Monday, October 29, 2018

My Diagnosis...

For my first blog post, I thought I may as well tell you all what’s been happening in my life for the past two months. 

At the beginning of August, I discovered a lump in my neck whilst at a festival with one of my friends. I immediately brushed it off thinking it was probably just a swollen gland and that I was coming down with something…oh how I was wrong. I briefly mentioned the lump to my parents towards the end of August because the lump still hadn’t gone away, much to my annoyance. I decided to go to the doctors. She told me how she thought it was an infected lymph node and that she would book me in for an ultrasound. This wasn’t for another month and a half and it did in some ways, give me some sort of relief…if she was worried she’d have booked the appointment sooner. 

September came and my parents had booked a weekend away for us all to get some last minute sun and to celebrate my dad’s 50th in Marbella, little did I know that the following week would be the worst of my life. Whilst away, I started to struggle to breath, it felt as if someone was sat on the one side of my chest, something just hit me and I knew I wasn’t well, it’s strange how your body tells you when you’re not okay. The day after I got back from Marbella, I went back to the doctors, this time to see a different doctor. She felt my lump and I told her how it felt bigger and looked bigger then when I originally found it. She also checked my lungs but said they sounded perfectly fine. She told me that as a precaution, I should go and get a chest x-ray at the hospital. So that afternoon, I went with my nan to the hospital, it took a matter of minutes to have it done. The radiographer then told me my doctor would receive my results in 7-10 days and I left the hospital to go to my nan’s for some lunch. 

The following day, I started to get ready for college. My mom rang me on her way to work, she explained that the doctors had rang her but that they wouldn’t speak to her, they wanted to speak to me. I rang them to be greeted by my doctor’s secretary. By the tone of her voice, I knew it wasn’t good. She explained how the doctor had my results from my chest x-ray - alarm bells already, the radiographer said 7-10 days…it had been a day. The secretary then went on to say the dreaded sentence ‘the doctor would like you to bring someone with you.’ What. I remember putting the phone down and just screaming, I rang my parents and they came home from work straight away. We went to the doctors surgery, and waited and waited to be seen by the doctor. we finally entered the doctors room, we sat down and she said “I’m really sorry, its not good news.” I actually don’t remember much else, I just remember wanting to leave, if I left then it wouldn’t actually be happening and I would be fine. The doctor kept saying “do you want to know what I think it might be?” All I could think was ‘uhmm no, you’ve just told me I’ve got cancer,  I don’t really want to know which one it is right now.’  She went on to tell us how she thought it was Lymphoma, I’d never even heard of this. Once I started to think again, my first thought was ‘how do I tell my family? How do I tell my boyfriend? And how am I meant to explain this to my friends?’ The rest of the day consisted of me being surrounded by my amazing family and boyfriend and coming to terms with what was going on…this day truly was the worst day of my life. 

Everything after this just happened so quickly. The day after finding out the news, I met my Haematologist, the best man ever. I walked in the room and the first thing he said was “you’re going to be fine” and I just remember sitting there with my mom crying. I felt like I was in a dream, a week before this I was fine, I’d just got back from a weekend away, had things to look forward to and now everything just had to stop and I remember thinking - ‘why me’. My doctor told me how I needed to have a biopsy and some blood tests done. I asked him what he thought I had, he said confidently “this is 100% Hodgkins Lymphoma, without the biopsy I can’t diagnose you, but it is lymphoma.” He then went on to talk about treatment, and how I will have to have chemotherapy  for 6 months and how I will lose my hair. For me, this has been the biggest thing, I don’t want to lose my hair, I’m just not going to look like me at all and everyone will know I’m not very well.

After all this, just a week after getting back from Marbella I was in hospital, having my biopsy done under general anaesthetic…an experience in itself. Two days later, I was getting my PICC line inserted (this was definitely the worst thing for me) and a week after that I had my PET scan to see if the cancer had spread anywhere else in my body. 

This brings me up to where I am currently. Last week I had a meeting with my Haematologist again, this was my official diagnosis - stage 2b Hodgkins Lymphoma and I’m due to start my chemo on the 16th October, by the time this blog comes out, I’ll have either completed my first chemo, or just about to. The reason I have decided to share my story, is for numerous reasons…1) why should I hide the toughest battle I am going through from everyone I know. 2) I want to raise awareness about Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, for people to know the symptoms and how common it actually is for people my age and older to get. 3) When I was told I had cancer, I tried to find people on social media who also had the same as me. I read blogs they had made or watched youtube videos they created and to say this helped me would be an understatement. I suddenly didn’t feel so alone because other people had been through the same things I was going through. Not only did it help me but it also helped my family too, so if I can help just one other person through my blog who is going through something similar to me or knows someone who is going through the same, then why wouldn’t I do this. And finally 4) this blog is to also stop me from going stir crazy and to give me something to do with all my extra time I have suddenly accumulated…. 

Dear Cancer, I’m ready to kick your arse xo 

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