On 26 September 2012, I was diagnosed with stage 2a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. That night, my parents and I drove to Sydney, and the next day, I had multiple scans. A few days later, I started chemotherapy. Every day for seven days I went to Sydney Children’s Hospital to have my chemo. After one week, I was allowed to go home. I had one day of respite and had another day of chemo in Canberra. I was told that I would probably have no complications and that the most difficult part of the process would be the chemotherapy.
Although chemotherapy was far from easy, the worst part was the complications I did end up having. Less than a week after my most recent chemotherapy, on a Monday morning at 4am, I woke up with horrible pain in my stomach. I was rushed to the hospital where it was discovered that my bowel had collapsed in on itself as a complication from the chemotherapy. After 24 hours of fasting and an air enema, I was starting to feel better and was discharged on Wednesday that week. This is also the day that I had my now thinning hair shaved off.
This was the start of a constant cycle, where I would be admitted to hospital, spend a few days there and be discharged. After less than six months and what felt more like six years, on 25 January 2013, I entered remission. I had checkups every six weeks for a year, then every three months and I will continue to have check-ups until 4 December 2017.
So, two weeks after I turn 18 I hope to be able to say, “I’m cured”.
After I completed chemotherapy I was sent out into the world. The cancer was gone, but the effect this ordeal had on me was both physical and mental, and although my body recovered quickly, I was still left with the mental consequences.
The support that organisations like Cancer Council ACT gave me was more effective than any pill or drug. Every year since I battled cancer, I have participated in the Cancer Council’s Relay for Life in an effort to give back to the organisation that helped me so much and to help try to stop this terrible disease from turning another young person’s life upside down.