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Chris Todd column

By Chris Todd
Torquay United defender

Chris Todd
I feel good in myself. I'm fighting fit and am still training. I've been doing running, weights and bike work as I keep myself ticking over

Since my diagnosis with chronic myeloid leukaemia last week I have been inundated with messages of support from all over the country.

I have had some great news after seeing my consultant earlier this week. I will not need a bone marrow transplant as I have the right genetic make-up to use a drug called Glivek. It is a form of chemotherapy, but a milder dose.

I will be on the drug forever provided my body takes to it. I start taking the pills on Saturday and if it works it will hopefully take my blood cell count back to normal and put me into remission.

I feel good in myself. I'm fighting fit and am still training. I've been doing running, weights and bike work as I keep myself ticking over. I can't do any contact work as I could end up doing myself serious damage. The leukaemia inflates the size of my spleen and were I to get a knock on it I could have serious problems.

The consultant is so impressed by the amount of work I'm doing now that he says I'll be like a superhero when I finally recover from it.

The fact that I can use tablets and do not need a bone marrow transplant means I could be back playing football within three or four months.

My consultant says that once my spleen drops back to normal size there's no reason why I can't start playing, especially in the physical form I am in. We'll have a good look in three months time and see how well I have progressed.

Last week Geoff Thomas gave me a call. For those of you that do not know, Geoff is a former England international who was diagnosed with the same illness as me shortly after he retired from the game.

I've got three brothers and there is a one in four chance that their bone marrow will match mine. They are going to be tested in case I ever need a transplant.

We had a good chat and when I explained to him what I was feeling he told me he'd been through exactly the same.

It was a really good lift and he was very encouraging. His work with his foundation to help raise awareness and research into leukaemia has inspired me.

I will definitely be doing work with leukaemia charities in the future. It wasn't a path which I had ever considered before being diagnosed, but now I have this condition I'm starting to think that maybe it was meant to be.

With all the publicity that my illness has attracted I think it's only right that I can give something back to the people that have helped me.

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To that end I want to encourage you all to visit the Anthony Nolan Trust website - the link is on the right of this page - and consider getting yourself on the bone marrow register.

It's pretty simple. It's basically a blood test with the trust sending you a couple of tubes which you take with you to your GP.

The doctor takes the blood, fills in some forms and you send it in. It's simple enough and it could save somebody's life.

I've got three brothers and after my diagnosis there is a one in four chance that their bone marrow could match mine.

They are going to be tested in case I ever need a transplant in the future. Similarly they will be added to the bone marrow register in case they match anyone else who may one day need a transplant.

Chris Todd was talking to BBC South West's Brent Pilnick.

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see also
Thomas backs Todd to beat cancer
25 Nov 08 |  Torquay
Gulls squad shocked at Todd news
20 Nov 08 |  Torquay
Todd reveals leukaemia diagnosis
19 Nov 08 |  Torquay


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