A DAUGHTER has spoken out after spotting clues to her mum’s incurable cancer – after noticing she had shrunk by four inches.
Vicci Hughes was standing next to her mum Alison McDonald in December 2020 when she noticed her mother was now much smaller than her.
Alison was now much, much smaller than VickiCredit: SWNS
A picture from before the cancer struck shows a much less significant height differenceCredit: Justgiving.com
Gran-of-four Alison, 56, was relying on Tramadol to treat back pain which never improved – and was increasingly hunched over.
Police officer Vicci, 38, was standing next to Alison in December last year, when she noticed the disparity in height.
A tape measure showed mum-of-four Alison, from Edinburgh, had shrunk from 5ft 6in to 5ft 2in.
Mum-of-two Vicci urged Alison to get checked out and her GP referred her to A&E.
At the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, multiple unexplained fractures were spotted when an X-ray was carried out.
Alison was given a back brace, which was so uncomfortable she couldn’t wear it, as well as painkillers, and was sent home.
In April, Alison’s GP noticed she still hadn’t had any follow up and referred her back to the hospital where she then got an MRI scan, showing holes in her bones.
Samples of bone marrow led to a diagnosis of myeloma – a form of blood cancer that is treatable, but tragically not curable.
Vicci said: “The day we realised, we were in mum’s kitchen and I thought something’s not right.
“She was hunched and she’d never been hunched before.
“I said to her, ‘Mum, you’ve definitely shrunk’.
Alison is the main carer for her daughter Ashley, 24, who has Down’s Syndrome.
Vicci, from Bathgate, West Lothian, in Scotland said: “Despite everything she was telling them, they were sure it was muscular and gave her a sheet with exercises on it.
What is myeloma?
MYELOMA is a type if blood cancer that develops from plasma cells.
It forms in the bone marrow and is sometimes called multiple myeloma or myelomatosis.
Around 5,500 people are diagnosed with myeloma each year.
Sadly, while the disease is treatable, it cannot be cured.
According to the NHS, some common symptoms of myeloma include:
- a persistent bone pain, usually in the back, ribs or hips
- tiredness, weakness and shortness of breath – caused by anaemia
- high levels of calcium in the blood (hypercalcaemia) – which may cause symptoms including extreme thirst, stomach pain, needing to pee frequently, constipation or confusion
- weight loss
“If she had done those exercises, the damage she could have done could have been quite significant.”
In April 2021 Alison returned to the Western General where she was diagnosed with cancer.
In May she began daily injections in the forms of chemotherapy and in November, began stem cell harvesting.
The family hope her treatment will be completed in November so she is well enough to enjoy Christmas.
Vicci said: “My mum probably could have had her treatment sooner.
“We just have to be grateful now that we know what it is and we can do something about it.”
Dr Tracey Gillies, the medical director of NHS Lothian, said: “We are unable to comment on individual patient cases without their consent.
“We would ask anyone who has any questions or concerns about their care or treatment to contact us and discuss directly.”
Vicci Hughes, a police officer, spotted the strange symptom
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