Being diagnosed with cancer at 21 is definitely something you never ever expect to have to go through.. having your hair falling out in bunches is something most girls my age would only have nightmares about! Go to the doctor and get checked if you're ever unsure of anything, it could save your life!
All I had was a cough that just wouldn’t go away and a very high heart rate, I didn’t have any visible lumps or bumps. I thought it was a chest infection and didn’t think too much of it.
But after 2 months I decided to go to my college doctor. Thankfully I was sent for a chest X-Ray and they found a 10cm wide tumour pressing on my heart and lungs, and a smaller one in my neck!
I started chemotherapy 10 days later. 59 bags/injections of chemotherapy drugs, 20 sessions of radiotherapy, 6 PET/CT scans, 4 Chest X-Rays, a biopsy, 3 blood transfusions, 2 potassium infusions, 7 months of steroids, 22 G-CSF injections, 2 courses of IV antibiotics, 1 PICC line, too many hospital admissions to count.. AND A GLOBAL PANDEMIC later.. I’m still waiting for that clear scan to officially be in remission, but my past 2 scans have been stable!
Having cancer treatment during covid meant chemotherapy treatment alone, radiotherapy alone, appointments alone, no visitors when I was admitted, and not being able to see friends for months as my immune system was so low that it was too dangerous. Cancer is a lonely enough time without a global pandemic on top.
But cancer doesn’t stop during times like these so please, if you feel like something might be wrong, get it checked, if you’re not happy, get a second opinion! I’m so glad I did!
A whole year later and I’m finally back in uni, my final year to become a cardiac physiologist and getting back to some normality. I am so grateful every day!