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My beautiful wife died of blood cancer after being told everything was fine

WHEN Simon Dean met his wife Sarah in 2001, he knew right away that she was the right person.

A mutual friend put the couple together after they both went through divorce and fell madly in love.

When Simon Dean met Sarah in 2001, he knew she was the one. The couple are pictured together on holiday

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When Simon Dean met Sarah in 2001, he knew she was the one. The couple are pictured together on holidayCredit: Simon Dean
Sarah also went through a divorce and the couple fell madly in love

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Sarah also went through a divorce and the couple fell madly in loveCredit: Simon Dean
Soon their families mixed and the couple moved in together. Sarah is pictured above with her and Simon's children

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Soon their families mixed and the couple moved in together. Sarah is pictured above with her and Simon’s childrenCredit: Simon Dean

The couple moved to Bournemouth together in 2004 and their families intermixed.

Simon has two children, Sophie, now 28, and Lewis, 30, and Sarah also had two, Erin, now 26, and Harry, 31.

When the couple first met, the children were very young and considered each other more like siblings than stepbrothers and sisters.

Families quickly bonded and in 2007 Simon and Sarah took the plunge and became husband and wife.

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They enjoyed years of happiness together and in March 2015 Simon, 60, decided he wanted to step down from 25 years as a business development manager at Britvic.

He wanted to spend more time with Sarah, who worked as a receptionist at an optometrist, and they had planned to travel and enjoy life together.

But in September, Sarah was given the shocking diagnosis that she had blood cancer after doctors initially told her she was fine. She was just 54 years old when they received the shocking news.

Each year in the UK, more than 5,700 people are diagnosed with myeloma – a type of blood cancer which, according to Cancer Research UK, develops from cells in the bone marrow called plasma cells – and at the same time, about 24,000 people are living with the disease in the UK.

It is treatable but currently an incurable cancer.

Speaking to The Sun, Simon says Sarah knew something was wrong.

He’s sharing her story to raise awareness about myeloma and the symptoms to look out for.

During the summer of 2015, Simon said his beautiful wife talked about being tired and exhausted.

“She thought something was wrong with her, so she went to the doctor several times.

“She thought she was going to be a hypochondriac, but deep down she knew she wasn’t okay,” he recalls.

Over the next few months, Sarah continued to see the doctor.

She was so brave, it was such a roller coaster ride

Simon Dean

“She had blood tests, they said she was anemic and they needed to increase her iron levels.

“It seemed to be one thing at a time, but in general she was still doing pretty well, but just knew she wasn’t doing well,” says Simon.

The couple in love traveled to London with friends the weekend before Sarah’s diagnosis.

“Sarah was always the life of the party and this weekend she looked absolutely beautiful.”

Simon says this is how he will always remember his wife because after this trip, their life would never be the same.

Sarah had been to the doctor’s once again and called Simon at around 5 p.m. in the evening, just as he was about to leave work.

She told Simon the doctors ran some tests and wanted her to go straight to the emergency room.

What is myeloma and what are the signs?

Myeloma is a cancer that starts in plasma cells, a type of white blood cell made in the bone marrow.

Plasma cells are part of your immune system.

Normal plasma cells produce antibodies, also called immunoglobulins, to fight infection.

In myeloma, the plasma cells become abnormal, multiply out of control, and release only one type of antibody known as a paraprotein, which has no useful function.

Unlike many types of cancer, myeloma does not exist as a lump or tumor.

Most complications arise from a buildup of abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow.

Treatment often aims to control myeloma symptoms with a combination of drugs.

what are the signs

  • bone pain
  • broken bones
  • compression of the spinal cord
  • needles and pins
  • deafness
  • anemia
  • repeated infections
  • increased levels of calcium in the blood
  • unusual bleeding
  • thickened blood
  • kidney problems

“I dropped everything and made my way to Bournemouth Hospital A&E as at first they thought she had an acute kidney injury.

“But she was transferred to Dorchester Hospital very quickly and stayed there for 10 days. It was just one test after another and one specialist after another.”

