Mum-of-three shares her brave chemotherapy journey online

5 May 2022

A woman diagnosed with a rare skin disease is documenting her treatment at a Sheffield hospital to help inspire others.

Mum-of-three, Cheryl Iddon, began posting regular Facebook updates to share her chemotherapy and stem cell replacement experience at Sheffield Royal Hallamshire Hospital, which are expected to reset her immune system.

It is hoped that the Sheffield expertise will prevent her rare condition from getting any worse. The Sheffield Royal Hallamshire Hospital is one of a few in the country to treat this condition, known as diffused cutaneous systemic scleroderma.

Cheryl said: “If the chemotherapy is a relief and gives me more years, it’s got to be a bonus. I’d like to be the bubbliest of lemonades so people can see there is light.

“This disease makes you like a mannequin, it’s debilitating. I’ve gone quite hard and lost the use of six fingers. I have some paralysis in my face. I used to be very flexible but now I can’t put my socks on.” 

The 49-year-old from Warrington was diagnosed last May with an autoimmune disease.

This disease left her immune system to attack itself, and caused hardening of the skin. 

Mrs Iddon started to experience cold fingers and toes and was later diagnosed with Raynaud’s disease in September 2020.

“I was doing burpees and didn’t know why I was hurting so much. That was an indication that my immune system was starting to go to drift,” she said. 

Mrs Iddon was encouraged by her clients and friends to keep them updated on her condition, and keep in contact with people she’s previously worked for.

“I still get millions of messages. I’d love to help somebody else get through the stages of chemotherapy and be happier,” she said.

As a result of the condition, Mrs Iddon lost the use of six fingers and had to close her business, The Neat Freak.

“I struggle to walk and had to be assisted. It was impossible to work,” she said. 

Mrs Iddon’s stem cells will be harvested and frozen next Tuesday by the team at Sheffield Royal Hallamshire Hospital. She then will receive more chemotherapy and stem cells will be put back in her body. 

She said: “It’s all a bit exciting and daunting. I may be allowed to have an exercise bike in my room. If I have a bike, I’ll be on that bike as much as possible and get myself fit.”

 

Written by Na Ao

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