Sunday, 7 May 2017

2 eventful years later..

When I was younger, I couldn't wait to be older. Now that I am older, I am really beginning to realise that life is way too short and I no longer want to wish my years away. 

It overwhelms me to think that in this exact moment 2 years ago, I was sitting at the teenage cancer trust day care center of UCLH, still actively trying to process my diagnosis and how much my life had dramatically changed within 5 months. Dauntingly looking towards my bleak future which I knew would consist of much more chemotherapy and bland hospital food.

No matter how much time passes, I don't think I will ever get over my cancer diagnosis. It is a horror that will stay with me for my entire lifetime. I think many others that have experienced cancer will agree that although you may have accepted your diagnosis and you are on the path to recovery, or your even in remission, it will still take you by surprise on how it can still emotionally affect you. I am very open about my diagnosis and love the idea of raising awareness by speaking about my personal experiences with cancer, but there has been moments when talking about my experience that it feels like my throat is caving in on me and my eyes start to well up.

Although it is good to talk about the past, I also think it is important to remember how far I have come since that heart breaking day that the news of my cancer consumed me. I need to remember that not every single day was all about cancer. I didn't eat, sleep, breathe cancer (..only sometimes). 

So, I want to look back on the past 2 years and show how cancer didn't totally take over my whole, entire life. The following is a list of things that I am able to look back on across the last 2 years and see how far I have come since December 2014 when my life completely changed -

  • Most importantly, reaching remission and beating Leukaemia (!!!!)
  • Completing my extended diploma 
  • Experiencing the northern lights with my own eyes
  • Getting my first car
  • Celebrating 3 & 4 years with the man that stood by my side through everything 
  • Speaking in front of an overwhelmingly close crowd at the Royal Albert Hall about Teenage Cancer Trust - I even sat on the Queen's royal toilet on her 90th birthday! 
  • Filming a charity campaign for Clic Sergeant to raise awareness of childhood & teenage cancer
  • Getting a part-time job during my maintenance treatment 
  • Moving away from my childhood neighbourhood 
  • Getting my first haircut with my fresh, dye-free hair
  • The excitement of being able to put my hair in a miniature pony tail 
  • Joining the gym, quitting the gym, starting home workouts - 3 minute belly & bum blitz (still going strong as summer is luring and Christmas is still very much present on my hips)
  • Exploring Europe - Paris, Bruges, Reykjavik, Amsterdam & Rome can all be ticked off (many more to go..)
  • Experiencing my first ever sailing trip with the Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust
  • Saying goodbye to my teenage years 
  • Finally, getting so busy with my life that I have noticed that cancer has slowly been left behind me 
So although the past couple of years have been tough, I have also been able to make some incredible memories throughout those years. I wouldn't even have some memories or life experiences if it wasn't for my stint with cancer. So to say that my life has been absolutely terrible since my diagnosis would be absolutely untrue and most importantly, unrealistic. Unrealistic because there were so many times during my darkest days that nurses made me smile, people made an effort to make me laugh and worked so hard to make my cancer experience that little bit easier. I always told myself that I was lucky. I was lucky to have access to the amazing facilities that I did and so many others are denied the exceptional care that I received.

I have truly had an amazing 2 years. Every single person that you encounter, or even a stranger that you pass along the street, has experienced different highs and lows throughout their lifetime. My low just happened to be cancer, but I have never wanted to be labelled as the girl with cancer.. I just want to be Alex.

So, here's to the next 2 years of being Alex.. and many more years after.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Alexandra! I would love to chat to you about some questions I have, if you're keen and have the time. Do you have an email address I could use?