My Cancer Story
This picture was taken on Wednesday 12th November 2014, my 1st session of 6 cycles of ABVD Chemotherapy. This consisted of twelve infusions each fortnight for a period of six months.
Why the need for chemo? Well I discovered a swollen gland near my left collar bone around early Summer of 2014. After a couple of weeks of it not going down I made an appointment to see the doctor.
At my first appointment I was referred to the hospital to have an ultra sound on my neck. Once the results came back I was told over the phone that the glad wasn’t of a size to be concerned about and that I should go back to the doctors in a year if the glad still it hasn’t gone down!
I knew this just was not right. I am no expert but I’m pretty sure that glands are supposed to go down and mine hadn’t. I went back to the GP for a second opinion and I was referred back to the Hospital, this time for a fine needle biopsy. By the end of September 2014 it was confirmed that I had Hodgkins Lymphoma Stage 4B advanced, a “curable” blood cancer that effects the lymph nodes.
Cancer?! But you’re healthy no?! I know right! I too was pretty surprised. Hodgkins Lymphoma is the most common cancer among the under 30’s, so I’ve taken that as a compliment!
It’s was pretty hardcore six months and chemo is a lifesaving b*tch! Let me tell you that make up and faux hair are a magical thing of wonder and If you had no idea that I was sick – great! It worked! I figured that I was not going to be defined by The Big C and that it was just something I was going through at that time and not who I am.
I had my final dose of chemotherapy on Wednesday 15th April 2015 and I was given the best news of complete remission in June that year.
Thrilled to be back in good health I felt that there was no better time to jump out of a plane and fundraise for the Lymphoma Association. I did a tandem skydive raising just over £2000.00 for the charity that provided me with all the information that I needed about my pre diagnosis symptoms.
My Hodgkins Lymphoma symptoms included itchy skin, night sweats, tiredness and swollen glands. I also had lower back pain and my PET/CT scans showed this was because the cancer was in my bone marrow.
If it wasn’t for the information provided on the Lymphoma Association website I would not have considered Hodgkins Lymphoma to have been my worst case scenario diagnosis. Nothing prepares you for hearing it said to you out loud, but being readily informed made it mildly easier to swallow.
I cannot thank everyone who sponsored me enough and I highly recommend doing a tandem skydive, it is a great mind reset. If you would like to view the full skydive video you can do so by clicking the skydive picture above.
Now 2018 – I have just two more routine check ups to go and then I will be discharged for good, I cannot wait for that day.
Meanwhile I am sharing what I learned on this journey and particularly my experience with hair loss and wig trickery here on my blog and in person offering my help through my mobile wig project Zoe Vivo.
I hope it helps or inspires. Thank you so much for reading. x