Friday 11th October 2019
Hearing the words 'you have cancer' is something I never expected to hear in my lifetime.
However, having a cancer diagnosis has been the most beautiful tragedy to have ever happened to me and, although it wasn’t an easy journey, it’s been a huge blessing in disguise. I became unapologetically myself and have met some incredible beings along the way while experiencing some amazing opportunities as well. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in August 2018, I underwent months of ABVD chemotherapy and a month of radiotherapy before entering the wonderful world of remission.
Life after cancer is a huge blessing and has me feeling like a 2.0 version of myself. I always say it shouldn’t have taken cancer to make me the person I am today.
I find myself going for things that I would’ve never even considered before my diagnosis. I always try to step out of my comfort zone because I never know where it could take me. During treatment, my weight was the lowest it has ever been; I found myself being really self-conscious in certain outfits and simply wanted to cover up and live in oversized attire.
One thing I did to try and take my mind off of everything was experiment with my makeup - I’m not an MUA so this was very interesting. I found that I was less worried about the opinions of others and wanted to do things for myself. I was open to experimenting and discovering what looks were for me and those that I should maybe only do at home. I would try and experiment with different eye looks especially and try to match my eyeshadow with my headwraps.
It was a little something that I looked forward to and I found it quite liberating to finally be trying a variety of styles.
One of the most difficult challenges I faced during my diagnosis was that I was the youngest person in my ward(s) and the only ethnic person. This in turn made me determined to want to connect with other young people and especially Black Asian and Minority Ethnic groups. Being a minority is hard enough, let alone when there’s a huge taboo around cancer in your community. Thankfully my immediate family and friends are incredibly supportive and loving throughout my whole journey.
However, there were a lot of opinions and ‘myths’ around cancer that were pushed onto me. At one point I was even advised not go through chemotherapy because 'it’s poison and will kill you'. Pretty daunting words to hear before your first round of chemo, already feeling overwhelmed and unsure for the future I had to do what was best for me. After all, I was the main person effected by my decisions.
Due to the fact that I went through treatment feeling isolated and confused, I knew I wanted to do all I could to share my story and raise awareness. To let others, especially those in the BAME community, know that they aren’t alone and it’s okay. There is nothing to be ashamed of.
You’ll have your good days and your bad days, all of which are a part of the process and build you up to be the best version of yourself.
Try something new and simply go for it because you’ve only got one life. Take time to do a bit of self-love/care and remember to turn your wounds into wisdom.