Charlie T
Posted by

Joining the club, no one wants to join

Charlie T
Posted by
23 Aug 2015

So where to begin. Oh yeah I have cancer, that’s a good place right? That thing you think will happen to someone else is happening to me. Me, a single 33 yr old, marketing manager with amazing family and friends, a full social diary for the next few months and the rest of my life stretching out ahead of me. But lets take one step at a time and head back to where it all started…

February 2015 is where it all began and a pesky little lump on my left collarbone. Mmm I though, probably something the physio has done while she was pummeling my supposedly dodgy left shoulder muscle. Anyway fast forward a couple of months and the lump isn’t really bigger but clearly more define. I ask my phsyio about it at my next appointment and she’s like ‘best get it checked out by your GP, we don’t want to make whatever it is worse’.

So I call my GP and ask for an appointment expecting to be told ‘well is it urgent? We can fit you in a year next Wednesday’ don’t get me wrong the NHS have been fantastic over the last few months but trying to get an appointment at my GP’s can sometimes be like getting blood from a stone. I actually get told we’ve had a cancellation, we can fit you in tomorrow afternoon. Wow I think and on Friday 29th May I’m sitting in front of my GP giving her a blow-by-blow account of when I noticed it, how does it feel, has it changed, etc, etc. I’ve come to learn that I can answers these question now without having to think about them!

My lovely GP refers me for blood tests and an ultrasound both of which come back showing something but she’s not sure what so it’s off to the hospital for a hematology consultation, more bloods, and ENT consultation, a biopsy and finally an MRI. All these tests results in an appointment on Monday 17th August where I’m told you have Hodgkin lymphoma.

I knew it was coming. I’ve spent the last couple of months on more forums than you can shake a stick at and Dr Google has become my best friend and worst enemy. I do not recommend Dr Google he can be evil at times and can make you think all sorts of things, everything he made me question and worry about have all turned out to be compete rubbish!

Next for me is my PET scan (this Wednesday) to find out if and how far my little friend has spread. So here starts my cancer road trip, join me if you want. I think it’s going to be one hell of a trip!



I'm so sorry to hear this Charlie, this must seem (as you say in your blog) like it's come out of nowhere. Thank you for sharing your story, I'm sure others reading it will draw strength from it, it sounds like you've adopted a very positive attitude.

I thought I'd get in touch because where you are in your life sounded uncannily similar to me! I work at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research (also a marketing manager) and very busy with life in general - although not quite 33 sadly, 34 :(

I just wanted to let you know that if you'd like more information which might be slightly less stressful than 'Dr Google' we just published a new information booklet on HL.

Also if you search our online community I'm sure there will be lots of people blogging who are in a similar place to you, in case you might find reading other stories helpful.

Lastly, of course everyone's individual situation is different and your consultant is the right person to ask about this but I was recently out in Oxford filming some video information about HL with a leading haematologist called Chris who's on our medical advisory panel. He was lovely and very positive in general about the outcomes for younger people like yourself who've been diagnosed with HL, the video will be available on our new website from 2 September.

If there's any information you need about anything - for example pointers on places to get support or find the information you need, do give our patient services team a call on 020 7504 2200.

Best wishes from everyone at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, good luck at your PET scan this week, and keep in touch.

Helen x



Sending you prayers and best wishes, on your journey, yes it is a tough club to be a member of, it does feel like a dream, hard to believe just gotta keep strong, eat well, sleep and play and laugh, exercise, time to view the world through the heart. Stick to only the reputable medical web sites to get the facts, there's so much crap out there in webland!


Hi, Charlie,I am a 49 year old male, mine all started with a cough, after blood tests, a biopsy and a PET scan I was diagnosed with stage 2B aggressive, classic Hodgkins Lymphoma. I had a mass under my left ear, 1 on my shoulder, 1 under my left armpit, and 1 in the middle of my chest which was causing my cough, at the start of April 2015, treatment was 4 cycles (8 sessions) of ABVD chemo at Kings Collage hospital Denmark Hill, had another PET scan and blood test 1 week ago I met the oncologist on Wednesday was told everything had gone as planned and I'm now just waiting for 15 sessions of radiotherapy to finally get rid of any remaining C-cells.
I became vegetarian at the start of the year and bought a nutri-ninja juicer, I firmly believe this helped as a way of getting more nutrition and keeping my stomach working healthy in while undergoing chemo.
Good luck with the tests. Feel free to get in touch if you need to.


I'd like to second everything that Helen said Charlie.

You're not alone and we're here to help you in any way that we can as you start treatment and beyond. The wider community is also here to help you.

Our community is a great starting point and we have a number of Hodgkin lymphoma patients that have shared their experiences and I'm sure would be more than happy to engage with you including Shiv Meaker:

We also have a very active support base on Facebook while there are also a number of patient groups that you might want to consider such as the UK Hodgkin's Lymphoma Support Club that are very active and incredibly supportive.

It's a long road ahead but treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma has come on leaps and bounds and as Helen rightly says the prognosis for someone in your age bracket is very, very good. Stay in touch and if there's anything we can do to help please don't hesitate to contact us - it's what we're here for.


Hi All
Thank you so much for your kind and positive comments. I'll feeling quite good about the situation but I know there will be dark days so I’m going to hang onto your comments! That said I do find the idea of my first treatment and the days after a little daunting!
Helen/Andy can I just say well done on all the hard work going into BloodWise. I know Stef @ Undivided and he has done nothing but sing the praises of everyone in the team and hearing your story from him helped me decide that Bloodwise were going to be my chosen charity throughout all this. I'm doing my first street collection next month!
PET scan tomorrow so I’ll let your now how the next part of the road trip goes!
Charlie x