An active teacher who avoided anything unhealthy in the hopes of living as long as possible has died at 33, just 20 days after a 'shock' leukaemia diagnosis.
Abi Meads, 27, claims her husband Matt Meads didn’t drink or smoke, and made an effort to stay as healthy as possible to avoid problems later in life.
“He loved his sport, he would go to the gym, he loved being outside and walking, he liked cycling and he was careful about what he ate,” Mrs Meads said.
The couple, from Nottingham in the UK, both work as teachers and when Mr Meads began suffering with stomach pains, night sweats and fatigue, the pair dismissed it as a mixture of end of school year tiredness, stomach bugs and summer heat.
"We thought it was the usual fatigue that we feel at the end of the year, there were sickness bugs going around at both of our schools so it wasn't anything out of the ordinary,” Mrs Mead said.
Describing her husband as “a really happy and positive person”, Mrs Meads said it was odd when he started spending most weekends sleeping.
Mr Mead first started mentioning to his wife that he felt tired on July 6. When he started vomiting to the point of being unable to keep ice cubes down, Mrs Meads urged him to see a GP.
After being referred to hospital, the teacher was told he had gastroenteritis but it wasn't until he returned for a second time that a blood test was taken and the results left the couple shell-shocked.
Mr Meads was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a rare and aggressive form of blood cancer.
"Matt was a really positive person and was always somebody who believed ‘what would be would be’... so when the doctor told him he was quite composed,” Mrs Meads said.
"He was definitely really brave," she added.
Over the next few days Mrs Meads watched her husband go from happy and sporty to intensive care within days, before he passed away from a pulmonary embolism on August 8 after just three chemotherapy sessions.
"We knew he was poorly, but maybe not quite how poorly he was. I certainly wasn't expecting a phone call from the hospital,” she said.
Now Mrs Meads is speaking out to urge others to get checked out and insist on a blood test if they they have persistent or unexplained symptoms.
"You know your own body, it’s as simple as getting a blood test,” she said.
Mrs Meads said symptoms are vague and can appear quickly.
“It doesn't have to be something that has been happening for weeks or months," she said, adding that the only symptom she knew to look out for was unexplained bruising.
"But Matt didn't have any bruises until he was in hospital, so the one thing I knew wasn't relevant. I didn't realise about the night sweats, fatigue or heavy breathing,” she told Kennedy News.
Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is an aggressive and quickly progressing type of cancer affecting white blood cells.
Both adults and children can be affected by the condition.
"He did everything he could to try and prevent anything from happening to him, as the doctors said there was nothing he could have done to prevent this," Mrs Meads said.
Now the teacher is planning life without her husband and said even with the support of family and friends, she is finding it hard to move forward.
"It's hard to think ahead for anything, It's a case of taking everything one day at a time, some days are better than others, some days are horrific and I don't want to get out of bed,” She told Kennedy News.
"I've lost my best mate, my husband, my soulmate,” she added.
– Kennedy News and Media
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