I was diagnosed with aggressive Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma on 8th April 2011. It was a day that I will never forget.
I had visited my GP 2 days earlier as I had noticed lumps in my neck and was feeling very hot at night. I couldn’t say I felt poorly, just not myself. My GP took blood tests and within a few hours I was admitted to hospital for an immediate blood transfusion and bone marrow biopsy. Initially I was diagnosed with ALL. I was told that my cancer was very aggressive and that I would need to start treatment immediately. Gosh - I was 40, a wife and a mother of 2 fantastic children; I could not take it in. I had no idea in those early days where I got the strength from but I remained positive and said “right let’s get cracking”. I was suddenly surrounded by family, friends and colleagues all wishing me well. I remember thinking I had better get well with everyone willing me on.
I started my Chemotherapy on 18th April 2011. My consultant explained that my diagnosis was not very straight forward; it seemed that I had Follicular Lymphoma which had become very aggressive. My treatment was changed to R-CHOP and intrathecal chemotherapy. My hair fell out really quite quickly, but in my mind if my hair fell out something was working. Silly but I was quite pleased. By September 2011 I was in remission, “Team Larks” were all overjoyed. Now for one more hurdle, my stem cell transplant.
My stem cell transplant was carried out on 11th November 2011 (11/11/11), a date I will never forget. After a few more slightly nastier infections, I was discharged from hospital on 2nd December. I felt very lucky and blessed that my counts were slowly increasing. I knew the roller coaster that I had been on for almost 8 months was slowing down.
Since then I have had some ups and downs and a few more admissions but I’m still in remission. I’m undergoing maintenance treatment which is due to end this year.
My family & friends have raised awareness and funds to help support Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. My son and husband ran the Great North Run in September 2012 and my daughter Rosie also took part in the Race for Life in June.
My cancer journey was hard but at the same time I believe a lot of good things have happened as a result of it. My outlook on life has changed, I treasure every day with my nearest and dearest. I have given up work and plan to volunteer delivering HOPE courses with Macmillan. I really do feel I have been given a 2nd chance of life and I intend to enjoy it!
I will continue to raise awareness and funds for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research and believe one day everyone will have a cure. My advice to anyone would be to stay strong and surround yourself with the people you cherish ♥