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Lyra is a trans woman who was diagnosed with testicular cancer after building up the courage to live as her true self. She was also diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the same time


I am a trans woman, and after many years finally got up the courage to be open about who I really am. As I was at last coming into my own, I found myself having an ultrasound to investigate pain in my groin. Within a week, on the day of my 31st birthday no less, I was given a diagnosis of testicular cancer and taken into surgery to have the offending article removed (I think I was the first patient to ask if the urologist to take the other testicle while he was there! Sadly, he didn't).

The cancer, however seemed to have already spread to my chest, so I had chemotherapy. And it did precisely nothing. After some excruciating waiting, I was taken into surgery to get a biopsy (I was operated on by a robot!) And, alas, the chemo did nothing because I hit the bad luck jackpot and managed to get two cancers at the same time.

I started treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma pretty quickly and, although the cancer responded exceedingly well to treatment, my body did not. Every dose landed me in hospital with sepsis. In a few gruelling months, I had surgery 3 times to remove infections, and had pneumonia twice. The novelty of all the fancy machines in intensive care wore off a bit when I realised quite how lucky I was to have survived my final dose.

Treatment was stopped early, but I am now in remission and all I can say is that it is a weird time. There were no fireworks when I got the good news, I didn't even feel like celebrating. I was not fully prepared for the fact that even the most treatable of these diseases will stick with you for the rest of your life.

This eighteen month period in my life has been some of the worst times of my life, and oddly some of the best. I certainly did not plan on going through so much intense treatment when my girlfriend and I went out on our first date just as it was all beginning!

I have never felt as isolated and lonely as when I was in active treatment, but that gave me time to learn about myself, and to learn about the relationships in my life that truly matter. I have always suffered with depression and anxiety, and have at times in my life been suicidal, and this was not at all helped by having cancer. But cancer did give me a new perspective on life and, for what feels like the first time, I actually feel like I have a life that I want to keep living.

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