Friday, 23 May 2014


 This day 2 years ago - 23.05.12 I made my way to Birch ward at my local hospital where I was told the dreadful news that I had cancer, not any cancer but a rare type of Leukaemia, Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. At this point I did not know much about cancer. Consultants were throwing all this information at myself & my family. My mind was a blur, what is cancer? what is chemotherapy? when can I go home? will i die? I was a normal 19 year old and never had anything wrong with me. I worked two jobs, one being an apprenticeship in business and the other cleaning a uni. Then BOOM I was faced with the news no one wants to hear. My life changed, my life paused and I had to enter the 'cancer world'.

Cancer is such a broad word as there are so many different types, stages & treatments. I didn't know at the time I was diagnosed that I would need a stem cell transplant as my consultants told me it was a last option BUT now here I am 2 years on and 18 months post stem cell transplant. It's a miracle, having a transplant has saved my life and I am so grateful for that. This time last year I was only 6 months post transplant and didn't feel too good, sleeping all day and still suffering with mouth sores and shingles. Now I am in a completely different state, I don't sleep as much and haven't suffered with shingles since last year (touch wood) Even though I am still in the 'recovery stage' I feel so much better than I did this time last year. I am starting to feel normal but wish I felt 100% myself. I wasn't prepared for how having a transplant would effect me physically and emotionally. I still feel fatigued and suffer with severe muscle pain. I didn't think it was normal to still feel like this and I keep comparing myself to other people I know who feel a lot better than me. I envy them in a way as I have forgot what it's like to feel like a normal young adult, to not ache when walking, to not be worried about catching a cough or cold and to not worry about cancer returning. I am looking forward to getting to the '2 year post' mark, as when I hit that stage the chance of relapse halves to 15%. :)  My consultant has reassured me that a full recovery can take up to 5 years and told me to not compare myself to others as we have all had different treatment that effects each individual in different ways. 

I have been reflecting on everything I have done and all the amazing people I have met since being diagnosed and in a way I feel cancer is in some way a blessing as I have met so many inspirational people. I have made friendships that I will cherish forever and I wouldn't have been able to if I wasn't in this 'cancer world'.  Being in the 'cancer world' you are faced with both positive and negative as you meet amazing people & some loose their battle with cancer which is really upsetting. My friend Freya is such an inspirational lady who I met 2 years ago when I was diagnosed, we were both treated on the same ward and had stem cell transplants. After both finishing treatment we used to meet up and talk about everything. Devastatingly she relapsed and lost her battle with cancer earlier this year, she is a true star who I will never forget. 
Being diagnosed with cancer has also led me to my interest in charity work. I have been really involved with the CLIC Sargent charity and I love to help fund raise money for them. So far our total amount raised is £557.26 for the charity. They have supported us a lot since being diagnosed in 2012 and I have recently joined the young persons advisory group, CYPAG.  I have also recently volunteered at local events such as the Plymouth half marathon and the Big bucket collection. 

I think cancer has has changed me a lot as a person as I now think of my life and future differently. If I want to do something I don't really think twice as i believe that life is too short. Before being diagnosed I didn't know about cancer and it isn't until you enter the 'cancer world' you learn so much about different cancers, treatments & effects. That's one of the main reasons I write & share my story with you all. To raise awareness and to help understand living with cancer. By writing this blog I have also realised how much I enjoy writing and find it in some way very therapeutic. It's incredible to know that people from all around the world follow my blog and a great way for myself to reflect on my progress and to see how far I have come. 
I wouldn't have been able to get this far if it wasn't for the positive support from my amazing family & friends. 
Love you all xxx
Always Smiling x

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