Kate on diagnosis

Close-up of Kate looking thoughtful whilst sailing.
Close-up of Kate looking thoughtful whilst sailing.

Kate was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma after months of ignoring symptoms and suffering.

The diagnosis came as a relief to her, but her family found it difficult to accept.

Kate's story

I was feeling very unwell. I was really reluctant to go to the doctor because I just didn’t know what was going to happen, but I knew that it was going to be serious. Eventually my mum and Mark, my partner, took the decision out of my hands. 

By this point, I was having real difficulty breathing. I was initially treated for a chest infection. But the GP recognised very quickly that it wasn’t just a chest infection. A week after my initial visit, he called an ambulance and had me sent to hospital.

By the time I was admitted to hospital, I was seriously ill. My resting pulse was 125bpm as the swellings were pushing on my heart. On the first night they were fighting for my life.

I spent two nights in A&E while some brilliant doctors worked very hard to diagnose me. They then moved me up to the ward and I spent two weeks in hospital getting back to a more stable state.

The person who diagnosed me was my consultant. She explained that they thought I had a cancer called Hodgkin lymphoma.

In a way, when you are the patient, it’s easy. You don’t have time to be scared. You know you’ve got to fight. A positive mental attitude is so central to that.

For my family, it was devastating. They knew I was seriously ill, but obviously a cancer diagnosis can be hugely terrifying. My mum almost fell apart when she heard the words, 'Your daughter has cancer.' I actually had to ask her to leave the room because I couldn’t see her upset – she had to be strong for me.

The hardest part of my cancer journey was seeing the fear and upset in my family’s eyes after I was diagnosed.

I think it’s much harder for the people who are supporting the patient. They feel a real sense of helplessness because they are obviously going through it with you, but there’s a limit to what they can do.

I remember mum saying to me that if she could take it from me and have it herself, she would, because it was more painful to watch me go through cancer.

Watch: all about Kate's experiences

Watch: all about Kate's experiences