A WORCESTER tennis lover who fought a rare type of blood cancer at the age of 72 is back to perfecting her serve after a year of intensive treatment at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
Nicky Wilson, noticed a small lump on the side of her neck in January 2022 and after visiting her doctor, was referred for a biopsy.
While awaiting her results and undergoing further tests, the lump grew rapidly, pushing on her windpipe and oesophagus before Nicky was diagnosed with stage 4 Burkitt’s Lymphoma.
Burkitt’s Lymphoma is rare type of non-Hodgkin cancer which develops when B-cells (also called B-lymphocytes) become abnormal. These are white blood cells that fight infection.
Suffering no other symptoms apart from the growth, Nicky was referred to the Haematology Department at Worcestershire Royal Hospital where she underwent intermittent chemotherapy treatment until the end of August last year.
Nicky who is a retired PE and aerobics teacher has always lived a healthy lifestyle playing netball and tennis as well as other sports.
“This was the only time in my life I’ve been in hospital and whenever I could, I always kept my body and mind active and had everyone on the ward joining in with my exercises however they could,” she said.
“And my advice would be, for anyone who can, no matter what age you are, keeping active not only helps you build a stronger body but also a positive mind.
“My other advice would be if you notice any body changes, go to your GP as soon as you possibly can. If I’d waited any longer, I’m not sure I’d be here to tell this story now so don’t ever think you are worrying about nothing.
“I want to thank all the staff in ward Laurel 3 for their incredible talent and kind care as well as thanking Dr Shafeek for completely saving my life. I owe him everything.
“I’m surrounded by people who also love fitness and in July this year, my team of 50 friends and family raised £8,500 with a 5km walk as part of Race for Life and I’m back to my favourite place – the tennis court!”
Dr Salim Shafeek, Consultant Haematologist at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, who treated Nicky said: “From day one, Nicky showed so much motivation and strength in spite of the serious diagnosis.
“She is the oldest patient of mine to go through this intensive regime and she gave the whole team a positive attitude and confidence to use this regime again in future for older patients of similar fitness.
“Her spirit to get back to tennis and activities after finishing chemotherapy was incredible and she was a role model for others going through treatment too.
“I was privileged to be part of the team at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust treating Nicky and especially thank the nurses and junior doctors in Laurel 3 ward who looked after her.”