Location: London, UK
Diagnosis: Hodgkin's Lymphoma (Stage 2)
I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in April 2018 after seeing 3 different GPs over three months, 2 of which misdiagnosed me with inflammation and a sprain. By the time I got to see the third GP my lump had grown so big it was impacting on my airway and was the size of my fist.
When I got diagnosed, it was a total shock, I'd never heard of cancer in your chest, cancer in your breast, yeah but not cancer in your chest. I wasn't really even aware of what Hodgkins Lymphoma was. I was told I would be put on ABVD chemotherapy over a 6 month period, every other Wednesday, meaning I would spend my summer on the 'good week bad week cycle'.
It was obviously a total shock to the system which was made even harder to swallow due to the fact that I didn't have enough time to freeze my eggs. I was however given the option to shut my ovaries down by having an injection once a month throughout treatment and whilst the chances of this working for someone my age was slim I decided I had to at least give it a go.
So I got my head in check and told myself it was just going to be a tough 6 months of my life, but that I was going to beat this fucker and start to build my life back together as soon as the 6 months were done. I cut my hair, got my eyebrows micro-bladed and made my bedroom into the ultimate ZenZone. It was almost like I was holiday prepping, you know, getting all the new outfits except this time I was prepping my body for ultimate comfort and not for having it large in Ibiza.
I'm one of the lucky ones whose cancer cleared off and left the building as it were after two rounds of chemo #fuckyoucancer. This made the whole chemo journey that little bit easier for me, knowing the bastard thing was gone BUT in saying that, I still had a lot of hard work to do to get through the next 4 rounds.
And what followed was tough, a total shit show and rollercoaster of emotions, but if you're reading this as a fellow cancer babe then you will know the madness and what it does to you. And if you're reading this as a friend of the cancer babe then you too will have seen the chaos.
If you haven't experienced cancer then hear this; chemotherapy is the ultimate mo-fo! You can prep all you like, tell yourself to stay positive and hope you can, but it will affect even the fiercest of queens in the end. BUT it can be made so much easier by having a good network around and making sure you use those babes who want to help.
One piece of advice:
Reach out, speak up and try to live as much as possible in your good weeks. That's what kept me going; having little things to look forward to and chatting the breeze with my darlings when I couldn't manage to get out of the house. If you have any questions at all just holla at your babe. I'm happy to chin wag over a cuppa or just pick up your DMs, anytime!
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.