Hi, I'm Ellie and I'm 14 years old. In September 2015 I got diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer called Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. It totally flipped my life upside down but now I can use all the horrible experiences I had to inspire and advise you guys.
My life was all planned out. My future ventures and aspirations were drawn into my brain like a map, with everything leading to the right place: first stop university, then my ambition to be a successful business woman, next finding my dream partner and home, and all these places led to the final destination of a family. Ever since I was young, I had always dreamt about being a mum, it seemed like the most magnificent job in the world. Unfortunately, not everything goes in the right direction...
CRASH LANDING - BE AWARE THAT YOUR FUTURE PLANS MAY BE IN JEOPARDY!
My future life disposed right in front of me - in just a matter of seconds - like a map left out in the rain. The directions of my life became all muddled up, making my future destinations feel out of reach. Lost and disorientated, it felt like my life had been put on hold. I had no where to go. My life was frozen into the unknown.
the beast that lurks in the dark and shields itself into the unknown,
slowly torturing its unknowing victim,
until the lights are on and all is known.
At just 14 years old, I was told that the lump that was growing in my bottom, for the best part of 6 months, was cancer. It was the biggest shock of my life. All of the signs were there right in front of me, but I was still clueless none the less. Immediately, I began a harsh regime of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. My hair was stripped from my pores, agonising burns invaded my mouth, fatigue took over my whole body, and the nausea was nearly unbearable. Thinking about the future made me feel numb, because I knew that the possibility of a future was slim. 18 months later, when I finally entered remission, I began to ask questions. My new lease of life made me feel ready to tackle anything, so it was time for me to ask the most important question of all - am I infertile?
I knew from the beginning that there was a slim chance of fertility. After all, my radiographers liked to explicitly tell me over and over again that the radiation would cause damage to my reproductive system, but it doesn't hurt to ask again - right? The conversation went like this:
"Out of a scale of 1 to 10, how fertile am I?" It felt like I couldn't get the words out of me quick enough.
"Zero." My consultant blankly replies.
I wasn't upset, I think that time will come when I am older. For now, I am perfectly happy with the prospect of adopting, in a way it makes me feel better that I can give a child a home and love. Plus, my oncology ward was directly opposite a maternity unit, the frequent wails and screams of women in labour still haunt me to this day - it was enough to put anybody off for life!
Coming to terms with infertility is tough, because it feels like a burden that you will carry with you for the rest of your life, but you have just got to learn to live with it. We are lucky that we are living in an era of medical revolutions; new fertility treatments are making way each day, it's just your turn to be brave and go for it. Don't let infertility hold you down, it doesn't make you any less of a woman, it is just what you had to do to survive. Stay strong and fight through the obstacles.
Just remember that life doesn't have to stick to one road, changing direction can be scary, but who says that going on a detour is all that bad?