Worse Birthday Present Ever


Hi there. My name is Holly and I'm a twenty-one year old from Central Queensland.

My cancer story starts with a simple cough. Now, I had been having this cough for weeks so my parents and I decided it was time to see a doctor about it to see what was going on. They had to actually demand a blood test, otherwise they were not going to do anything. And lucky they did because a few days later, on my eighteenth birthday, the results returned and the doctor immediately called me to come back. Turns out that an abnormal blood count, and I needed to travel to the Townsville Hospital as soon as I could.

So the next day, we drove the seven hours, bringing only a few things with us as we expected to only be there a few days at most. I was terrified, but I still kept positive, telling myself that it had to be a mistake and the next blood test would come back fine. I had planned a big birthday party it being my eighteenth that week and was determined I would arrive back before the date. But unfortunately, that wasn't the case. I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia by my doctor. Worse birthday present ever. But lucky for me it was only in its early stages.

Pretty much the next day I was put into the hospital and my treatment began right away. Chemotherapy was hell. I got very sick from it and most of the time I couldn't even move from my bed. I was also in hospital for more time than expected because I had three infections that I needed to be on antibiotics for. What was even worse was that I was placed in a shared room. That might not sound too bad, but for me it was because I'm very introverted and don't do well around strangers. Not to mention all of these people were much older than me, I was told I was the youngest person on the ward, and the cubicles weren't very roomy ( I don't do well in cramped spaces either). I felt very alone and that no one could really understand how I was feeling.

I went through chemotherapy for six months, in which I was away from home the whole time, and each round showed signs of the cancer going away. I had my last bone marrow biopsy last November, and it came back this month. The leukaemia couldn't be found. I was finally discharged around two weeks ago, and made it back in time for Christmas.

I was about a year cancer free before I relapsed in October 2018. I was sent back to Townsville for more treatment and was told it would be best for me to undergo a bone marrow transplant. So after having chemotherapy again and finding myself back for remission, I had to travel to Brisbane for the transplant.

I would have another round of chemotherapy and radiation as well, I underwent the transplant. Because my immune system had been completely wiped out to be replaced with the new one, I was terribly sick. It took me quite a while to recover.

I feel like I have been given a second chance at life, and now I seem to appreciate the little things in life more than ever. To think if my condition had been any worse, something even more terrible could have happened. For those who are going through a tough time, always believe and think on the positive side, for there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Things will eventually get better for you, I just know it.