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Esther Shoebridge was never one to trouble her doctor unnecessarily. A gym goer and long-distance walker, the 59-year-old former optometrist from Beverley, East Yorkshire, prides herself on being fit and independent.

But in the year In the fall of 2020, when excruciating pain in her neck wouldn’t go away, Esther sought medical advice and was told it was nothing serious. The advice was to go home, take painkillers and rest until the discomfort subsided.

A second visit to the GP after a few weeks of no improvement gave the same advice – painkillers and rest.

In fact, it was another five months before Esther discovered the shocking truth – she had broken her collarbone, which was the cause of her pain.

Esther Shoebridge Was Told That Her Broken Neck Was Caused By Myeloma, An Incurable Blood Cancer, Which Could Have Been Caused By Any Minor Slip Or Fall.

Esther Shoebridge was told that her broken neck was caused by myeloma, an incurable blood cancer, which could have been caused by any minor slip or fall.

But there was worse news. Doctors at Queen’s Medical Center in Nottingham said the fracture was caused by an incurable blood cancer that would almost certainly kill her within five years.

The so-called myeloma had spread around her body, punching millions of holes in her bones, skull and spine where the slightest slip or fall could have caused more damage.

And as she later realized, if her neck problems had been taken seriously earlier, she could have received treatment to prevent bone damage, buying her more time to enjoy a good quality of life.

“The limits of Covid-19 were high,” Esther said; “So it means that when I heard the news of the bomb shell, my husband, Philip, was not allowed to be with me.

‘I was in floods of tears – I didn’t want to leave Philip, my daughter Grace or my four beautiful grandchildren. There was still so much I wanted to do.

The doctor who broke the news said, “I bet you’ve never heard of myeloma.

But I told him I knew the most – I had just spent a year helping a good friend care for her dying mother.

One Of Esther'S First Symptoms Was Extreme Thirst And She Drank Up To Four Liters Of Water Every Day.

One of Esther’s first symptoms was extreme thirst and she drank up to four liters of water every day.

Experts Say That If Esther Had Been Diagnosed Earlier, The Devastating Damage Caused By Myeloma Could Have Been Prevented.

Experts believe that if Esther had been diagnosed earlier, the devastating effects of myeloma could have been prevented.

“But for a minute I didn’t think that was what I had. I felt I was too young to have something like that.’

Myeloma affects around 4,500 people a year in the UK, mainly over 65s. It develops when DNA damage occurs in the bone marrow, the spongy substance in the bone where blood cells grow.

This damage causes the growth of abnormal cells that release a harmful protein that causes bones to break easily. Symptoms vary from bone pain and fatigue to kidney damage and nerve pain.

In Esther’s case, one of the first symptoms was a raging thirst—she later realized. This is because myeloma attacks the kidneys and prevents them from clearing excess calcium from the blood – the body increases the amount of fluid to flush the calcium out.

Esther drank up to four liters of water a day.

‘It started with me feeling incredibly weak and dizzy, I couldn’t walk like I normally do, or go to the gym like I used to,’ she says. ‘Then I got incredibly thirsty and started losing weight, dropping from nine stone to seven. I also had insomnia and regular infections.

Esther had to support her head to stop the fall.

Esther'S First Two Rounds Of Chemotherapy Failed, But The Third Attempt Cured The Cancer

Esther’s first two rounds of chemotherapy failed, but the third attempt cured the cancer

‘I bought myself a necklace, thought I’d check it out. I knew I’d be soldiering on for months with these symptoms when the cancer crawled inside me – it was awful.’

Experts say that if Asther had been diagnosed earlier, the debilitating damage caused by myeloma could have been prevented – even if the cancer itself is not curable. Treatments such as chemotherapy slow the progression of the disease and limit the damage to the bone.

Professor Graham Jackson, a myeloma specialist at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘Myeloma takes the strength out of your bones, so the five-month delay was more damaging to Esther. ‘You can live up to 15 years with myeloma if diagnosed early.’

Professor Graham added: “If left untreated, the risk of further fractures and fractures increases over time. Yet one in four patients wait ten months from symptoms to diagnosis – the longest of any cancer.’

Chemotherapy is not a cure, but it can reduce the number of myeloma cells.

Esther’s first two rounds of treatment were unsuccessful, but a third attempt cured the cancer.

Although there are promising treatments in the pipeline — such as CAR-T therapy, a type of immunotherapy that helps the body’s immune system target cancer — these have not yet been approved for use in myeloma.

“I’m not going to let this beat me,” Esther said. I will be walking four miles every day for five days in August 2022 to raise over £2,500 for Myeloma UK – not bad for someone with a broken neck. I feel better now than I have in years, and this summer I am flying to America to visit my daughter Grace and my grandchildren in Florida.’