When we receive bad news, for many of us our natural response is to feel down and shut out the world, but Pamela Armellei is instead insisting to keep on smiling.
Diagnosed with leukemia, Pamela has used instagram to not only update her friends on her treatment, but also to spread some positivity.
Speaking to Gef she said that having gone for a routine blood test, she soon found herself in hospital. ‘I can see now I had symptoms but I went from not thinking I was poorly to not 24 hours later being in a cancer centre in Liverpool and being told I have leukemia was just mental.’
She added: ‘It just seems illogical for me to be negative about what I’m going through. All the potential negative reactions aren’t useful or productive. They don’t make me or the situation better. And it’s just negative energy that I don’t need right now.
‘I have this thing that I don’t want but I’ve got it so I have to get on with it and take it a day at a time to get rid of it. It feels like a to do list. And who doesn’t love crossing off a to do list. There’s been lots of things to be positive about. It was caught early and by chance. They got me to a brand new blood cancer ward within 24 hours. I have my own en-suite room and I get waited on hand and foot by the loveliest people who are making me smile every day. I’d rather count my blessings and future goals than be upset or angry.’
If we’re honest, very few of us would know what to look for when seeing symptoms of most illnesses, let alone leukemia and when the classic symptoms such as unexplained bruises don’t appear, it can be even harder to spot.
Pamela said: ‘I thought I had a viral infection of sorts as I’d noticed my energy levels had dropped and I was getting some breathlessness but only when doing cardio exercise or other exertive activity like walking the dogs. Other than that I didn’t have any of the other leukaemia symptoms like bleeding or bruising or unexplained weight loss. I hadn’t felt anything I’d go to see my GP about.’
As Pamela’s leukaemia is aggressive, she said the treatment ‘needs to be aggressive and the chemotherapy has to all happen on site at Clatterbridge as an inpatient’.
She said: ‘I have to have four rounds of chemotherapy. The first is 10 days followed by a three to four week recovery period then they test my bone marrow again to see if it’s worked and then they wait for my neutrophil count to come back up to a satisfactory level so they can let me home for a couple of week break. Then it repeats again.
‘So each cycle lasts around six weeks and I’ll be in Clatterbridge for each one. I’m hoping to get home in between but depending on how I am and covid and other infection risks they may keep in for my first two cycles at least. We just have to wait and see.’
Because of the treatment she is receiving, Pamela’s immune system is in a very weakened state. As such she is unable to leave her ward in Liverpool for risk of catching another illness or an infection. Despite everything though, she is keeping her spirits up in what must be an incredibly difficult time that most of us can’t comprehend and we’re sure our readers would like to join all the team at Gef in extending our best wishes to Pamela and hopes she not only beats leukemia but gets home soon too.