charlotte's story

On the 15th August 2018, I visited the hospital after experiencing double vision for a couple of days. In the months prior to this, I experienced some other symptoms including speech issues, neck pain, constant thirst, fatigue night sweats and sore heads. I had been back and forth to the doctors since January 2018 but they kept saying the speech and thirst was down to migraines, when I experienced double vision they again put this to migraines so I took myself to A&E and they kept me in hospital to have CT and MRI scans completed to try and get to the bottom of these symptoms.

On the 17th August 2018, the doctor took me and my family into a room and explained that the constant thirst was due to a type of diabetes called ‘Diabetes Insipidus’. She also said that the CT and MRI scans were showing abnormalities and that they thought it was possibly a sign of Lymphoma Cancer and they had to do some more tests to confirm this.

On Tuesday 21st August, I got a biopsy done where they removed a lymph node from my neck. I was let out of hospital while waiting for the results, and given some medication to try and get my eyesight back to normal, and to control the thirst. These medications worked and my sight came back to normal pretty quickly.

On Thursday 30th August, myself and family went to the hospital to get the results of the biopsy. This was the day that they confirmed I had Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma cancer. There is some of the cancer showing in my pituitary gland in the brain which is an extremely rare area to get this type of cancer so the doctors have been doing some investigating to find out the best way to treat it.

I never realised how much a puturity gland controlled your body it's basically the equivalent of a car engine, it wasnt producing hormones explaining why I hadnt had a menstrual cycle since April 2018 and the uncontrollable thirst and peeing 'diabetes insipidus'.

On September 12th 2018, I Had my very first round of Escalated Chemo. 3 days before my oldest daughter's birthday this broke my heart but I know this mum had to get better to see many more birthday's.

All went well first round of chemo, it wasn't until I started the self injections of filgrastim for 5days I got to day 4 and was experiencing severe back pain we had to call an ambulance, gas and air was not taking any edge of the pain so I had to have a high dose of morphine when that eventually worked. What had happen was my white blood cells where still working so the injection basically flooded my white blood cells causing a tsunami of cells and my bones where having severe spasms it moved from my back to my thigh bones.

on my birthday 25th September 2018 I started to loose my hair this was really hard because I had wanted to be in charge of this and do it in my own time in my own house and comfort, I decided when I got home I was going to have to shave it of. I also got a late birthday present of PICC line this was a live line I highly recommend one if your suitable for it. Don't get me wrong this was something I was actually petrified of ueah sure throw chemo loosing my hair at me but put a PICC line in eh no thanks, but now looking back it was just like getting a ear piercing it was fine and getting the chemo through it and blood work done it was seriously the best thing ever.

Like many Cancer patients hospital unfortunately becomes your second home and you lose count in the number of stays you have it starts to become normal.

Anyways a lot more hospital stays down the line and alot more infections, including pneumonia, I had missed a few chemo cycles but time was coming for Christmas and I got what I can only explain is the best ever early Christmas present MRI results came back saying chemo was doing its job there was little to no trace of cancer left I had one more cycle left and then a PET scan to confirm if there was any active cancer or if it was scar tissue. I cant explain this feeling so many happy relieved emotions I could have danced around the ward ran the corridor screaming I honestly have never wanted to scream so loud with emotions.

28th of January 2019 came and those words CANCER IS GONE - I WON !!!! Best news EVER!!!

Throught this whole journey, the hardest part was loosing myself in this, not fulfilling my role as being a mother not recognising myself. People tend to think Cancer, hey you going to be sick and loose so much weight etc. this for me couldn't of been further from truth with myself I gained weight with the high dose of steroids that I was on. I also hit a stage I had to be put on anti depressants my mental health didnt do to well having everything taking away self independence having to rely and ask for help, I just wanted to be well again but even now I'm still suvering from early menopause, sore bones fatigue, I just hope in time I can try find myself and get back to where I paused life.

I want to just finish with, I would never have got through this journey if it wasn't for my Mum, step dad, family, my kids, partner Kenny and my best friend Lauren giving me the courage and keeping me focused on positivity.


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