Age: 20

Diagnosis

When I was 16 when I started to get nosebleeds, back pain and vomiting. I went to the doctor and he gave me a blood test. It was 24 hours after the blood test I was told I had acute myeloid leukaemia.

When I heard that I had cancer, I said to myself why did it have to be me? I was only 16 and thought of cancer as an old person’s disease. I was also wondering if I was going to live or die. But then when the doctors told me what treatment they were going to give and how the procedures were going to work out, I kind of understood what was going to happen. And I thought I’d rather not get angry or be so upset about it.

I realised there were so many other young people like me going through the same problems and I came to a point where I realised that I was not alone.

Treatment

I was treated on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at University College London Hospital and had chemotherapy treatment which gave me bad sickness and headaches. I also had an allergic reaction to some antibiotics. The treatment lasted five months which might sound a long time but you do get to go home for a week or maybe longer and have rest and then come back for a another phase of the treatment, so I got used to it.

Being on a Teenage Cancer Trust Unit has been absolutely amazing. I made friends, and Teenage Cancer Trust have supported me a lot and provided a lot of stuff for us on the unit to keep ourselves occupied such as a pool table, Ps3, arts and crafts, board games, DVD movies to watch etc.

The youth support coordinator on the ward let me be myself in the ward and always put a smile on my face, also I thought by smiling a lot it would help. Keeping myself happy and doing what I love doing on the ward helped such as listening to music and dance.

Life after cancer

The moment when I was told I had finished treatment, I had tears running down my face as I knew I had beaten cancer’s butt and never had to go through all the crappy feelings that the treatment makes you feel.

I’m now 4 years in remission but I do have regular check-ups every 8 months with a lovely doctor from University College London Hospital.

Having cancer has changed my life a lot in a good way because it has taught me how short life can be. And I’ve learnt to stay strong, have hope and always smile at everything that you go through in life because life is too short to be anything but happy.