Deborah Goldie from Groomsport was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when she was just 28. For the last 10 years, Deborah has relapsed several times and is still undergoing treatment, but she is being supported by a specialist nurse funded by Friends of the Cancer Centre. This is Deborah’s story:
“I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in January of 2008 when I was 28 years old and underwent six months of chemotherapy.
“Unfortunately I then relapsed in March 2009 and I was sent over to City Hospital to undergo a stem cell transplant. In 2010 I relapsed again and underwent a bone marrow transplant. Then in 2012 the lumps started appearing again. At that stage I underwent more chemotherapy. I went three twelve sessions of it, then relapsed and it’s been ongoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy ever since. I’m currently still undergoing treatment so really for the last 11 years it’s been non-stop.”
The initial diagnosis
“The first sign something was wrong initially was when I noticed a lump in my neck, but to be honest I thought it was just swollen glands. I made an appointment with my GP who wanted me to have an ultrasound and a biopsy. That’s when I got the results to say it was the Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“It was a big, big shock. To be diagnosed with cancer so young. I don’t think it actually hit me for a good while after it because I thought I was going to be told I had tonsillitis and maybe needed my tonsils out, not that I had cancer.”
Life with cancer
“There are treatments that I’m getting now that weren’t available 10 years ago. Every time I was told that treatment didn’t go well, I thought that’s it, the list is getting shorter. However every time there has been something new come along for me to try. People think once you hear cancer that’s it, but it’s not a death sentence anymore. You can live your life with cancer and I’m proof of that.”
Friends of the Cancer Centre is a lifeline
“A huge positive throughout my treatment has been the care and support I have received from my lymphoma Clinical Nurse Specialist, Laura Croan, who is funded by Friends of the Cancer Centre. She has been brilliant. She was one of the nurses who looked after me at the very beginning during my stem cell transplant, so she’s known me and my family from day one. She’s been with us ever since and has been a wonderful source of support, especially during the times when I was getting bad news again. She supports me to this very day and I can’t imagine what the last few years would have been like without her. I’m very grateful to Friends of the Cancer Centre as if it wasn’t for the charity, Laura wouldn’t be here.”
“Since I was diagnosed I’ve lost my hair three times, which was really hard. Thankfully I was very well supported by friends and family who didn’t make a big deal out of it. It’s just been part and parcel of the treatment and you just have to keep strong and just keep thinking the positive side of it. I’ve tried to remain strong throughout everything. You have to get to a point where I am going to beat this. Don’t get me wrong, I do have the bad days where you think ‘this is it’, but you have to pick yourself up and keep going.”
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