It's always difficult condensing over 8 years of treatment and experiences into a couple of paragraphs...
I was diagnosed, aged 22, with 'Old Mans Cancer', otherwise known as Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML). I feel that I had a pretty awful experience due to having a consultant who was less familiar dealing with younger CML patients. I called my clinic 'Gods Waiting Room' as everyone was much older than me. When I started to show severe intolerance to my treatment my consultant told me that I couldn't be feeling like that as research showed that I wouldn't. Fortunately, I now have the most amazing consultant. I am a part of my treatment plan and I make decisions alongside my medical team. I look healthy which is good, but it also means that people don't realise my ongoing battle with chronic fatigue.
Currently I am on drug option 'number 4' which is also the last one that I can try - due to severe side effects. As a result of my treatment, I often feel like I live in limbo land - a place where I am in remission but will likely be on a chemotherapy pill for the rest of my life. However, I have never had intravenous chemotherapy or radiotherapy. I am a long term user of the NHS which is why I get involved with so many patient groups etc - always with my TYA 'lost tribe' hat on. I get involved to make a positive change, not to whinge... That's why I have my blog!
The thing I like about Trekstock, and why I want to get involved, is that the charity goes up to the age of 39. I think it's vital that support goes beyond the age of 25. I know that at 30 I feel, in many ways, the same as I did at 22. The same things that were important to me then are still valid today.
I also like the focus that Trekstock places on exercise and nutrition which are vital for everyone - not just to someone who has had a cancer diagnosis. Spreading awareness is so important and to be a part of that excites me. Also because (and this might sound strange) Trekstock isn't a massive corporate charity, the focus is still very much on us (the young adults who have experienced cancer) and this hasn't been forgotten. I feel like part of a little family and, that to me, is essential.
What has helped me thrive?
My friends and family, they are amazing.
The Teenage Cancer Trust, they gave me a voice and a confidence when I discovered them in 2008.
Getting involved with patient focus groups and having my say.
Training as a Naturopathic Physician - using my knowledge of what it's like to have chronic illness to help others with a more natural non-invasive way.
Learning I can jog long distance with enough training and completing both a half (2010) and full marathon (2012). Fingers crossed for 2016 with the London Marathon and getting a place.
Getting on with it and using everything in a positive way.