Posted on Thursday 15 August 2019
Talisa, 18, received a shock diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in March this year. With the support of her CLIC Sargent Young Adult Community Worker Beth, her school and Southampton hospital’s school, Talisa was able to take her exams during treatment and is expecting the results today (Thursday 15th August).
“I was in school as usual and my friends commented on how many bruises I had. I usually bruise easily so it wasn’t something that I was particularly worried about, but during a biology lesson that day I noticed a bruise appeared out of nowhere.”
Talisa spoke with her mum about it after school that day and they arranged to see their GP. “I had an appointment on the Friday and they did some blood tests. Later that day I was told I needed to go straight to Worthing Hospital. I was transferred to Southampton the next day and we were told I had Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.”
“It was totally out of the blue, the only symptoms I’d had was the bruising and some red spots on my legs. I wasn’t unwell or anything like that. I’m a county and regional swimmer and I’d been swimming every day in the week before I was diagnosed. My diagnosis was also a real shock to my friends. We’d actually been learning about cancer and bone marrow transplants the week before I was diagnosed, which was strange timing.”
Talisa started treatment at Southampton Hospital right away, the first round of chemotherapy took six weeks and she was in isolation for much of that time.
“My school have been really supportive, I haven’t been back since I was diagnosed as I’ve not been well enough, but I’ve seen my friends. I asked the doctor if I’d be able to do my exams and he said definitely not, which was really upsetting to hear. But after the second round of chemotherapy I was feeling good so I decided that I was going to do them, despite what he’d said.”
While Talisa was receiving treatment, she was supported by CLIC Sargent. Talisa’s CLIC Sargent Young Adult Community Worker Beth worked with the school in Southampton Hospital to arrange for Talisa to be able to take her Geography exam in her hospital room, and her school made it possible for her to do her Biology exam at home.
“I’m going to take my Chemistry exams next year, and have deferred my university applications until then. My CLIC Sargent social worker has been really helpful, she emailed all the universities I’d applied for and asked if they would accept my application the following year. Which most of them said yes to straight away. I actually had an interview at one of the universities scheduled for the week after I was diagnosed, which I obviously couldn’t attend.”
Like thousands of pupils across the country, Talisa will receive her A Level today (Thursday 15th August). Talisa is currently in Southampton Hospital, she’s just finished her fourth round of chemotherapy and is waiting for her neutrophils to come back up before she’s allowed home.
“I’m glad I did the exams. My school are going to email my results to me as I won’t be able to go in and get them. I’m not sure how the exams went, particularly Geography as I wasn’t feeling good when I did that exam, but I’ll be happy with whatever results I get. I’m proud I did them.”
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About cancer in children and young people
Today, 12 more children and young people in the UK will hear the devastating news that they have cancer. Treatment normally starts immediately, is often given many miles from home and can last for up to three years. Although survival rates are over 80%, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children and young people in the UK.
About CLIC Sargent
When cancer strikes young lives CLIC Sargent helps families limit the damage cancer causes beyond their health. CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading charity for young cancer patients and their families. We provide specialist support, to help and guide each young cancer patient and their family. We will fight tirelessly for them, individually, locally and nationally. For more information, visit www.clicsargent.org.uk
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