Thursday, 9 February 2017

The End of the Line: Archiving This Blog

Hello, everyone. I'm sorry for not updating - as always I have no excuse, but we're here now. This post will be my final post on this blog; It is now going to be an archive, so that everyone can read back on my posts when they wish to, but it will not be updated any further.

I want to start this post off by thanking you all for your unwavering support. Without your prayers, your love and your kindness, I believe that I wouldn't be where I am right now.

As of today, the 9th of February, 2017, I am officially cancer free. 

It's been a long, hard road. I like to think I've made the best of it, but as you can imagine, I'm glad it's over!! Cancer is a hard journey to go through - But through it all I have had so many amazing people standing alongside me and for that, I am ever grateful. I don't now how I can repay you all; I hope that my words, my thanks, will be enough. It might seem like nothing, but please know: You have changed a young girl's life.

When all this started, if I can be fully honest; I was unsure of whether or not I'd ever get to visit Iceland again, or go back to school, or chase my dreams the way I wanted to. I wasn't sure if I would make it through all this - my largest tumour was 12cm in diameter and had put so much pressure on my lung that it had partially collapsed. I was so scared - and in times of fear, we don't know what may happen.

Thankfully, God is good. My friends are good. My family are good - life is good. And there was always a plan for me. Now, I am sitting in front of my laptop, like any normal teenager would - I have some old, used dishes that I really need to take downstairs, (sorry, mum) my cat beside me, and everything just seems so... normal. You wouldn't think that, in some ways, I had stared death in the face, because here I am: out the other side.

I remember sitting in hospital ward A3, at 2 o'clock in the morning, with a fever - and my biggest fear, then, was getting my bloods taken. Looking back on everything I have been through, it seems so blurred - so hazy. And so, so far away.

I'm not complaining, however!

No, this chapter of my life is, in some ways, one that I hope to forget very, very soon. But in other ways - I hope it's one I'll never forget. I never want to forget the outpouring of love for me, or the amazing people I met through my journey. I never want to forget the kindness, the smiles, the love and the support. I know this chapter of my life, though hard, has bettered me.

My perspective on life has changed greatly since my diagnosis. Life is a new gift to me - and I have a perspective not many people my age do. With my life - the remainder, I could say, but I prefer to say the entirety - I am going to do what I love. After all, if you do what you love, you love what you do.

I am going to chase my dreams, be myself, and make myself happy. I am going to give my love to others. I am going to travel, and speak languages, and draw, and do everything that makes me happy.

Because I deserve it. Not just me - everyone deserves happiness.

Remember that, if nothing else, from this blog; We are in this together. We are all wonderful... And we all deserve happiness.

Thankyou for reading my blog on the way through. It will now be archived, but I hope you will take heart in every letter I have typed.

Much love, and many thanks,

Lana Douglas.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Methotrexate: #1

Today I want to write a bit about my first experience with methotrexate chemotherapy in the hopes that someone else, who might be going through it too, will have some insight into what it's like.
As I write this I'm in my hospital room, listening to the chatter coming from the corridors. I'm hooked up to an IV bag of fluids - 2h40m left in it - and feeling good.

On Monday, I had my PICC line reinstalled after it came out of my heart. I have my suspicions as to why it came out of my heart, but those are for me; besides, it doesn't really matter. What matters is that I have my PICC back in, not why it came out.

I had it reinstalled on Monday, and then I was moved up to ward C7 - the haematology ward. I was put onto a drip of IV fluids - 2 hours each - and stayed like that for about a day. Then, on Wednesday I was taken off of the fluids, given anti-emetics and some other stuff, and hooked up to a 15-minute drip of methotrexate to gauge my reaction to it before starting me on the larger bag.

I reacted well and had no ill-effects, so I was started onto the 3-hour bag right away. As before, no ill-effects; much better than the R-CHOP! (I still have bad memories of vomiting/fainting because of it...) So the methotrexate went by without a hitch.

I was then started onto fluids again, and this went on for about 16 hours. Every three hours, though, the bag was changed instead of every two. Then, after about 48 hours from starting my methotrexate, I was put onto folinic acid once every six hours to help my body flush out the methotrexate and prevent damage to my kidneys. (At least, that's my understanding - don't quote me on it!)

I am currently still on constant IV fluids and folinic acid every six hours, however my blood tests have been sent away to a lab to see what my methotrexate levels are. If they are below 0.1, I will hopefully be allowed home. Hopefully!

