Posted on Tuesday 2 February 2021

Daniela’s story: “I realised all that minor stuff in life really doesn’t matter”

Daniela, 21 was diagnosed with cancer in August 2020 and talks about how friendship and gratitude helped her through her cancer journey:

“In January 2020 I found a lump above my left collarbone which I put down to a muscle knot. The lump later spread to the right side of my neck and my glands were swollen so I went to my local GP. I had a blood test and an ultrasound which showed a high white blood cell count – three times above average. I then had a biopsy and was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkins lymphoma and started treatment.

“My first week of treatment was quite scary. You don’t know what symptoms you’re going to have and you don’t know how you’re going to react to the pain. I experienced intense night sweats, weight fluctuation, extreme fatigue, loss of appetite and hair loss – which had been one of the things I’d most feared. The treatment also caused nerve damage, severe bone pain and I had to have hormone injections to help with my future fertility.

“However, going through all of this has been a massive wake-up call. Throughout chemotherapy, the only thing I was focused on was getting better, being healthy and kicking cancer. I realised that all that minor stuff in life really doesn’t matter. And yes, cancer has been the hardest thing I have ever been through but it has also taught me a lifetime of lessons.

“I have learnt gratitude in its fullest form, I’m very grateful for everything in my life, especially family and friends. The magic of friendship played a big part in my mental ability to fight, being someone that has never been immersed within a family setting, I came to learn that my version of family lies within my friends. It’s a very precious thing for me and without the love from my close ones beside me, I don’t know if I would have done as well as I did.

“During treatment my mum had to continue working so my best friend would be the one sitting beside me and looking after me. I appreciated the distraction during chemo, it allowed me to keep focused on the positives and remind myself that there is so much to be grateful for.”

Daniela was also supported throughout her treatment by CLIC Sargent.

“I managed to get a small grant from CLIC Sargent when I was first diagnosed – this was really helpful as at that point I wasn’t able to work. The charity also helped with transport from my home to the hospital and I had two kind CLIC Sargent social workers who supported me during appointments. Every time I was admitted to hospital, one of them would be there distracting me from my treatment – they always had my back.

“The charity’s Instagram page also helped a lot throughout my journey; I connected with other young adults going through similar experiences and their stories inspired me to keep going.”

The 21-year-old dancer and make-up artist finished treatment last October.

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