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Tuesday, 22 October 2013


"That's why her hair is so big. It's full of secrets." 

Secrets are a strange thing.

Everyone has secrets. 

Some people may share more than others, but everyone will still have secrets. 

I have now been at university for over six weeks and my Cancer remains a secret to 99% of people I have met here. Out of my twelve flatmates, four know; and one is a friend from home who knew anyway. The thing is, it's hard to keep a secret so big - strangely enough it comes up in conversation more often than you would imagine..and with me being so open about it and able to talk about it so casually at home, it's proved to be difficult to keep covering up my tracks when I accidentally blurt out a hint. 

I have just lay down and explained a very small part of the story to one of my closest flatmates. It's the first time I've spoken about it so flat out in so long. It's strange. I remember so many tiny little details; so many conversations with the exact words that were spoken from over two years ago..yet it is all still such a blur. The whole 10 months is such a blur. It felt good to get it out to him; relieving. It's just such a heavy piece of baggage to carry around. Sometimes I want to wear a sandwich board just explaining everything so that everyone knows..but at the same time I love that no one here knows, and that I'm not pre-judged for it and no one has sympathy for me and no one cares or is intrigued or 'inspired' by me. It's so liberating yet so confining. 

The 'Aw your hair was so long'  'how come you cut your hair so short?' and 'you look so different' comments that people throw around whilst looking back at photos; the 'What are those marks?' 'What are those scars from?' questions that are constantly asked. It makes me just want to rant about everything. But no. "Yeah, it was." "I just fancied a change" and "Aw I had an operation." are just now standard, automatic responses.

I'm now left wondering how much longer I will have this secret for - surely it will come out one by one; people will come across my blog, or I will blurt something that will all put the several small jigsaw pieces together and people will begin to figure it out. It's just not the type of thing you introduce into conversation during freshers week. 

"Hi. I'm Laura, I'm from Edinburgh and I had Cancer.."

I don't want to tell people. I fully accept that they will all find out but I won't be the one to tell them; and maybe I should be..but I don't want to.

Other people in my flat will have secrets that they're bottling up, so I can keep mine if they can keep theirs. That's fair, right?

Anyway, another pointless blog. Just wanted to get all of this down. 

Goodnight X

Tuesday, 10 September 2013


Life is like a very long book; it contains many different chapters all of which contain some significant information, all necessary to follow the storyline. Some chapters are more eventful and more exciting than others, other chapters aren't so good; maybe sad or boring, but still equally as important.

I am about to finish my current chapter and move onto the next - and luckily this one is one of the more exciting chapters. On Saturday, I leave home and move to university. I'm excited - not even nervous - just excited and ready to leave Edinburgh, and the past few years behind with it. And it's a good time to go; I've finished school, and happily so; spent four months at home with friends and family and work and moved onto clinic only every three months, following almost 2 years since I finished my Lymphoma treatment.

Last night, I was invited to attend an Inaugural Lecture at the Royal Infirmary, presented by one of my consultants, Hamish Wallace. The title of this lecture was "After the Cure: Improving outcomes for young people with cancer" which, of course, is of particular interest to myself. Prior to being invited to his lecture, Hamish had texted me asking if he could use me as a case study: "I will be talking about Hodgkin's and fertility but nothing private in relation to you - only showing your pictures and talking about Laura - no surname" he said. So I agreed, and decided to go along to the lecture. It was interesting; I learnt a lot - both about realistic outcomes and predictions for my future, and about myself and my treatment and disease. Hearing Hamish talk publicly about me was strange; it was so interesting but also surreal that it was me he was referring to. Us humans are very good at locking things away and never thinking about them - me having Cancer is a very deranged and distant memory; it's surreal and really doesn't seem like it ever happened. I was sick, tired and weak for 10 months. I was bald. I lost so much weight and then gained even more. I spent my life in hospital and I lost contact with so many people. Did that actually happen?! Yeah, it did. And when someone presents that information, with pictures of you, your scans and all these statistics about how you're so likely to suffer another chronic illness, problem or second cancer, on a six foot screen in front of 100 people, it all comes flooding back to you and it's a feeling I can't quite explain. It's terrifying; a 70% chance that I will suffer another serious health problem later in life; a 20% chance I will develop a second cancer and that I'm 40% more likely to suffer cancer, a second time round, than any of my friends of siblings!? Surely that's not fair? I've had my fair share of Cancer so why should I be the one to have it again? Facing these realities is something that no one wants to do, especially not a Cancer survivor. Fighting and beating something like Cancer is such an achievement, but it doesn't all end when the scans are clear - it doesn't ever end and that's what Hamish is trying to improve. Shucks, huh?

So here I am, going to university having never thought I would be this old this quickly..even though I'm still so young. I've had the most amazing summer with the most incredible people but I am ready to leave that here and start fresh in a new city - LEGGGOOOOOOOOOO.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Onwards & Upwards

As we came into a new year I decided I would try and write a blog each month in 2013. As you can see that plan failed epically as we sit nearing the end of February and I'm yet to write one. I seem to begin each blog with an apology of absence and so I apologise for both the lack of blogs and the vast if anyone cares. 

..Do people still even read my blogs? Didn't think so.

So anyway, happy belated new year! Here's to another year of health and happiness..hopefully. After my disaster of a 2011, 2012 sure made up for it and 2013 is looking even more promising. 

Having said that, my opening line of my 2011 diary (yes, I keep a diary) is:

"New year, New start and I'm feeling pretty optimistic for this one; couldn't get any worse than 2010"
HA. HA. HA. 

Anyway, 2013 brings me my 2 year Cancerversary (since D-day (diagnosis)) as well as my 2 year Remission anniversary; putting me into clinic only every 4 months - what a treat! It also brings me my graduation of school, beginning of university, girl's holiday and eighteenth birthday. Horrendously scary and big year. 

The only news I really have is that my school has raised £3000 for Sick Kid's Ward 2 (Oncology & Hematology (Cancer & Blood)) over the past two years in memory of Peter Murray, an SMC boy who passed away after fighting cancer. So that's good..that we raised that amount obviously.

AND AND AND remember I told you all about my friend Rachel? WELL RACHY IS DONNNNEEE. After 127 painful days, Rachel is finally finished and joins our community of cancer beaters YEA YEA YEAAA YOU GO GURL. (Lol)

I'm really struggling to think of anything to say; I just wanted to blog to let everybody know I'm still alive (awkward cancer joke)