Saturday, 19 December 2015

One year on..

On the 18th of december 2014 I was told by the doctors at my local hospital "We think you have leukaemia".

I clung onto the word 'think' until the next day when it was clarified that I did in fact, at 17, have cancer. So today is the day I consider it being a year since I was diagnosed. The news that broke my heart & changed my life forever. The news that has formed me into the strong person I am today.

Unhappy 1st birthday to my cancer! Too bad, you didn't win this time.

If you would have asked me where I saw myself in a year's time in 2014, I would have said something along the lines of completing my college course with good grades and looking into getting a full time job in my desired industry. 2015 was suppose to be a fresh start for myself and my mum after having what we though to be a rough year in 2014 and we was more than ready for our new beginnings to begin. I certainly didn't imagine my life being set back a year, my goals being postponed and my ambitions in life to change.  

Although I would never wish my diagnosis upon my worst enemy, it was a blessing in disguise. It has opened my young eyes into looking at the world in a whole new light. Behind closed doors, you never know what someone is going through; physically, mentally or emotionally. Although they may put on a brave face, their true self is most likely hidden away from the public. I get this assumption from the fact that although I was terribly ill, and I would endure hours of gruesome chemotherapy treatment that would make me feel like I wasn't walking on the same earth as others around me, I still got on the busy tube with a full face of makeup and a wig. No-one would bat an eyelid at me, I was one of them, so why should they give up their sit for me? I needed it, but I refused to ask to sit down. I wanted to be a normal person again. I let the world see my mask that made me out to be a normal young girl that should be able to physically stand on the tube with no problem. I didn't allow random tube-goers around me to see the true vulnerable girl that I had become. 

There has been times where I have had a seat on the tube and my blood counts were terribly low, but I would still want to give my seat to another. Although I needed the seat myself, I always thought there was someone else worse off than myself. The guilt inside of me would build up as the elderly person was left to stand, why was everyone else so selfish not to give their seat up? But then again, they could have thought the exact same thing about me. Which brings me back to the point that you never know what is going on behind someone's closed doors. 

At one point during the year, where I had been newly diagnosed, I pushed open the car door with all my struggling might and clambered out. I slowly started to walk towards my local train station, looking down at the floor, when I just stopped. "I can't do this anymore". My eyes filled with uncontrollable tears as I questioned whether this is all worth it? Maybe my time in this world was up? Maybe this had happened to me for a reason? Of course, my mum gave me words of encouragement and I carried on my journey towards UCLH to receive my much needed treatment. A year on, I look back at this thought of giving up and think how selfish could I be. Throughout the year, I have had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful people that haven't been as fortunate as me in regards to having a treatment that allows them to fight this disease. And there I was, questioning whether a couple years of treatment was worth it to give me many more years of living. I would give anything in this world for all cancer's to be as curable as mine is. This has made me make a promise to myself to live the happiest life I can, not to let money control it (as it seems my generation strive to be millionaires), as money cannot buy you a happy and healthy life. 

In the last year, I have grown significantly as a person, for what I believe has been for the better. At some point in the year, my treatment mentally changed me at the time and made me believe I had formed into an unrecognisable and dreadful person. Now, I can look back on all that I went through and realise that it wasn't me turning into a horrible person, it was just a horrible, mind controlling side effect of some of my treatment. I have had many up's and down's throughout my cancer journey and my outlook on life has significantly changed, for the better. It is fulfilling to reminisce on all I have conquered within the past year; being continuously prodded, poked and injected. I have discovered my first unusual allergy (a form of chemotherapy). I have probably cried enough tears to fill a small swimming pool. . But most importantly, I can proudly say that in 2015, I beat cancer. 

Thank you so much to all the help from blood donors, doctors, nurses and more that helped save my life this year. I definitely know what I am thankful for this christmas, and all the christmases to come. 

So I now ask, in 2015, where do I see myself in the next year? It's simple, happy and most importantly, healthy. 

As cringe-worthy as that may sound to others, to me it is a personal goal that I wish to achieve next year as my 2015 has been full of negative emotions and bad health. Good health and happiness are my main priorities in this short life we all live. If I was still able to smile and laugh throughout one of the toughest years I will probably ever endure in my life time, then I sure can smile and laugh my way into the next year, and many more years to come.  

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