Hello my lovelies!
This is a bit of a deviation from the norm today, so apologies for those expecting an outfit post (if you're interested, I'm in a cosy polka dot dressing gown from Next - yes, it's one of those days...).
If you're on Twitter, or even if you're not, you might have heard of a girl named Alice Pyne, who innocently started a blog the other day documenting her struggle with terminal cancer.Alice is only 15 years old. The link has since gone viral, as the lovely saying goes, and her sister Milly raised over 30 grand for Race For Life yesterday, all thanks to the work of Twitter and the lovely people responding to it. At first I was swept up in the pure goodness of the whole thing, as it has really restored my faith in humanity and it just made me so happy seeing all these people clubbing together, both to raise money for Cancer Research UK and to help Alice achieve her bucket list, despite it being unutterably sad that at 15 this young girl feels she must have a bucket list. On Saturday, I stumbled across an article in the Telegraph about Alice and her blog, and one thing in particular stood out to me: she is suffering from Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
And this tiny piece of information has shaken me to the core.
I was 17 when I too was diagnosed with Hodgkin's. At 17, you feel like the world is your oyster and nothing can stand in your way. At 17, the word "cancer" is something you tend to hear about older people, people in their twilight years. I can imagine Alice's response to finding out about her illness, because I imagine it must have been similar to my own. Disbelieving doesn't quite cut it. I don't want to go into too much detail about my illness; it's over now, thank God, and yes, I did lose my hair, which is why I now treasure every single frizzy strand even when it insists on misbehaving.
The reason this has shocked me so much is because I never really accepted the gravity of my situation. To be fair though, Hodgkin's has a success rate of 95%; back then I never really considered the possibility of being among the 5% that cannot be helped. I treated my illness as though it were a particularly long bout of flu - I was ill, but there was an end in sight. To think now that it could've gone so differently...well, as I said before, it has shaken me.
Another thing I would like to talk about are the symptoms. Cancer is often described as being silent but it's not necessarily so. Seven months before I was diagnosed, I developed a bizarre rash on my legs. I spent my nights sleepless due to the itching; we changed washing powder, sheets, fabrics; I saw countless doctors and dermatologists, underwent countless allergy tests. I was exhausted but put it down to my sleepless itchy nights, never considering it might be a side-effect to something else. It was only months before my 18th birthday when I discovered a lump in my neck, and having read a book by Marian Keyes about a Hodgkin's sufferer, it terrified me. But I went to my GP and it all happened very quickly from there on. I was cancer-free within the year and I thank my lucky stars every day that I'm in remission. But not everyone is as lucky as I was.
I have now decided I'm going to get fit. I'm going to ignore these inflamed lungs of mine (thanks a lot radiotherapy!) and I'm going to get myself into shape for next year's Race For Life. Too long I've pretended my illness didn't happen, too long I've remained silent on the subject. Not anymore. It's time to raise awareness and do my bit to try and prevent others from ending up like Alice Pyne.
I'm not going to beg you to donate. I'm not going to heap guilt upon you if you have not come into contact with cancer before. I would just like you to be AWARE, that cancer is very real and no one is immune to it. I know this is a far cry from the usual tone of my posts, but it is something very close to my heart and I felt the need to address it now. Please, please, listen to your bodies - your body will often tell you some way or another that something isn't right. Please don't ignore it. Please.
Thank you for reading, as always. I love you all.