Hi my name is Katie, I’m 18 years old and this is my cancer story.
I first noticed something wasn’t right over the Christmas period 2017, I lost a hell of a lot of weight!! I was also very breathless, weak, tired and I would really sweat at night time. At the time I didn’t think anything of it until I started getting a really sore neck, and then one day when I was at work I actually noticed a very large lump on my neck just under my jaw. I had never noticed it before and it was sore and very tender, so I got 2 friends that I worked with to have a look. Obviously they weren’t doctors so they just said it could possibly be swollen glands! The day after I told my mum that I found a lump in my neck and I remember the look on her face when I told her, (let’s face it, it’s never good when one of your family members tells you they’ve found a lump somewhere). She told me to go to the walk in centre as soon as possible, which is exactly what I did and I was there first thing the morning after. I got to the walk in centre but the doctor wasn’t too sure what it was so I had a blood test. I was very proud of myself that day because I’m absolutely PETRIFIED of needles! The same day, my GP rang me and said I had to go in for some more blood tests the morning after which is what I did.
I was in such a good mood and so excited because it was the day before my 18th birthday! I didn’t think anything of it at all and thought it could have been some sort of viral infection. After I had my bloods done at my GP, they rang me back the same night and said my white blood cells were extremely high and something was not right. They told me to go and see my doctor straight away which is what me and my mum did. My doctor was amazing and he fast tracked me to the hospital to have a biopsy 5 days after. After this I still didn’t think anything of it, because it was my 18th birthday the day after so I had a very good birthday weekend and prepared myself for the needle biopsy. The day came round and I was so upset and panicked by the size of the needle that was about to go into my neck (after it was numb of course).
After a week or so the results came back inconclusive, but the doctor I saw at the hospital said that it could possibly be cancer and to prepare myself for the worst but of course I didn’t believe him because what 18 year old girl wants to believe they have cancer? Due to the inconclusive results, I had to have an operation to take out one of my lymph nodes. After a long and painful wait of about 3/4 weeks it was finally time to find the results out and on Friday, 13th April 2018 I found out the worst news of my life. My doctor just looked at me and shook his head and I knew instantly it was bad news.
He said ‘unfortunately it is cancer, it’s Hodgkin’s lymphoma and you will have to have chemotherapy’. I immediately started crying and my whole world just came crashing down.
Fast forward a month and I started 12 cycles of ABVD on the 10th May 2018. I had a scan after 7 rounds and luckily I responded really well to the chemo and my cancer was all gone although I had to carry on having treatment until the 12 cycles was done. All in total, I had a whopping 49 tumours in the left side of my neck, 5 in the right side of my neck, 1 in my spleen and a couple more down the left side of my armpit.
I had my last chemo on the 17th of October and finally got the all clear on the 21st of November!!