Simon says he will never forget the day the couple found out Sarah had myeloma.

“We heard two nurses talking in the corridor and they said it was a suspicion. It could have affected anyone, but the next day we saw a specialist and he told us it was myeloma.”

From then on, Sarah’s kidneys failed and she had to undergo chemotherapy for three months.

She left home at 6:30 a.m. to go to the hospital for dialysis three mornings a week.

By Christmas she was well enough to stop treatment as her kidneys were working again.

“We had a nice Christmas party at home. Sarah was very tired, but she made the best of it,” says Simon.

“She was so brave, it was such a rollercoaster ride.”

Sarah knew she was going to lose her hair, so she shaved it off and almost never wore a wig; She was comfortable with her new look.

The next four years, says Simon, were a whirlwind.

‘SUPER SARAH’

“She had nine or ten different chemotherapy regimens and each time we had a positive result and then the cancer came back.

“Sarah has had two stem cell transplants, sepsis, pneumonia, all at different times.

“One year sepsis was caused by a dodgy cannula.

“She was in and out of hospital, myeloma had attacked her spine and her vertebrae were crushed into one.

“No matter how many treatments she had, she stayed positive and her hematologist, Dr. Rachael Hall, believed it was her positivity that bought her more time.”

The couple continued to have fun and spend time with friends and family.

Although there were times when they went out and Sarah got tired and the couple retired early.

“She wouldn’t drink and everyone would say how good and wonderful she was.

“But we got home and she fell asleep right away, she found it really difficult as she wasn’t feeling well at all.”

The treatment allowed them to go on holiday to Croatia together in July 2019 and they both felt the treatment was working.

Everything seemed fine for a few weeks after returning, but then Sarah became unwell again.

They were going to a family wedding over the August bank holiday weekend and Simon was hungover, so Sarah gave her a ride home.

Then on Monday, Simon went to a car show with Sarah and his father.

But on Tuesday morning, Sarah woke up and said she felt ill and had a fever.

“It had happened before so we went to the hospital like we always do.

“I did that several times, brought down Sarah. But she didn’t seem to be herself, and to be honest I was curt, annoyed that she hadn’t told me how bad she was.

“As soon as I parked the car, a nurse wheeled her in and the next moment I knew we were surrounded by doctors and nurses.”

Afterward, Sarah was put on a ventilator so her children and family could come and say goodbye.

“I spent that Tuesday night holding her hand, knowing that she would die the next day,” says Simon.

Sarah died on August 29, leaving Simon heartbroken.

Since then, Simon says, he’s been on a “strange journey.”

The loss of Sarah was absolutely devastating, but Simon has since found love again and is now engaged to Di Pritchard.

He met Di the day after Sarah accidentally died while Di was working in a pub opposite the woodland cemetery where Sarah is buried.

PROUD FATHER

They finally became a couple two years ago and got engaged in May 2021.

Sarah is still a big part of her life. They have a photo of Sarah in their living room and Di has also become friends with Sarah’s best friends.

Simon said he’s grateful his family has stayed as close as they have.

He said he is proud of his children and knows Sarah would be too.

Without his children and Di, says Simon, he really would have had problems.

“It wasn’t easy for Di as she naturally feels in Sarah’s shadow. They never met, but I know it wasn’t easy for her.

“She was prepared not to let that become an issue and I couldn’t have gotten through it if it wasn’t for her.

“I cherish my blessing of still being here.”

Simon is now working with Myeloma UK to raise awareness of blood cancer.

“It was early for Sarah, but knowing the signs and getting more funding for research could be a breakthrough for others,” he added.

To honor her legacy, Simon had started a fundraising campaign for Myeloma and so far managed to raise over £1,000.

Due to her struggle, Sarah lost her hair, but Simon said she embraced the look

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Due to her struggle, Sarah lost her hair, but Simon said she embraced the lookCredit: Simon Dean
Without his children and Di, says Simon, he really would have had problems. He is pictured above with Di

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Without his children and Di, says Simon, he really would have had problems. He is pictured above with Di

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