Location: North Somerset, UK
Diagnosis: Hodgkin's Lymphoma (Stage 4B)
"I'm afraid it's cancer" were the words that turned my life upside down.
On the 20th June 2018 I was diagnosed with stage 4B Hodgkin's Lymphoma after two big lumps appeared on my neck and after months of pure exhaustion. When I first found out I was so scared and felt like screaming "Why me... Why now?!". I am only 26 and I have my whole life ahead of me, this shouldn't be happening! But then my mind focused on my little girl Marnie who has just recently turned two. I thought, I have to stay strong for her and since then that is what has gotten me through.
I am now nearly on my 8th round of chemotherapy which I have once every two weeks. I will be having 12 rounds altogether.
Chemotherapy has been so tough and sometimes there has been days where I don't want to get out of bed, but I do everyday for my little girl.
My partner works long hours so it's often just me and Marnie at home with help from my lovely mum. I try and manage to get out with my daughter at least once a day to the park or for a long walk. If it wasn't for her I wonder if I would have the motivation to stay active during my treatment.
Losing all my hair has been very tough for me. Since I was an early teenager my beautiful long hair has always been my confidence.
The first step I took was getting my hair cut short. I then donated my long locks to a charity called The Little Princess Trust who create wigs for children with cancer. It felt good turning my negative situation into a positive outcome for someone else who is suffering through a similar experience. Whilst on a family holiday to Center Parcs most of my hair suddenly decided to fall out in the space of two days! My hair was everywhere! This was an extremely low point in my life, not only was I feeling like complete rubbish from the side effects of chemo but I had lost all my hair at once! It all just hit me and I broke down. Later that day something magical happened, my partner Dean proposed to me! I couldn't believe it, all my worries from the day had been forgotten. He makes me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world, hair or no hair. Dean has been my rock and has also given me so much strength through this hard time. The timing of his proposal couldn't have been better!
When we got home from our holiday Dean shaved the rest of my hair off and it actually made me feel a bit better. Getting used to my shaven head was very difficult. I no longer recognised the person staring back at me, I just saw the image of a cancer victim which at first was very hard to come to terms with but with each day that has gone by I am getting stronger. Dean tells me everyday how beautiful I am and Marnie loves my shaven head, she is forever kissing it. Even when I try and put a hat or a turban on she wants to pull it off all the time like she is telling me don't worry mummy you don't need to cover your head. She brings out my inner strength when it comes to my self confidence at the moment, she is just amazing!
Having cancer has definitely taught me how precious life is, I appreciate my life so much more now and I cherish every single moment. I love the saying "We all have two lives. The second one starts when we realise we only have one".
One piece of advice:
You're not alone. Try and stay as positive as you can, I know that’s easier said than done! Get out in the fresh air, go for lots of walks and don’t forget to keep smiling! Oh, and you're amazing!
Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Brave Collective. While the information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information.