I’m Jessica. I’m twenty two, a university graduate, an aspiring writer, and five months ago I was diagnosed with stage three Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
It’s scary and rather strange how quickly your life can change, especially when you face that cliché moment that you’re sat in your doctors office, trying to process being told that you aren’t well, and that everything in your current life will unfortunately have to change.
I had only been home in Northern Ireland for a couple of weeks before I was told my shitty news, and those wonderful weeks consisted of visiting family, friends, and spending time in the little town that I call home.
Living in Spain was everything I had dreamed of. The people, food, culture and atmosphere had me falling madly in love with everything that Barcelona had to offer, and I was charmed enough to want to spend another year of my life there.
My flight was booked and I was ready for my ass to be on it’s way back to the city of my dreams. I was prepared and ready to continue my life out there teaching English to all ages, but the saying ‘you never know what’s around the corner’ had never been more clear.
Since my diagnosis, the time over these past few months have been hectic to say the least. It’s all changed from lesson planning, city bike rides and endless sangria, to hospital appointments, constant nausea and chemo cocktails.
I had never imagined that whilst I was preparing for my next awaited steps in life, that I was soon to be back in my old bedroom, relying on my mother to always be there to take care of me, something that I’ve been ever so grateful for.
Things haven’t went smoothly so far, it turns out that cancer likes me enough to want to stick around and hang out.
I had four chemo sessions before I got told that my treatment wasn’t working.
So, after more hospital appointments, another surgery and a new chemo treatment scheduled, I found myself during this time questioning the reason behind it all.
I’m not going to lie, there are so many things in my life that I feel that I have taken for granted, and the obvious one that I’m realising now is my health.
There are also endless points and questions I keep asking myself.
What if the chemo doesn’t work again? Will I be able to have children in the future? How long will this chapter of my life be?
This isn’t a situation I ever thought I’d have to go through, something I’m sure every person who has been diagnosed with cancer also asks themselves, and I didn’t expect all the mental, psychological and social challenges that came along with it all.
Hair loss is inevitable, the nausea also, but it’s the feelings and the thoughts that come along with it that makes it all so hard.
The loss in confidence, lack of energy, everyday tasks becoming struggles, and usually just being in my own little bubble half the time, it all has me viewing and seeing the world in a completely different manner.
I find myself feeling lost most of the time, torn between feeling frustrated and numb to it all.
I’m lost when it comes to people asking how I am, I’m lost thinking about the future and what it will bring, and I even find myself feeling a little bit lost in the hospital’s oncology ward, being the youngest patient there tends to make you feel that way.
I can’t lie and say that this experience has been nothing but positive so far, because there are days where it’s been anything but that.
I’m just realising that this is what my life entails for now, and that cancer has forced me to put my life on pause, to take time out to focus on this shit luck that I have to endure and fight with all that I have in me.
So, while my friends are experiencing this exciting time in their lives, starting new jobs, meeting people and falling in love, all of the good things that life has to offer, I’m focusing on my health, another full week of treatment, continuous medication and what to watch on Netflix.
I guess I just have all of that to look forward to.
I mean, I have yet to discover who I want to be, who I will become in this world of ours, but it’s almost impossible for me to think about my life path when I’m fighting a battle that I never thought I would ever have to.
So for now, my future is blank, an open book for me to look forward to writing.
I don’t know what will come from this, this experience is proof that you will never know what’s about to happen or what’s around the corner…
All I do know is that my future will be bright, and that I will be there to see it.