My name is Michael Bower, I am a 63 yr old male. I was diagnosed with MDS in September 2016. Having had trouble with my blood count after an operation (a total knee replacement) I was sent to see a haematologist who sent me for a bone marrow biopsy.
This showed that I had myelodysplastic syndrome with multi-lineage displasia, which means it affects both red and white cells plus my platelets.

Michael Bower

I am on ‘watch & wait.’ I have bloods taken every month and see my consultant every 3 months

I have always followed a healthy lifestyle: in my younger years I played football, golf and some athletics, I later turned to fell running, a sport limited to the North of England due to the hilly and some areas mountainous terrain. It was a sport I enjoyed and occasionally excelled in.
I did smoke in my early 20’s while having an occasional drink, and to this day I still have the odd glass of IPA ale which I enjoy.
I have come to terms with my illness and it’s possible prognosis, the hospital I attend which is Burnley General have me on ‘watch & wait.’ I have bloods taken every month and see my consultant every 3 months, I am always willing to help other sufferers to help them understand the problems that can arise.

Michael Bower 2

I call it "the condition" as I hate using the “C” word

The condition has caused me other problems.

I had a swollen lymph gland at the top of my right leg, not long after the knee replacement. They surgically removed it in case of further cancerous cells being present. It was all clear but, due to now having a blockage to my lymphatic system, I now have to wear class 2 pressure socks to keep swelling at bay. Not nice things to wear... some days the pain is unbearable. I live on painkillers!!

It's important for me to make other people understand the ‘condition’ - that’s what I call it as I hate using the “C” word.

Because I have not been given chemo or radiography and not suffered hair loss, they seem to think there’s nothing up and I’ve actually been called a liar!!

I have always been an active person and I still carry on

As I have always been an active person I still carry on by going to a local gym to keep myself moving and it helps keep the weight at bay and lifting and pushing weights is good for building up your bone density which is good for MDS. I would recommend it to everyone suffering the same thing as me, I also have some good friends at the gym who help me through the good times and the bad.

Exercising property means you will follow a proper diet too, because of this I have now decided I would like to make some funds for the MDS UK support group.

My target is to try and get myself fit enough to run in next years London Marathon - as an athlete I have a sub 2hrs 40mins for a marathon time so I know what I’ve got coming to me as far as training goes although I do expect to be a lot slower!! If I am unable to get my self fit enough for a marathon there are other avenues open to me.

If you are reading this, your goals do not need to be as big, sponsored walks, cycling, no matter how far, will help you feel a lot better within yourself and help the MDS UK organisation.

Many Thanks for your time reading this and I truly hope it’s given you some encouragement.

This article was first published in our Newsletter No10 on June 2019

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