I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in 2009, a type of cancer that forms in the lymphatic system. I had noticed symptoms around October 2008, which was over a year prior to my diagnosis. I had been suffering from night sweats for quite some time and always coming down with infections frequently, which led to me coughing out blood on a number of occasions. Being an active guy who regularly went to the gym, fatigue crept in from time to time but I just dismissed it as it was due to my workout regime.
However, the one symptom that alarmed me the most was when I discovered a lump at the back left corner of my neck that remained inflamed for a number of months. This was a painless squidgy lump that persisted for a while, so I decided to go to the doctors to check it out. From the beginning of getting things checked out by the doctor to an official diagnosis took about 8 months. I had to go for a biopsy of the actual lump which led to the first official diagnosis. All I remember was asking the doctor, ‘What is Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?’ He said, ‘A kind of cancer…’. and I cannot remember anything else he said.
I went through chemo treatments for 6 months of which I was confirmed all clear in June 2010. I kept on going for doc appointments until I was told that my cancer was in full remission in 2014. Going through chemo was one of the most trying experiences I had ever gone through because of the side effects I suffered from, however it was one the best times for my mental health because I was able to reflect and re-prioritise my life. I was able to count my blessings and look to the future knowing fully well that if I became a cancer survivor, I will turn this tragedy into triumph.
Now I run a social enterprise called Freshrb C I C that is designed to use video production to raise the awareness of life limiting and marginalised health conditions like cancer and other health conditions. Our aim is to build engagement with health research, build therapeutic hotspots with video as a tool for people living with these health conditions and teach media skills. This is just the beginning and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.