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1. The day everything changed

“Things change… things happen… things you can’t even imagine when you’re young and full of hope.” - Judy Blume

I will never forget the 13th of November 2013. After a few weeks of trips to and from the doctors/hospital for various tests and scans following some stomach cramps, I received a phone call from a young lady doctor. Trying to sound as calm and reassuring as possible, she asked me to come in to the hospital urgently for my results and then the dreaded sentence followed “be sure to bring a loved one with you”. It was then I knew, she wasn’t just asking me in for something trivial, this would be serious, how serious I was not quite prepared for.

The following morning, my sister and I waited anxiously in the gynaecology unit of the Royal London Hospital. I was preparing myself for the worst, of which I thought would be a large ovarian cyst, needing surgical removal and perhaps leaving me infertile at the young age of 21. A part of me wanted to stay sitting in that waiting room forever, I really didn’t want to face what was on the other side of the doctor’s office door. However, soon enough we were in there, where for me, everything went in to slow motion and I honestly can only remember a few glimpses. The word ‘biopsy’, the word ‘cancer’ and the sound of my sister shriek will never leave me.

Upon hearing the diagnosis, my initial feeling was actually relief, which may sound odd given I had just been told awful news. However I think deep down, I knew something was wrong with me and to actually have it diagnosed was somewhat comforting, especially following the weeks on end of feeling unwell without any explanation. That sense of relief soon faded when the reality of Cancer set in.

With many diseases you immediately think, “what’s the treatment and how long will it take?” However as soon as my ‘Cyst’ diagnosis suddenly turned in to ‘Cancer’, my first thoughts changed to “Am I going to die?”. It seemed strange how the word cancer automatically brought up so much emotion and heartache, but it was like nothing I’d come face to face with before. Suddenly I was in the war of a lifetime and to make it worse, the attacker was coming from inside of me. If you think about most situations in life, when they become overwhelming, you can usually avoid any dreaded confrontation, you can move away, you can change jobs or the people you surround yourself with, however with Cancer there are two choices, you fight it or you die.

With that in mind, I have embarked on my mission to beat this, with the help of my loving family and friends, my positive outlook, my sense of humour and the bright future that I refuse to miss out on.

(The view from the Royal London Hospital, Gynaecology Unit waiting room)

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