What cancer were you diagnosed with?

Hodgkin's Lymphoma


What age were you diagnosed?

31


Mai Aly's Story

I’m African, to be specific Egyptian. I’m 31, a project manager in IT and living in London. I’ve been diagnosed with stage 4b hodgkin’s Lymphoma on the 28th of November 2018. I’m currently going through 12 rounds of ABVD and hopefully due to finish in May, 2 more sessions to go and my end of treatment PET scan is due end of May

I started noticing the symptoms in December 2017, lost my appetite for food and I’m a big foodie lol, also felt tired all the time but wasn’t really alarmed. I had a pretty tough year last year, lost my mum in Feb, then my dad in August and my cancer diagnosis to finish off the year, so as you can imagine was blaming all my symptoms on grieving, thought of course I feel down, of course I have no appetite I’m grieving... However after my dad passed it took a really aggressive turn, realised i’ve lost 17 kilos in 6 months, all of a sudden I couldn't eat or drink, and by that I mean I could sip water and have snacks then run and vomit cause I couldn't keep anything down and my GP kept sending me home with acid reflux tablets, had a cough that wouldn’t go away for 3 months, eventually decided to go privately through my work - who diagnosed me and started my chemo in 2 weeks - when I felt like I’ve reached a dead end with my GP. I didn’t even have 4-5 weeks to freeze my eggs... 

As you can also imagine when i heard about my diagnosis i just thought i’m gonna die cause i had no energy in me, I was so drained to even trying to fight. I thought I could barely stand, how am I going to take chemo? And at that point I lost 25 kilos in total, about 3 and a half stones.

My biggest motivation is my dad who was a doctor, his entire life was dedicated to pain treatment for cancer patients in Egypt and i remembered the things he used to tell me about people’s mindset and how its important to believe you’ll get through it to survive this horrible illness, i just know he would’ve wanted me to stay positive as much as i could, focus and just get on with it. And that’s what i’ve been trying to do, but more importantly be patient with myself, be kind to myself through it and let myself feel however i feel, this taught me to endure and that strength doesn’t always have to be a big smile and positivity...

In my culture for most people cancer meant death, some family members were so concerned about how public i was posting regularly on facebook about my struggle, they preferred if i kept quiet like it was something to be ashamed of. Also because I didn’t look ill enough for some people, I was told things like you dont even look tired when I was on the bathroom floor every night vomiting my guts out from Cancer thats spread to my liver, stomach, lungs and bones.

I hope one day these stories will help others get diagnosed earlier, understand how to support loved ones with cancer better and demand better medical attention from GPs.

Read more of Mai Aly's story here