Hope After Cancer Sophie's story
Sophie (she/her) - White
Diagnosed in 2019 - Stage 4b Hodgkins Lymphoma
I am brave. I am strong. I am enough.
I was diagnosed with Stage 4b Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in November 2019, during my final year of A-levels, and went through treatment from then until July 2020.
Considering I was 18 during the majority of my treatment, I really felt like I was missing out on so many important times and experiences a young adult should have. However, what got me through treatment was the hope of a form of normality as soon as I was done, I could return to life as normal. This, sadly, was not the case.
I didn’t realise the severity of what I had gone through until a few months after treatment finished, so reaching the conclusion that life wouldn’t immediately return back to normal came as a huge shock to the system.
The biggest lesson for me was adapting to my new lifestyle post treatment; as well as Covid being factored into everything, having late-stage cancer at the age of 17 had an impact in such a way that I struggled to make sense of it myself, so when it came to explaining it to others it was almost impossible.
I tried to adjust to life as if nothing had happened, but what I really needed was time to process what I’d gone through, and deal with it in my own way. I started seeing a psychiatrist in April 2021, and after that things started looking up, but I still went through almost a year post-treatment refusing to acknowledge what cancer had done to me, both physically and mentally.
I struggled to keep up with my friends due to low energy levels, which led to me feeling like an outsider, making my mental health worse.
"What gave me hope was the people I had around me, as once I started to acknowledge my mental health, my family and close friends were nothing but supportive – almost relieved that I’d finally processed things."
I just kept reminding myself that although they hadn’t had the same experience as me and may not ever understand how it affected me, they still wanted to be there.
Also, remembering that I wasn’t alone; there were few people in similar circumstances to me, but they did exist; joining Facebook and support groups really helped to remind me I wasn’t by myself, and was more than entitled to feel the way I was feeling.
Having to face your own mortality at such a young age is something I wish on nobody, but it has given me a type of strength and perspective I don’t think I would’ve otherwise gained.
I now value those close to me so much more than ever before, and never take anything for granted.