18 years ago today, I woke up just like any other schoolgirl.  Well, except for the agonising stomach pain that I experienced daily.  But, I was on the cusp of puberty, and everyone kept telling me I’d start my period any day now.  So I got up, had my breakfast, got dressed, and went to school, like any other day.

By that evening, I was lying in a hospital bed, with no clue what was happening to me and what might unfold over the coming days.  All I knew was, the pain was unbearable, my parents looked pale and worried, and I suspected that my period had nothing to do with what was going on.  That day marked the beginning of my time as a cancer patient.

When this date has previously rolled around, I have posted on Facebook about it and received messages like “Congratulations on being healthy for so many years”.  Thank you, and yes, I am fully recovered and it’s a blessing.  But this year, I wanted to express a different side of the story, the one that is upset that a child had to experience the illness at all.

The fact that I even mark this day in any way, 18 years later, says something.  It says, I still feel the emotional ramifications of my illness.  It says, cancer had a huge effect on every part of my life.  It says, I remember those days vividly.  Yes, I’m glad to be alive, but cancer didn’t nearly destroy me and then walk out the door and my mind forever.  I’ve watched it kill family members since then, I’ve felt it hover above my head in every medical appointment ever since.  It has left permanent marks on my body.

Today I will be kind to myself.

  • I’m struggling with words, to be honest. Obviously I want to say “congratulations on being healthy for so long.” But that feels kind of empty, and doesn’t convey just how grateful I am that you’re still healthy and here and one of my best friends. Use this day as a self-care day; take a nice bath, read a good book, whatever you want to do that will make you feel good. You deserve it <3 x http://www.aimeeraindropwrites.co.uk x

  • Thanks so much, Aimee, I’m tearing up at your kindness xx

  • Beautiful post darling. I will congratulate you on this anniversary because it’s a huge milestone and deserves to be congratulated. I can’t say I know even in the slightest of what you’re going through or have been through, because I don’t but I will say that you’re very brave for expressing these real and honest thoughts 💚 Take care and treat yourself, you deserve it xxx

  • What a brave and honest post Llinos. It is amazing how you have overcome cancer and I think using the day to be kind to yourself is a perfect way to mark the occasion. I’m so sorry to learn that cancer has left such a long shadow across your life – I think it’s understandable and very honest of you to say so. xx

  • Food & Baker

    There isn’t anything we can say that could truly express what we want to say to this. You are amazing and so strong, thank you for being here and sharing your story.

    Jessica & James | http://www.foodandbaker.co.uk / http://www.foodandbakertravels.co.uk

  • Thanks so much xx

  • Thanks Laila, it has taken a long time to be able to truly express how I feel xx

  • Thanks so much Jenny, it feels good to express these thoughts xx

  • This is such an honest post, Llinos, and I’m not really sure what to say. I wish there was something someone could say to help erase the long-lasting effects it has on your life. I am so grateful that you’re here, and to have got to know you over the last few years, and explore a castle with you.

  • Such a beautifully written post about an incredibly heart wrenching topic. I have so much respect for you for opening up and sharing this Llinos, I can’t imagine what you and your family has been through with your diagnosis and treatment – and you were so young too! I am so glad that you have recovered so strongly! Take care of yourself because you deserve it!

    Abbey ❤️ http://www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk

  • Thanks so much for your kind words, Rosie, I really appreciate them <3

  • Thanks so much Abbey, it’s been a long road and I’ve been kind to myself over the last few days xx

  • Kate

    Wow Llinos, I had no idea you had gone through such a tough time. Well done you for being so brave and opening up. It must have been such a tough time for all of you but I’m so happy you have come out the other side! You’re such a lovely and kind person, and this is so beautifully written. Like Abbey says, look after yourself because you really do deserve it!
    Kate x

  • I really appreciate your lovely words, thanks Kate xx

  • Lifethrough Tsg

    Wow, this post was incredibly powerful and had me in tears. I’m glad you decided to be kind to yourself now on the day, well done for opening up so honestly!
    Love Hayley X

  • Aw hun I’m sorry you cried. It felt good to open up though x