A mum whose nosebleeds turned out to be a sign she had a rare and incurable form of cancer has shared her devastation at the shock diagnosis.
Fergie Aktar, 51, initially thought her symptoms would clear up on their own when she started feeling more tired than usual.
But then her nose “wouldn’t stop bleeding” and she sought medical help – and was horrified to learn she had multiple myeloma, a rare and incurable type of cancer.
Fergie, who is on chemotherapy to prolong her life, told Edinburgh Live she is now “‘living every day as it comes”.
She visited her GP and after tests, she was told that she has a high level of inflammation in her blood.
After more tests, she was sent to a general surgeon who was very concerned by her symptoms.
She added: “When I explained my symptoms he had this look of horror on his face.
“He said he wanted more specialist tests and a urine sample and a CT scan from my head all the way to my torso.”
Within three days Fergie received a call to come into the hospital where she was told that she had a diagnosis of multiple myeloma – an incurable cancer of the bone marrow.
“I said are you sure you haven’t made a mistake,” Fergie recalled.
“He told me no and you need to get started on chemotherapy now or you will have three months to live.”
Fergie said the first signs of trouble came when she began slipping up with “silly” mistakes at work that she wouldn’t normally make.
Colleagues became concerned and she started to lose weight and get bleeding from her ears as well.
Fergie was offered a stem cell transplant after gruelling chemo, but unfortunately, it failed. She will now remain on chemotherapy to help prolong her life until it stops working.
After her diagnosis, Fergie was told to visit Maggie’s Cancer care centre at the Western General hospital, who offer support to people who’ve been diagnosed with cancer.
Fergie also attends a walking group every week which has really helped her to deal with the stress of her health issues.
But she says the diagnosis has given her a newfound appreciation for the small things in life.
“I appreciate life so much more now and appreciate the littlest things, but now even something like a walk – I cherish,” Fergie said.
“Maggie’s has been fantastic and I’ve met so many friends.
“My family has also really supported me and I told them don’t live my cancer, but they have got me through this.”