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A WOMAN who experienced a classic case of itchy skin was shocked when she received a life threatening diagnosis.
Errin Shaw, 30, had been burdened minor skin issues for months before facing crippling pain at a festival in Glasgow, last year – which made her think she'd been stabbed.
She was rushed to Glasgow Royal Infirmary and just four hours later was told she had grey zone lymphoma, a rare form of the disease that affects the immune system.
Errin, from Renfrewshire, Scotland, had been dealing with itchy skin for months before being diagnosed in September – and was told she wouldn't live to see Christmas.
She underwent gruelling chemotherapy which consisted of 24-hour bags for five days, before coming off it for seven to 14 days.
Dose-adjusted e-poch chemotherapy is a chemotherapy combination used to treat certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
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This regime continued five times with only ten days during an eight-month period that Errin wasn't in the Beatson Cancer Centre due to the complexity of her treatment.
Errin said: "I was at TRNSMT in Glasgow Green, we were listening to Snow Patrol, and I actually thought I was having a heart attack.
"I turned to my husband Graeme and said 'have I been stabbed?' and he said no, so my mum picked us up."
Her mum took Errin straight to the Glasgow Royal and within four hours she was tragically diagnosed with cancer.
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"I was there for three or four nights then I went straight to the Beatson – so I never went home from TRNSMT for a month.
"I had 606 hours of dose-adjusted e-poch chemo – it's not the most straight forward chemo," she explained.
"I was hooked up for five days in a row to my chemotherapy. I had that regime five times."
In June this year Errin got a call from her cancer nurse to say her scans were clear and she was in remission.
Errin said: "My phone rang and it was the Beatson.
"Every time my phone rang and it said 'Beatson' I'd always look at whoever I was with and say 'get my bag packed' because we knew it meant I was going back in.
"It was my lymphoma nurse, Michelle, and she said: 'I can't wait until your appointment on Monday to tell you this news. We've actually had to triple check it because we can't believe your PET scan's clear'.
"She said there was no detection of disease at that present moment," she added.
"As you can imagine that was out the blue and from last year being told I wasn't going to make the Christmas to being told that.
"It was a crazy moment," Errin said.
Beatson Cancer Charity is launching its Bauble Appeal this Christmas to ensure more patients and their families are supported.
Errin has since held a ball called the 'Gingie Ball' to celebrate her being in remission, which raised £5,375 for Beatson Cancer Charity.
She also plans to visit the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre on Christmas Day to hand out gifts to patients after experiencing being in the wards last Christmas.
What are the signs and symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma?
Signs and symptoms of the disease may include;
- Abdominal pain or swelling
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits or groin
- Chest pain, breathing difficulties or coughing
- Persistent fatigue
- Fevers or night sweats
- Unexplained weight loss
The only way to confirm a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is via a biopsy.
Source: NHS England
Erin said: "There aren't words for the Beatson, I wouldn't be here without them.
"We've obviously raised thousands for the Beatson because being in there you experience firsthand just how amazing they are, they're phenomenal.
"I can't talk highly enough about them – from the auxiliaries to the porters to the café ladies.
"When you ring the bell and the whole café team cheer you on, the fundraisers who helped with my ball – everyone just wants you to do well when you go in there."
Rachel Mullin, campaigns officer at Beatson Cancer Charity, said: "We are delighted to be launching our Bauble Appeal with the support of some patients and family members who have been kind enough to share their story.
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"They all have first-hand experience of the Beatson and the difference our charity's services make to patients.
She added: "We would be grateful for any support you can offer us this Christmas so we can continue to be there for patients and families across the west of Scotland."
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