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.