GET SUPPORT GET CONNECTED Your Voices Joanna What cancer were you diagnosed with? Hodgkin’s lymphoma What age were you diagnosed? 33 What has helped you to thrive? Exercise has saved me through cancer. I have always been active, always gone to the gym. It is my go-to activity to support my mental health and de-stress. I made a conscious decision that cancer would not take this away from me. So, I have continued to exercise throughout my four months of chemo. I go to the gym, I go spinning, I run, I walk, I do pilates and yoga and circuit classes. Keeping active has been especially helpful on the days when I don’t feel great or I am experiencing treatment side effects. No matter how bad I feel, moving about even if just for a walk, helps to relieve pain, gives me more energy, clears my mind, and allows me to focus on the positive. This is why I am fundraising for Trekstock and have signed up to their 30k South Downs hike. I believe wholeheartedly in their mission and aim to keep young adults moving physically, psychologically and socially through cancer. It has also given me something to work towards through my treatment. Goals are so important to recovery. Training for a long hike whilst actively on chemotherapy has been a challenge, but it’s one which gets me out of bed, gets me moving, and ultimately provides a positive and meaningful outcome to the difficult journey these last six months have been for me. One step at a time, I’ve been moving forward, keeping active through cancer. Jo's Story I was 33 years old when I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in May 2019. I never thought it would happen to me. I was too fit, too active, too young. I had been spending the last year focused entirely on my career. I had just finished a PhD, I had been travelling in Australia and China presenting at conferences, I was winning awards and applying for prestigious jobs. I was naturally exhausted from all this hard work, I thought I had a simple case of burnout, that I just needed to rest. In February 2019 I took a couple of weeks off work to recuperate, but I never felt any better. I was just completely exhausted, all of the time. I spent days in bed. I stopped going to the gym, I stopped socialising. I stopped going out. I had noticed a lump in January, under my arm. I put it down to a gym injury. I didn’t think for a second it could be cancer. I just thought it would go away on its own. Fast forward to May, I mentioned said lump in passing to my GP, which by now was the size of a half tennis ball. Ten days later I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I had not even heard of blood cancer when the consultant told me. I had to Google ‘Lymphoma’. My only experience with cancer and cancer treatment had been what I had seen in the media or in films. I found I didn’t associate with the typical portrayal of a cancer patient; old, frail and bed-bound. Early on in my treatment journey I decided that I was going to do cancer MY WAY.