My name is Erica and I was diagnosed with CLL in Dec 2003. How come so many of us seem to have been diagnosed near Christmas time? I have been lucky enough to have been on watch and wait every since, however as we all know if we had symptoms prior to diagnosis they do not go away. At diagnosis I felt in a bubble and went into shock, fear and anxiety, as did my family, friends and work. None of us understood what was going on, and I certainly could not explain it, initially I felt I wanted to pull the blood cancer out of me. I think we all felt that if I was not receiving treatment had I really got blood cancer? I remember one lovely friend offering me her redundancy money so I could have treatment. It has taken many years for my thoughts and feelings to subside although they immediately return before and during medical appointments. I have learnt to live with and manage my symptoms. My main symptoms are tiredness, fatigue, I do not deal with stress well, weight loss, unpredictable thermostat, hair loss, swollen lymph nodes etc. Over the years I have been diagnosed with severe osteoporosis, irregular heart beat, chronic kidney disease and skin cancer. I believe in trying to organise myself and keep my stress levels down and get as fit as I can, I believe in pilates and love my Zumba classes, I do not care what I look like now. I try to get a bit of fresh air and exercise every day, I try and eat a bit healthier, but I really believe in having a little nap sometimes and also treating myself, usually involving chocolate. I feel honoured and love being a Bloodwise ambassador and part of the Bloodwise family. I believe passionately is supporting others with blood cancer and their family, friends and carers.