Location: London, UK
Diagnosis: Papillary Thyroid Cancer (at 24)
Triple Positive Breast Cancer (at 32)
I've either been living with cancer, being treated for cancer or in remission for cancer for nearly ten years now.
I've experienced a wide range of treatments, have spent A LOT of time in hospitals and have luckily managed to still be here to tell the tale. Life obviously throws you these curve balls and you get to experience the good and the bad. Of course there were many bad aspects to having cancer. The physical debilitation from treatment for me being the worst. I have developed a massive phobia of needles, my physical state affected my ability to work, to think, to generally function. My first treatment affected my dream of having a baby. It affects your relationships, the way you look at yourself and those around you. It can bring you down to a place you never thought you would get to and sometimes, you can't see the way out.
But… for me, the good that has come out of having cancer outweighs ALL of that. I've met wonderful people who have healed me, helped me, held my hand, positioned me, guided me and cured me of both my cancers. I have had opportunities to share my story with others all over the world through interviews, blog posts, TV and public speaking. It has given me the motivation to volunteer for cancer charities in the UK, to raise money, raise awareness and make changes for the better. It has made me realise what I want, it made me go for IVF, it brought me my baby, it brought me my ultimate happiness. It has made me a better person. A more understanding, more chilled and more spiritual person. It has made it clearer than ever to me what my goals are, what my purpose is and what I want to do while I have the time on this earth.
I feel very fortunate. I am lucky enough to have survived, twice.
I am grateful for these cancer experiences which will forever be part of me and I hope I can use what it has taught me to help and support others.
One piece of advice:
Take each day at a time, don't panic, don't rush. Take someone, a notebook, pen, a magazine, headphones, boiled sweets and a list of questions/symptoms you want to tell the doctor about to your appointments. Call in all your favours and arrange childcare for treatment weeks. Remember you are still you, even when you may not look or feel like what you consider 'you’ to be.
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.