"16 years ago I was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer called Myelodysplastic Syndrome or MDS. MDS is incredibly debilitating – I live in almost constant pain, and part of the disease causes my joints to swell up and my hair to fall out."
"Despite the challenges I face every day, I still feel inspired to talk about my MDS, to share experiences with newly diagnosed patients and to let them know that life is worth living.
"Part of the reason for this is my Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), Geke. She has been a rock from the very beginning.
"Three times a year we visit a patient support group at King’s College Hospital in London. At times we deliver talks together on coping with fatigue and the demands of a fluctuating condition.
"I hope our unique double act encourages others to seek help, and in particular the support of a CNS, because Geke is truly my safety net.
"While MDS affects me every day, I know the nature of the condition makes Geke’s job difficult too. Patients get very poorly and die but Geke still invests her time and energy to make every single person feel special.
"I know there are challenges ahead for me. I’m losing my mobility and with it, my independence, and I’ll need a transplant soon. But no matter what MDS throws at me, I know Geke will be there to reassure me.
"My message to Geke this Nurses’ Day can be summed up in a single quote:
"'What we have done for ourselves dies with us. What we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”'