At the age of 26 instead of boozing, travelling and climbing the career ladder, Charlotte was instead faced with the most gut-wrenching news - she was diagnosed with an incurable cancer. Abdominal pain, severe bloating, and exhaustion were the beginning of her symptoms, and so started a two-year battle for answers.
During the two years, Charlotte made various trips to the GP and A&E, had a rainbow of medications thrown her way, and was told by doctors that she was ‘too young for anything to be seriously wrong’.
So, as the doctors weren’t concerned, she decided to go travelling. However, her plans for big adventures fell flat after she could only manage a three-week stint in Thailand. Her swollen stomach became too unbearable, and she could no longer put it down to a laddish beer belly – who was she kidding, this girl can’t drink for jack!
Upon returning her sister marched her back to the doctors. This time to a different surgery, this time with different results.
"I can feel something growing inside of me"
In the March of 2015 she was told she had advanced and progressive lymphoma. She had a 10cm tumour in her abdomen that was compressing her spine, a 3cm tumour behind her heart, and a 5cm tumour in her neck. Her scan lit up with tumours, they were everywhere.
Charlotte also discovered that she’d been living with the cancer for the past two years, her cancer had spread so far that it was now incurable.
Adventure filled plans, boozy nights and carefree fun was replaced with biopsies, fertility treatment and chemotherapy. Despite her life seemingly down the toilet, she turned fear, pain and sadness into a kick ass desire to make a change.
Lymphoma is the most common cancer in the under 30’s did you know that? Well, Charlotte didn’t. Had she of known, perhaps she would have persevered with the GP’s; perhaps she would have got to know her body a bit more, and been aware of changes to it. Perhaps then she wouldn’t be living with an incurable cancer.
So this is where Lymphoma Out Loud comes in. Lymphoma is the most common cancer in the under 30's, and we can no longer be quiet about that. Charlotte and Lymphoma Out Loud are making it their full-time mission to ensure everyone knows the signs and symptoms of this disease, be body aware, and to have the confidence to head to the GP if they notice anything that doesn't feel right. Spreading the message of BEBODYBRAVE.
Join us in our mission to ensure no other young adults experience the same fate and create Lymphoma Out Loud!
To read more of Charlotte's story, follow her blog below: