Cancer as a young person
Hope you are doing well.
I wanted to start this discussion about cancer as a young person as my worries and what I find important in life maybe be different to what an adult might have worries about.
I was diagnosed in 2013 with Large Cell Anaplastic Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma or Lymphoma for short. Initially after being diagnosed I was given 6 rounds of chemo which put me into remission and I was sent on my way with regular check ups. Then, 9 months later, I relapsed and was given 2 years worth of weekly low dose chemo called Vinblastine. However, this only kept the lymphoma at bay whilst I was on treatment and one month after finishing I relapsed again. This is where my transplant story begins.
I was given 5 rounds of antibody treatment to get rid of any remaining lymphoma and had a non-related donor transplant in January 2017. The only thing that went smoothly was the hour or so I received my donor cells. After that it was all down hill. I had GVHD which did not go away with steroids so I had this treatment called ECP. This is a process where a machine took my blood and zapped the white blood cells with UV light. I had this a couple times a week for 2/3 months.
My main worry having cancer as a young person was school work. During my first round of treatment, my main source of schooling came from the hospital teacher as I was still in primary school. During round 2, I spent most of my time chasing teachers around my high school trying to catch up on work. I used to get chemo on a Thursday morning and more often than not, I would be off school the rest of the week. So, when I was well, I would always have my head in a book.
Schooling during transplant was basically none existent because of being so unwell. I took 6 months off school the year before I was about to start exams. So I had a long road ahead of me if I wanted to not only sit my exams with the rest of my year group, but to get the grades in the relevant subjects to be able to study medicine. The high school I attended and my friends really supported me to transition back into school life.
Overall, the main bit of information I took from all of this is that life doesn't not slow down or stop for you, it just keeps on going. You just have to gauge how long it takes to get back up to full speed again.
If anyone has any questions about cancer as a young person please ask.
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