Georgie Swallow, 27, thought she was suffering from the common skin condition, eczema, for 12 months before discovering that her “unscratchable itch” was something far more serious.
The executive assistant was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma - a rare cancer that develops in the lymphatic system - in September 2018 and underwent six months of chemotherapy in a bid to save her life.
‘Such a shock’
"My diagnosis was such a shock, I had been to the doctors three or four times before in the year as I had the most unscratchable itch,” she said.
At the time, Georgie was told by doctors that she was suffering from eczema so she decided to stop eating certain foods to determine if she had an allergy to something.
She lost nearly 12kgs in four weeks but put it down to her diet changes and drinking meal replacement shakes.
“Unbeknownst to me, it was another symptom of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, I only started to worry and research my symptoms when I suffered a month long bout of flu and woke up with a huge plum-sized lump in my throat,” she said.
Georgie actually diagnosed herself with cancer after Googling her symptoms before getting an official diagnoses from doctors.
“It all happened so fast, I had a CT scan, biopsy and more tests then the following day I started chemotherapy,” she said, adding that the speed was “a blessing.”
She maintained a positive attitude throughout her treatment “to make sure cancer doesn't bring me down.”
“My whole outlook on life has changed since being diagnosed with cancer and I refuse to be sad,” she said.
Georgie kept things fun and light by bringing a picnic or wearing fancy dress and coloured wigs to her chemotherapy sessions, but admitted that there were some very tough times.
“There was a period when my mental health took a dip as I didn’t recognise myself anymore, but I needed to feel bad to feel good,” she said.
A battle ahead
In February 2019, Georgie was in remission but sadly three months later her cancer returned, and she is currently going through chemotherapy and awaiting a stem cell transplant.
She’s since met lots of other women like herself through style nights organised by support group Cancer Chicks.
“I felt better knowing there’s other girls who are going through the same as me, it is easier to talk to them about what I am going through as they are in the same boat.
“We have a laugh and a joke about our bald heads that resemble a potato and it is totally fine, it has helped me a lot.
“I might have cancer, but I am not going to stop living and I urge other girls to do the same.”
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