Callum

Callum shares his experience of being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, and explains why it's so important that young people are aware of the symptoms. 

Callum, during treatment for lymphoma, aged 22

I was home for the 2016 Christmas break, when my parents pointed out a lump on my neck. I'd got a cold and was run down, so I just ignored it. 

Back at Durham University, my neck began to get really sore and then I got flu-like symptoms and night sweats. I now realise these are classic signs of lymphoma and wish I'd known about the symptoms much earlier. It took three months to find out that I had cancer.

My sister, a trainee doctor, persuaded me that these might not be isolated symptoms and I saw my GP. The initial diagnosis was glandular fever and it was April 2017 before tests revealed I had Hodgkin lymphoma.

That's why the work that Lymphoma Action is doing is so important. Lymphoma symptoms can be mistaken for other illnesses and, by raising awareness of the disease and its symptoms among young people and healthcare professionals, people can get the help they need, faster.

After I was diagnosed, I asked my consultant if i could delay treatment so that I could sit my final exams. But he wanted me to start treatment the very next day.

My family was an amazing support and helped me to balance studying with my treatment. Even so, having cancer when you're young can be an incredibly isolating experience.

Lymphoma Action was there to support me whenever I needed information or someone to talk to. Their Young person's guide to lymphoma was brilliant and the shared experiences of other young people helped me to prepare for what lay ahead and not feel so alone.

It was a relief when my exams ended and I could concentrate on my chemotherapy. But the joy I expected to feel at the end just wasn't there. I got a 2.1 for my degree but wasn't well enough to go to my graduation.

It was January before I celebrated my graduation and I'm now enjoying simple things like meeting up with friends, eating out and travelling. I am now 22 and have recently been given the all clear.

It was fantastic to meet other people who have been through my experience at Lymphoma Action's national conference in May 2018 and to connect with healthcare professionals. It's great to be able to plan ahead and I'm looking forward to starting a new job as a graduate trainee with a large health and medical research charity in September.

Callum has shared his story to support out Young People's Appeal - donate today to help the 500 teenagers and young people each year diagnosed with lymphoma

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