Hi my name is Kenny, I am 20 and live in London. When I was 17 I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma stage 4B. My first symptoms were night sweats, weight loss and I was tired all the time. But I made excuses for all of them because I think I was in a bit of denial. I said I was having night sweats because it was hot in my room, I said I was tired because I was playing too much sport and I didn’t really notice the weight loss, but I just said it was because I was doing too much exercise.
Then a massive lump came up on my neck, and even then I said I just pulled a muscle in my neck, but my friends and family convinced me to go to the doctors. At the doctors they checked me over and told me to go straight to the hospital. I went to the hospital and ended up staying there the week having as many scans as you can imagine.
After a week I was sent home and told to come back a week later to get my results, but I already knew what it was. I had researched on the Internet but I choose not to tell my family and wait for the doctor to inform them. I went with my family to receive my results and when they broke the news, all my family were in shock, and for me it just didn’t feel real. I just think it did not sink in. Then on the same day they transferred me to a specialist hospital up London called UCLH.
I met loads of lovely people and that’s where I heard about Teens Unite. I signed up to join but didn’t think anything of it, but about two weeks later I received a phone call from Teens Unite and they invited me on a day out. I wasn’t too sure about going at first but my family convinced me to go, so I did and it was the best decision I made!
I found Teens Unite so helpful because it took my mind off things and it wasn’t forced on you that you had to talk about what was wrong with you, but if you wanted to talk about it you could. I didn’t like talking about it with my friends because I didn’t want them to feel sorry for me, but at Teens Unite you know you have all gone through the same and they do not treat you any different.
I started my treatment in August and had 6 months of chemotherapy, I didn’t find chemo too bad, I was tired a lot and sick a few times, and now I look back, I was really moody with my family. Other side effects of chemo I had were my legs were very weak and I could not climb stairs very well. I got cramp in my hands which stopped me doing things and at the end of each cycle it felt like my whole body was bruised and whatever I did, it hurt.
I had my last chemo on Christmas Eve and got to have a bit of a break. At the end of January I started radiotherapy which I thought would be easier and I would not have problems, but through the three weeks I had radiotherapy I was the sickest I had ever been, I was very tired. I was being sick a lot and couldn’t eat because my throat was so sore.
Now from finishing treatment in February I am starting to get back to normal, just still very tired.