A woman who was told she had tonsillitis correctly diagnosed herself with leukemia – using Google.
Chloe Lee Todd, 22, began suffering from a sore throat and general illness.
After one month of feeling unwell, Chloe had a phone appointment with her GP and was told she had tonsillitis.
After Googling her symptoms—which included vomiting, night sweats, and weight loss—Chloe realizes she has textbook symptoms of leukemia. Common symptoms include flushing and pale skin, fatigue, shortness of breath, unexplained weight loss, frequent infections, high fever, night sweats, and skin that bruises easily.
Chloe was able to secure a face-to-face appointment where she went for a blood test.
Her results came back abnormal and she went straight to the hospital where she was told she had leukemia.
She has now been cancer-free for three years and is no longer receiving treatment, though she still has some side effects.
Chloe, a stay-at-home mum from Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, said: “Everyone knows his body and I just knew it was something serious.
“The doctors were attributing it to other things but I was adamant they were wrong.
“I Googled my symptoms — night sweats, fatigue, bruising, etc. — and leukemia came up as the first search result.
“I checked and saw I had every symptom on the whole site – everyone thought I was crazy when I said that but I knew I wasn’t.
“When the doctor confirmed it, I thought I was going to die.
“I was happy with the diagnosis, but I was numb, hearing it made a huge difference.
“The doctors told my mom in another room, she collapsed – I heard my mom screaming.”
In June 2020, after being told she had tonsillitis, Chloe was able to get a doctor’s appointment because she thought she was wrong.
The mother of one had been suffering from a sore throat, night sweats, vomiting, and weight loss since February, and was concerned so she looked online for answers.
After running a blood test, doctors called Chloe in and told her results were abnormal and she was called to the hospital where she was told she had leukemia and was “weeks away from death”.
The next day Chloe was sent to Newcastle Freeman Hospital to begin treatment.
She said: “I had a bone marrow biopsy and was told I was weeks away from death.
“My cancer was everywhere in my blood. The doctors told me they didn’t know if chemo would help but were willing to try it.”
Chloe endured six rounds of chemotherapy that eradicated most of her cancer, which made her even more hopeful.
Khloe said: “Looking back now I’m numb – all I’ve been told is a blur.
“I was looking at the world differently and asking ‘why me, what have I done to deserve this.'” “
“The hardest part of it all is that I thought I might not be here to watch my son grow up.”
In September 2020, Chloe was signed up to the Anthony Nolan Registry in search of a bone marrow donor.
The hospital immediately found a 100% match in a 27-year-old man, who had the transplant in October 2020.
This is done by transferring stem cells from one person to another, and replacing damaged blood cells with healthy blood cells.
After a successful operation, Chloe underwent another bone marrow biopsy to ensure her new cells were working – she later received the news that she was cancer-free.
Chloe said: “When I got the news, I held my son and hugged him tightly.
“It was amazing to know it was all over, it was the best day ever.
“I rang the bell in March 2021, it feels great. My little boy was in my arms.”
Khloe now suffers from Graft vs Host disease, which occurs when certain types of white blood cells in donated stem cells or bone marrow attack the cells of your body.
No matter what I’m going through, Chloe said, I’m always positive and have a smile on my face. No matter how sick I am I will put my baby first.
“I spoke to my donor in March 2023, I had butterflies in my stomach.
“We’ve been talking as if we’ve known each other my whole life. We have this connection that no one would be able to understand.
“We will always have that bond, I’m still here because of it.
“I feel grateful and thankful. I’d rather go through this then not be here at all.”
“It’s a bittersweet situation – I’m alive to tell my story.”