The Emotional Climb

Today I start a 6-week course at my local Macmillan Centre called HOPE; Help to Overcome Problems Effectively, which was developed in collaboration between Coventry University and Macmillan Cancer Support.

I managed to get one of the last places on this round and it was as a result of essentially hitting rock bottom, and having what can only be called an emotional breakdown after my treatment had ended.  At this point, I turned to Macmillan as the only source of support I knew to exist at this time, and no direct support coming from the health service.

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Fight for Fertilty after Lymphoma

This time last year, we were sat in the consultant office at our local fertility centre exploring the options we had available to us.  When I was initially diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I was told that the chemotherapy may affect my fertility but due to its advanced nature there were no options available to me.   I think this, second potentially to my hospitalisation , was the most stressful point of my treatment journey.

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Goodbye 2018

As 2018 comes to an end, I can’t help but look back and think about the past year. 

This time last year as we were about to head into 2017, I have no recollection of New Years Eve.  The only thing I remember is how I felt at that time; extremely stressed and anxious.  Not for the treatment and diagnosis for the year to come, although I am sure subconsciously that played apart in it, but at that time to find a solution to preserve my future dreams, in particular the ability to have children. 

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Following the news that I was officially in remission, I am not afraid to say that I have struggled emotionally and psychologically.  It has been as if all the strength and attitude I mustered in building protective dams around me, just collapsed and imploded on themselves at that point.

Furthermore, the positive messages portrayed through social media made me feel like this wasn’t a normal response.  Surely I am suppose to be elated, grateful, running off and living my fullest life???

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Three Months Later….How is Life Different?

Today, 11th October 2018 marks three months since my final chemotherapy session and  I’m surprised how quickly that time has passed.  Life has definitely returned to “normal”, with nursery runs, household chores and everything that makes up life, and it is a joy not to have to go to a hospital every week but what has changed.

Everyone says cancer changes you, but does it? and why does it? Big questions that at this milestone I find myself thinking about.

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Listen to me

Being at the receiving end of care as a health professional myself has been an eye opening experience. I have been overwhelmed by how amazing some people are at their jobs, displaying the right amount of empathy and humour and genuinely taking an interest in the well being of those they look after. But equally, I have observed and been on receiving care where I have left myself wondering why that individual chooses to work in that role. I appreciate that stresses of the job, outside pressures not to mention what might be going on for that individual that I and others are not privy too, can influence how any person may be or act. But at that time, and in that moment when the person sat in front of you requires your care and your help, they need you to listen to them, take an interest in what they are saying and show even basic politeness. The power of listening, truly actively listening is immense. In this world we are all so busy that it is very easy to quickly forget how to really listen to each other. But the impact when we do is really important, especially in healthcare.

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Bye Bye Drugs

So today, 10 weeks after my final chemotherapy session, I packed up all the drugs that have seen me through the last 9 months and took them to my local pharmacy.  

I don’t know why it has taken me so long to get rid of them.  There they have been sat on my dressing table, taking up valuable room and there they have been the whole time, since starting on this journey.  But for last few days I have been looking at them and thinking I need to get rid of them and today I did it.  I wonder if in my subconscious I wasn’t quite ready to do it before, because maybe it hadn’t sunk in that I didn’t need them now.  I think there remained this underlying belief that my consultant had been wrong, and that I was going to get the phone call telling me that they misread the scan and that I needed to resume treatment.  But as the time goes on, I am accepting that this isn’t going to happen, and to essentially box up the past 9 months and truly move on to the next phase, I needed to box up the drugs that provide me with a daily reminder.   

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