Age: 23

Cancer type: Hodgkin lymphoma

Diagnosis

I was 23 when I began to feel unwell. I was extremely tired, felt breathless and was struggling to keep food down. My legs were also swollen for no apparent reason. I’d been feeling consistently tired for about 9 months and I went back and forth to my GP for about 6 months to find out what was wrong with me. They put my fatigue down to vitamin deficiency and the breathlessness and wheezing to hay fever. When I fainted they wouldn’t check me over and it was only after I booked to see a doctor of my choice that they listened and carried out tests. 

After a CT Scan and biopsy operation I had a number of phone calls with different appointments at my local hospital. I myself had worked out before what it could be.

When the consultant told me what it was I guess there was relief that I hadn’t been complaining for no good reason but also shock that I had cancer.

I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on 30 January 2015.

Treatment

My treatment began with 2.5 cycles of ABVD Chemotherapy at Bath Hospital, however after another scan my treatment got changed to Escalated BEACOPP, which I started at Bath but then moved to Bristol and then the Teenage Cancer Trust Unit at Bristol for the last 3 cycles. I am now waiting for another scan and will then get the next treatment plan after this. I suffered with some horrible side effects, tiredness, mouth ulcers, constipation, forgetfulness (chemo brain), neuropathy in fingers, joint pain from injections and hair loss.

I didn’t meet anyone at Bath my age or near my age as the patients where a lot older. When the treatment changed I found the ward at the hospital hard to be on.

I felt alone isolated and I also struggled with food and I got quite upset a lot of the time.

From this I moved to the TYA unit in Bristol where it couldn’t have been a better move. I feel supported, I have made friends with other young people going through cancer and if I have to go in for a stay at the hospital I feel more ok with it compared to Bath.

The Teenage Cancer Trust Youth Support Coordinators have been amazing in helping me feel more positive about everything. They have supported me in feeling like I can go out and be a lot more social than what I was before. Before moving over to Bristol’s Teenage Cancer Trust Unit, I didn’t have these opportunities and support in this area.  

I am now out of treatment and go back for regular scans to keep an eye on everything.

I have recently moved into a new job working part time in marketing. The support from the team even after finishing treatment has been amazing. I have been privileged to have had so many opportunities through the Teenage Cancer Trust and to create once in a life time memories.

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