My advice to anyone going through leukaemia or chemotherapy. Especially for the younger cancer patients out there.
It’s okay to say to someone “leave me alone” or “can I have a few minutes to myself”. People will understand that you need time to yourself but they wont know when. You’re the only one that can decide that. You have to be selfish and think of yourself. Your family or friends have got each other to talk to because, even though your experience will affect everyone differently, they are all in the same position. You on the other hand are the only one with the cancer. Don’t feel like you have to look after them and you have to console them. So take advantage of it. This is your journey; your experience. It is your life. It’s up to you how much you let fucking cancer control you.
On the same note the doctors obviously have the medications and the scientific knowledge to fix you but I think what helped me recover quicker was my positive mind-set. I tried to keep a positive mind-set as much as I could.
I had a lot of friends and colleagues visit me in hospital. Bringing me magazines and food and bits to do. My sisters decorated my room and I had a board that I could put letters on to make up quotes and stuff.
My top tips for if you’re going into hospital would be:
Have a blanket, either a favourite one or a fresh new one because the hospital sheets are horrible and smell weird.
They don’t hand out crisps, sweets or chocolate so stock up on that!
Get some new pyjamas, some warm ones and some summer ones. Some days I would be warm some days I would be cold.
Take loose fitting clothes. Ladies don’t worry about bras, let them be free!
Have a simple pair of slippers you can slide on and off. On the same note have a simple pair of flip flops in case you have to go/ be taken to another part of the hospital.
Books, magazines, arts and crafts are going to get you through it. Even in the day unit I would take something to do.
My “thank yous”
I would like to thank Wexham park hospital, especially the Eden Ward, Eden Day Unit and the Haematology department. My treatment was 5 star with a few small bumps but I couldn’t ask for a better group of staff.
I would like to thank my family who have been amazing throughout the whole of this. They have given me so much support I honestly couldn’t ask for a better family.
I would like to thank Jack, who was my partner in crime and my absolute world.
I would also like to thank my friends who have accepted me at my worst and helped me get through it.
I would like to thank my colleagues. I had only known them for 3 months before being diagnosed but it would seem I had been part of the team for years he way they supported me.
And finally thank you for taking the time to read this. Hopefully it will reach other people seeking advice for APML or teenagers/young adults going through cancer. You are not alone. There are so many organisations out there to help you, sometimes you just have to do a bit of digging. There is always a silver lining. Everyone’s treatment and diagnosis is unique to them so find something that works for you.