What cancer were you diagnosed with?

Hodgkins Lymphoma


What age were you diagnosed?

21


What helped you to thrive?

I started writing a blog to inform, update and help other people who might be going through the same sort of thing. I searched and searched for a blog which felt relatable to me when I was first diagnosed but I couldn’t find anything which felt positive in the same way I did, so I had to start one. Helping other people through their journey and being able to give people advice makes me feel like there's a reason I have this, to help others. Of course my amazing family and friends, the NHS, my oncologist and teenage cancer trust team at Southampton Hospital.


Olivia's Story

I went to my GP with complaints of chest pains when I drink alcohol, at first the doctor told me that this was down to anxiety, and that I had made it up in my head. I persisted and things got worse as well as the discovery of lumps in my neck. The next doctor suggested that I should get tested for Lymphoma as a precaution, just to rule it out. The words Lymphoma meant nothing to me, and I walked out of the doctors feeling relieved if anything with the idea I might have Lymphoma, it wasn't until I got home and googled it that I realised this was actually cancer (PANIC)!!!!

The following appointments bought us closer and closer to that diagnosis, and I realised it was actually happening, to ME. The weeks that followed were full of a LOT ‘whyyyy meee’ tears, I would fill my drive to work with plans of how I would tell my family the news and mostly worrying about how ugly I would look with no hair. The worst part about the diagnosis is how slow the process is, awaiting results and answers from doctors, and thinking how could you possibly be taking so long when you have thrown my life upside down like this, I just want an answer.

My first appointment at the oncology centre at the hospital after being referred by my GP really hit home. I didn't even know what the word oncology meant until I arrived into the waiting room. Looking around at how unwell people were filled me with dread and I knew my mum felt the same., but we daren't even think so negatively at this point. I underwent various tests and had an X-Ray at the hospital… After, I was assigned a (lovely) nurse and had a long chat with her, she reassured me of how great the hospital and doctors were, how she promised that they would make me better and that they deal with a lot of young people with cancer so I wasn't to worry. This was when I realised that everything was becoming a reality, and they clearly knew I had it at this point but they weren't able to give me an official diagnosis without carrying out a biopsy. This was my first surgery where I had a lymph node taken out of my neck under general anaesthetic. Two weeks later the results were completely as expected and I was diagnosed with stage 2A Hodgkins Lymphoma two days before my 22nd birthday!

Here is the link to Olivia's blog: www.twentysecondyear.co.uk