I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma when I was 22, back in 2018. I had some intense trial chemo, which meant my time “on treatment” was relatively short at four months, but due to the intensity of the regime I was almost constantly hospitalised and the recovery after was long. Both physically and mentally. I was not expecting it to be so mentally difficult coping with life after cancer and everything it brings. Throw in the recent Covid pandemic which was hugely isolating and scary as someone classed as extremely vulnerable.
I did not expect to be still needing mental help dealing with my cancer experience three years later, but that is something that no one tells you – how even when you feel physically better, the mental affects can rear its head and stick with you. By this time, I was 25, meaning I could no longer receive the teenage and young adult (TYA) support service and was very much in need of some counselling help.
For me it seemed like I was at a weird limbo age in terms of support. The TYA support was ending for me, and other charities seemed to cater towards older people and didn’t feel like a good match with me. That’s when my nurse told me about Susie and the new charity she had set up, Mind Over Cancer.
I was almost at a breaking point mentally when I got in touch with Mind Over Cancer, with a lot going on in my life which was greatly affecting my mental health. It was so easy getting started with Susie and getting connected with a counsellor. I was nervous about having FaceTime counselling, but it was easy and comfortable. Susie checked in regularly via email, so I never felt disconnected. This service honestly changed my life and gave me some great coping mechanisms and much needed support when I needed it. After the 10 free sessions, I have decided to keep up seeing my Counsellor monthly to check in.
I have also attended one of the monthly zoom meet ups held by Susie, and it was great to chat with others with similar experiences and laugh about subjects that others may find taboo or uncomfortable. It really helps you not feel so alone, by sharing your experiences and advice.
Overall, I cannot thank Mind Over Cancer enough for their support. They are a vital charity filling a gap for young adults who have finished cancer, as – even years after being diagnosed – it can still loom over you and affect you. Knowing I have a support system there with Mind Over Cancer really does take a weight off and make me feel less in the dark and alone navigating life after cancer as a young adult.