at the end of the phone line, gave me family counselling, information and perspective. In fact, she completely changed my life.
Carole is now eight years post-stem cell transplant and has been feeling “better and better” with every year that passes. Every year since, Carole and her family have attended Light the Night to mark her blood cancer journey and celebrate her recovery. “It is also an opportunity to give something back to the Leukaemia Foundation by fundraising and raising awareness”.
“It’s the whole atmosphere of the night and seeing this community of people, many at different stages of their disease, come together. It’s very special”.
“Also such a lovely opportunity to have the carers and families there, it’s as much their journey as their loved one who has blood cancer.
“I would really encourage everyone to attend who has been touched by blood cancer – it’s a fantastic, joyful event.”
“The research the event supports is also so important as it’s the only way we can make progress towards earlier diagnosis and better treatments,” said Carole.
Image: Carole Bartlett, right, celebrating Light the Night Perth 2017 with her family
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