Cancer type: Hodgkin lymphoma

I used to work as a supervisor in a nursery and I got that weak that I was struggling to lift the babies out of high chairs. I had itchy skin and night sweats, and I lost a lot of weight.

It got to the point where I was that weak and fatigued that I felt like I was dying. One day, I went to A&E as I was struggling to breath. A subsequent x-ray on my chest showed that I had a 15cm mass.

Everything happened really quickly as I was suffocating due to the pressure of it. I needed a biopsy but they couldn't put me out or sedate me because of my lungs - they just had to do it. 

Demi and KerrieThey confirmed that I had Hodgkin lymphoma just before Christmas, so that Christmas was a blur. I usually spend Christmas with my mum, dad, sister, brother, and fiancé, Wes. I was treated in Antrim Area Hospital and I needed six cycles of chemo and 15 sessions of radiotherapy. I wasn't sick but I felt constantly nauseous, I had achy bones and sore skin, I had difficulty eating and I was in and out of hospital with infections.

Kerrie, Teenage Cancer Trust's local Clinical Nurse Specialist, was there for me throughout. I knew I could contact her if anything worried me. I'd ring her about any wee aches and pains that I had. She also made all my appointments for me so that I didn't have to chase lots of different departments.

While I was going through cancer, I just wanted to protect my family from my worries and the worst of my treatment.

Demi and her mumWes was hit particularly hard as he felt useless in caring for me, as I just wanted my mum. I tried to remain positive and never showed them how upset I got. I didn't have time to think about my mental health. 

After the treatment was over, I found that I was very down and wasn't myself mentally. I was worried that I didn't have a medical team around me anymore and I was scared in case the cancer came back. I've been in remission for a year now, but I still have anxiety over that.

People also expect you to go back to normal and think you are lazy if you need to sleep during the day, and I can't physically cope with being back at work. Being off work also meant I was stuck in the house and had more time for things to play on my mind. 

If I hadn't been helped by Teenage Cancer Trust and didn't have Kerrie to turn to, I would have felt completely abandoned.

She was there if I needed to talk and she set me up with some counselling. She also made sure that I could build up a network of other young people to talk to by inviting me to events like Find Your Sense of Tumour. I've been twice now and it's nice to be around other young people who have been through similar experiences and know how you are feeling.

People who have been through cancer often have a different outlook on life and it was like being part of one big happy family, there was no bickering. There were lots of times since I've been back that I've felt down, so it's nice to know I can talk to the people who I met there when I have felt like that. 

Wes proposed to me five years ago in Tenerife and we were meant to get married the year I was diagnosed, but we couldn't because of the treatment. We are getting married on the 19 December 2018 as that is the date I was diagnosed and we want to change the memories. It's going to be a Christmas themed wedding and I am really excited. 

Young people with cancer like Demi need expert treatment and support. Your support can help them get it.