Search icon


13th Apr 2023

Woman who was told she had tonsillitis correctly diagnosed herself with leukaemia – using Google

Steve Hopkins

Chloe was told she was ‘weeks away from death’

A woman who was told she had tonsillitis correctly diagnosed herself with leukaemia – using Google.

Chloe-Leigh Todd started experiencing a sore throat and general illness, and a month later had a telephone appointment with her GP who told her she had tonsillitis.

After googling her symptoms – which included vomiting, night sweats, and weight loss – the 22-year-old realised she was suffering from textbook leukaemia symptoms.

Chloe then managed to have 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 her suspicions were confirmed.

She has been cancer-free for three years and is no longer having treatment, although still suffers from some side effects.

Chloe, a stay-at-home mum from Gateshead, Tyne and Wear said: “Everyone knows their own body and I just knew it was something serious.

“The doctors were putting it down to other things but I was adamant they were wrong. “I googled my symptoms – night sweats, fatigue, bruising and so on – and leukemia came up as the first search result.

“I checked and saw I had every symptom on the whole website – everyone had thought I was crazy when I said it but I knew I wasn’t.

“When the doctor confirmed it, I thought I was going to die.

“I was happy to have the diagnosis but I went numb, hearing it is a big difference. “The doctors told my mum in a different room, she broke down – I could hear my mum screaming.”

In June 2020 after being told she had tonsillitis, Chloe managed to get herself a face-to-face appointment with a doctor because she thought they were wrong.

She had been suffering from a sore throat, night sweats, vomiting and weight loss since February and was getting concerned so searched online for answers.

After having a blood test, Chloe was told she was “weeks away from death”, and sent to Newcastle Freeman Hospital to start treatment the following day.

“I had a bone marrow biopsy and told I was weeks away from death,” Chloe said.

“The cancer was everywhere in my blood. Doctors told me they didn’t know if chemotherapy would help but they were willing to give it a try.”

Chloe endured six rounds of chemotherapy which eradicated most of the cancer, leaving her more optimistic.

“Looking back now I am numb to it – everything I was being told is a blur,” she recalled.

“I was looking at the world so differently asking ‘why me, what have I done to deserve this.’

“The hardest part of it all is I thought I might not be here to watch my son grow up.”

In September 2020, Chloe was put on the Anthony Nolan register in search for a bone marrow donor.

Straight away the hospital found a 100% match in a 27-year-old man, and she had the transplant in October 2020. This is done by transferring stem cells from one person to another, replacing damaged blood cells with healthy ones.

After a successful operation, Chloe underwent another bone marrow biopsy to make sure her new cells had worked – later receiving the news she was cancer free.

Chloe said: “When I received the news I picked up my son and cuddled him to tight.

“It was amazing to know it had all gone, it was the best day ever.

“I rang the bell in March 2021, It is an amazing feeling. I had my little boy in my arms with me.”

Chloe is now suffering from Graft vs Host disease which happens when particular types of white blood cells in the donated stem cells or bone marrow attack your own body cells.

Chloe said: “No matter what I am going through I am always positive and have a smile on my face. No matter how ill I am I will put my child first.

“I spoke to my donor in March 2023, I had butterflies in my stomach. “We were talking like we have known each other my whole life. We have this connection that nobody will be able to understand. “We will always have that bond, I am still here because of him. “I feel so grateful and thankful. I would rather go through this then not be here at all.

“It is a bittersweet situation – I am alive to tell my story.”

Leukaemia symptoms include – skin looking pale or “washed out”, tiredness, breathlessness, losing weight without trying, frequent infections, having a high temperature, and feeling hot or shivery (fever), night sweats and easily bruised skin.

Related links:

Influencer becomes emotional as she apologises for owning her house outright at 21

Landlord, 22, says young have ‘no excuse’ for not owning a home

Man refuses to leave UK’s ‘loneliest street’ after 200 residents move out amid demolition plans

Pregnant mum-to-be fears for unborn child after being forced to live in ‘cesspit’ flat riddled with mould