When I was 16 I had a pea sized lump on my neck and when I went to the doctors they said it’s just a lymph node and it will go down soon. I was tired all the time, losing weight and constantly feeling ill, but I felt like no one believed I was sick.
Another small lump came up soon after and over a year they were slowly getting bigger and bigger and I was getting smaller and smaller. Over the course of 18 months I had been to the doctors probably 7 or 8 times but they continued to dismiss my symptoms until New Years Eve 2013. I woke up and my neck had swollen so badly, but having been dismissed so many times I went to work anyway. When I got to work my colleagues were all looking at me like they were concerned and I was sent home by manager who told me to go to the doctors again. When I arrived my GP tried to get me in to my local hospital for a scan but they’d closed the department early.
I remember her saying ‘I really need you to come back tomorrow. I don’t want to worry you, but I don’t like the look of this’. I was sent to an ENT specialist, who told me I needed to have a biopsy. I had no idea that there was something seriously wrong until I woke up and they took my parents away and they said “it’s cancer”.
My diagnosis was stage 3 Hodgkin Lymphoma, and I couldn’t believe I had been walking around with this for so long without medical recognition. After six months of intense chemotherapy, I was in remission. I’ve just reached my 5 year clear milestone.