Ellie Waters, 17
"...despite the blindingly obvious symptoms, I didn't think for one minute that it could be cancer."
When you think of a rapidly growing lump, an obvious diagnosis – clear in your mind- is cancer.
But, I was only 14, so am I an exception?
Many GP visits
For several months, I had this annoying lump in my left butt cheek
that wouldn’t stop growing – so embarrassing, right? Even when I
became chronically constipated, or feeling severe pain in my left leg,
or having trouble to urinate, I said nothing. Some would say that I was
fiercely independent for dealing with that all on my own, but I wasn’t,
I was incredibly naïve, because I thought that I would suddenly wake
up and these problems would go away – I was incredibly wrong.
Instead, my symptoms got so bad that I finally told my mum, and a
doctor’s appointment later, I was on a 10-day course of antibiotics
for an abscess. Despite the hope that I felt, the lump actually got
bigger, in the mean time I was getting sicker and sicker. Another trip to the doctors,
another flaming course of antibiotics…
Rapidly, my condition began to deteriorate again: it was so uncomfortable to sit down anywhere, I was very lethargic, I looked as white as a ghost, and my constipation meant that my appetite dwindled completely. Another trip to the doctors, no more flaming antibiotics, I was on my way to the operating theatre for an abscess removal operation – hallelujah!!!
On September 13th, 2015, 7 days after my abscess removal operation,
my parents told me that the doctors thought that I had cancer and we had
to go by ambulance to the Queens Medical Centre first thing in the
morning. My world came crushing down and I was in complete
shock: despite the blindingly obvious symptoms, I didn’t think for one minute
that it could be cancer. I am going to be honest here and say that I screamed
and cried like a baby, and the thought of the future made me numb
because it was so unpredictable and fragile.
Lots of treatment
Rhab-do-my-o-sar-coma – why does medical jargon have to be so complicated?
I was 14 years old, still recovering from the news that I had cancer, and now I
was given a diagnosis that I couldn’t even pronounce, let alone spell!
Ahead of me, I faced the prospect of 9 rounds of intensive chemotherapy,
possible surgery, 28 sessions of radiotherapy and
12 months of maintenance chemotherapy. I couldn’t comprehend how ill
I would become or the uncertain future that lay ahead of me,
but the one thing I could control was my attitude towards
my journey: from day one I told myself that I WILL fight this cancer
and I WILL stay positive – no concoction of drugs could override
my immense self-belief and positivity.
Of course, there were days that I felt like giving up, or that I felt
that I was certain to die of this disease, but you get through it and you stay strong.
Being the founder of TeensVsCancer
Currently, I am 18 months in remission and I am living life to the full!
I still get 3-monthly scans and regular consultations with my doctors,
but I am beginning to feel normality settle into my life again.
In September, I will begin studying Biology, Chemistry and Maths
at A-level, and my biggest achievement so far is certainly
being the Founder of TeensVsCancer.