Updated: Aug 25
Please note that this post has a *trigger warning - talk of illness* so if that's something you're not comfortable reading right now, please look after yourself and come back when you're ready.
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Where have you been, Moll?
Some of you noticed that I spent most of 2022 away from my website, newsletter and Instagram. I just wanted to share an update as to where I've been and some things i've learnt along the way.
At the start of 2022, shortly after my 27th Birthday, I was slapped in the face with a cancer diagnosis. Stage 2B Hodgkins Lymphoma, a type of blood cancer that effects the lymph-nodes. Throughout my life so far I've been very lucky to have not needed to question my health, it was a priority to me (but maybe not the top one). With this new priority forcing its way to the top of the pile, I dropped everything and focused on getting well again.
Focusing on my health and undergoing more than 8 months of immunotherapy and chemotherapy treatments meant making a lot of changes to my life. I put my business on hold, closed my online shops, sold my much loved Mini and protected my immune system from the outside world.
Digging out the positives
It might sound a bit strange saying there have been positives to my lymphoma journey but trust me, I was actively hunting out any positives that I could get my hands on! I was determined to come out of this journey as a 'new Moll' and to harness as much self love as possible.
I was blessed with the opportunity to tune into my body and to really understand how I was feeling as well as learning how to prioritise what little energy I had. I'm going to share more about this over the next few blog posts- there's too much to squeeze in here. I want to give those lessons some extra space.
Asking for help
This whole experience also taught me how to ask for help. I'm usually a very independent person and like to do what I can by myself. Throughout most of 2022 I needed a lot of emotional help as well as physical help with things like cooking, unpacking the shopping and doing odd jobs around the house, some days I struggled to get from my bed to the sofa. I had to really rely on family and friends like I never had to before. Although I found it really challenging at first, when I started to get used to it, it was lovely to connect with them in this new way and they were actually glad to feel useful too.
As well as being cared for at home by my family, I was receiving fortnightly treatments and clinic appointments at the Christie Hospital in Manchester. I genuinely looked forward to seeing the nurses who were caring for me, they couldn't have done a better job of looking after me.
New hair cut
When the time was right, my twin sister shaved my hair off for me, it was very matter of fact and we actually had a laugh doing it. I've been embracing my kiwi fruit style fuzzy haircut since then and have started to see my hair start to grow again now.
Time to reflect
Taking a break from life as I knew it as well as my business has really helped me to re-evaluate some parts that really weren't working for me or that were even causing me unnecessary stress or distraction. By having little energy on most days I was quickly able to see the things that meant the most to me, these were the parts that I put real effort into, drawing, sewing, reading and writing. Nothing else mattered in those moments, so I just left everything else and made peace with that. My relationship with online content and social media has since changed too, I'll be writing up a bit more about that soon in another post.
I'm sorry to my friends that are just hearing this news for the first time, I've kept this journey very close and really wasn't a fan of sharing the bad news, I wanted to wait until I could be sharing the good news that I am now cancer free.
Please keep an eye on your body and any changes, it's so easy to overlook things when we're busy. My symptoms appeared as a lump in my neck just above my right collar bone and persistent night sweats.
It can be a scary experience getting a cancer diagnosis but believe me, you are not alone. Please do get in touch if you are worried about anything- I am absolutely not a medical expert but I am a listening ear and a hand to hold if you're worried.
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