November 5th will always be significant to me.
To many Brits, it’s a night where pretty fireworks light up the starry sky. For readers who may not know, the 5th November is ‘Bonfire Night’. Traditionally, the UK have been celebrating this day since the year of 1605. Why? I hear you ask. On November 5th 1605, a man named Guy Fawkes was caught in the cellar of Parliament, with 36 barrels of gun powder. He was part of a cunning plot: to blow up the Houses of Parliament. I’m going off on a tangent here, but basically he was executed, and the UK have been celebrating ever since – well, I say that we celebrate, but really, it’s an excuse to have beautiful firework displays, good food, and a cheeky little drink.
Now at 23 years-old, the date has a new meaning to me. A celebration that I’d thought I’d never be part of.
On the 5th November 2014, 18 year-old me was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.
How can a day be so blurry, yet be remembered SO well?
I felt numb, and found processing the information difficult. It was a surreal moment, which I didn’t believe to be true. I wanted to yank my hospital bands off, get dressed, and catch the first train to Cambridge from Euston Station.
I was supposed to be a University Student, not a Cancer Patient.
I remember thinking all of these things, but couldn’t escape, because my body internally was at deaths door.
It was that night, on the 5th of November, that things really started to sink in. I’m not going to lie, the ward that I was on had an epic view of the city. I was able to watch as many firework displays as I wanted, and had the best view in the house. But then I started to scroll through Facebook, and the FOMO kicked in. Photos of people at firework displays, enjoying a drink, and each others company flooded my newsfeed.
I felt trapped, and for the very first time, extremely disconnected from the world. I wasn’t able to join in, and instead was surrounded by off-white walls, never ending bleeping machines, and Cancer.
It has been five years since that dreadful day, and if I’m being completely honest, I’m not quite sure how I should feel. Grateful? Of course. Sad? Kind of. Guilty? A little.
One thing that I haven’t done since my diagnosis, is celebrate Bonfire Night. I don’t want to go out, and watch fireworks, because it reminds me of that evening in the hospital. I just don’t really feel like it’s a day to celebrate at all.
I always feel a pit in my stomach. It’s nothing to do with my own experience, but it is a massive reminder that others are currently going through what I once did. I know that everyone going through this dreadful disease has to start somewhere, but I just wish that I could hold my hand out to help them escape. If only it was that easy!
Don’t get me wrong, I am trying to think of the day in a positive way. Everyday, I wake up feeling grateful that I am Cancer-Free, and much more healthier.
As I reflect back, it’s brilliant to see how far I have come since day one. I have been able to stick my middle finger up to Cancer this year, because I FINALLY graduated. Education was something that Cancer stole from 18 year-old me. But I refused to give up, and reclaimed what was mine (my degree) last month.
As it has been five years, I wanted to end this post on the most positive point of all. I want to give a shout out to all of the incredible people that were apart of my journey. Your kindness, and support never goes unnoticed.
So here’s to the nurses, and the doctors. The family, and the friends. The charities, and the volunteers. My Cancer Friends.
Three Cheers for Five Years.
Hello dears, I’m Leanne!
After being diagnosed with Cancer at 18, I have been fascinated with health, and wellbeing. Before Cancer, I abused my body by trying out all of these crazy diets, over exercising, and going out on the lash every weekend.
Now in remission, I want to ensure that I am happy, and most importantly… healthy.
I have a huge passion for cooking, and want to share some super tasty recipes with you all, as well as lifestyle, and travel bits! I also want to raise awareness for Teenage Cancer, and help as many individuals as I can!