Melissa Dowell was 22 when she started to feel tired. Not the normal groggy feeling that you get when you haven’t slept enough, but the debilitating kind that made it nearly impossible to get out of bed. From Liverpool, England, the college student enjoyed working out at the gym, dancing, and drinking with friends. She assumed that it was just a busy schedule that was making her feel so exhausted.
She tried to keep up with her normal life and studies, but eventually, her symptoms got so tough that she had to visit her doctor.
Her doctor suspected cancer to be the culprit, but as soon as she realized that Dowell’s heartrate was elevated, she sent the girl directly to the ER. They ran tests and confirmed that she had Hodgkin lymphoma, a rare form of cancer that affects the immune system.
In order to fight the cancer, she had to drop out of college and seek treatment. Her life changed drastically and she found it hard to accept the fact that she had cancer. She lost her hair during chemo treatments, but all of her hard work and dedication paid off. She was declared cancer free!
But that wasn’t the end to it, Dowell says.
People don’t realize that your recovery doesn’t end with you getting the ‘all clear.’ There are long-term side effects of the treatment and I still feel quite unwell.”
Trough the support of her family and friends, she is beginning to live her life again, fighting off illness and learning how to be a normal 22-year-old again.