When I was 21 and on a placement year at the National Institute for Medical Research I started to feel unwell. Drawing on my knowledge meant I was able to diagnose myself with Hodgkins Lymphoma. However, it took me a further six months to convince the doctors. I was diagnosed with 2B Hodgkins Lymphoma in February 2010 and had six months of chemotherapy. I became part of a trial study - as a scientist you can't really refuse!
I shared Facebook notes with my friends to keep them informed of my progress and treatment. These notes were being read around the world. It was this online network of people who gave me a purpose and helped me to turn my cancer into something which I could use to communicate to people.
My biggest struggle has been survivorship - when you are finally 'better', but still struggling with late effects, and being seen less and less by the hospital. I went back to university two weeks after treatment and I was in no way prepared for the changed person I would be and how this would impact my entire life. Knowing where to look when times are tough is so important to cancer survivors.
I now have a strong network of "cancer buddies" made through a variety of charities. However, when I was first diagnosed none of this information was made available and I had to search for it all myself (thank goodness for the internet!). This is why I think Trekstock is amazing, no more suffering in silence for young people with cancer.