I've just eaten two bags of Doritos and am waiting for my family to join me here again. It's been a good day so far!

Much love, as always,

Tuesday, 29 November 2016


For the past six months I have been hospitalized on and off, constantly battling something inside me; cancer. I need something to keep me grounded during all this, and the one thing I've been thinking of are my dreams.

My question for you is: Should you chase your dreams, even if it means risking everything in the process?

My dreams have been constant in my life, but as I start to make serious plans they have changed.

I want to live in Iceland. 
No, Norway.
With my best friend.
Alone, maybe.
School in the UK.
No. School in Norway.
...Where do I go from here?

I have been thinking long and hard. I wonder sometimes if chasing your dreams is really worth it.
But after fighting cancer, I have realised something; You can only see as far as you think, and if you never try you'll never know.

I am going to chase my dreams - Even if that means I'm risking it all.
I might end up miserable, or penniless. But I also might end up happy, and living a life that makes me smile. A life I'm happy to wake up to every day.

I am determined to make this work.
What do you think? Should you risk is all to make yourself happy?

Comment below and let me know. I need something to keep me distracted while I'm on fluids for my methotrexate. Expect updates over the next few days.


Sunday, 13 November 2016

To Give Up

There are days when I want to give it all up.
Honestly, there are days when I want to refuse my treatment.
There are days when I am so tired of everything that I wonder, is it worth it?

But there's a simple answer: Yes, it is worth it.

Many of my friends know, I've had doubts. I am still having doubts, even as the start of my chemotherapy grows closer and closer - at the end of the day, it's my choice whether or not to accept this preventative treatment. It's my choice to go through with this. My doubts, and my decisions, are not the same.

I wonder sometimes if it's worth it. But I know in my heart - Yes, it is worth it.
Little things make life worth living. And why would you give up something you love? As hard as the road might be, nothing lasts forever unless you choose that - and I will not be letting my cancer journey last any longer than it needs to. I will not give up, just to surpass the hard times - The hard times will make me stronger, and I need that.

My doubts may weaken me, but my decisions will strengthen me.

I am choosing life. I am choosing to keep going, and to push through the tough times so that I am able to look back and, with complete confidence, say, "That is behind me." I can never be sure I will not relapse. I can never be certain that my cancer will not return. But I can live each day as it comes, look back and say, "I made it through the hardest time of my life." Day by day, and step by step.

I am writing this because I am doubting myself. I have considered giving up treatment. I have considered letting my life slip from my own grasp - and that's sad. But I am not giving up.

Life is worth living. Hard times will pass. It's a beautiful adventure.

Life is about taking risks. It's about making peace with yourself, and letting the rest come as it does. I never asked to have cancer -- But I am happy with where I am.

Much love, as always,


Saturday, 5 November 2016


Hey everyone. It's been almost a month since I last updated - and my reason behind that is simple: I've been having radiotherapy! Today, I want to talk about my expriences with radiotherapy and how it compares to chemotherapy - Namely, R-CHOP.

I have undergone twelve out of fifteen cycles - I finish on Wednesday and am happy to be finished. However, the experience as a whole wasn't bad at all! The worst part of it is the travelling, as I live about 40 minutes away from the hospital.

Let's talk about what radiotherapy (in my case) entails, first of all. Radiotherapy starts with you being brought up for planning sessions and you are lined up on the bed, X-Rays are taken, etc. You are given three small tattoos so they can find where the laser should be hitting every time you are there. These tattoos, like normal ones, are permanent but they don't hurt much to get them. Just a quick sting and that's it.

From there, you're brought up for radiotherapy and the first three days you get images as well as the treatment. Then, the images only happen once a week! It only takes around fifteen minutes per day.

You are lying on the bed with a special foam cushion under your legs, and lined up to where they need you to be - they usually have to move you millimeters to get it EXACTLY where they need it.
Then you lie on the bed, the radiographers (radiotherapists? radiologists?) leave the room and the radiation is turned on. A large machine moves around you and you just lie there while you recieve this treatment. It takes around five minutes and you're finished! Then, you're free to go.

There is no infection period with radiotherapy, unlike chemotherapy. It's weird knowing that you're not as susceptible and don't have to be quite as careful. At the same time, it's very different and you have to get used to it - You don't have any sickness, although you do become very tired with the radiotherapy and depending on where you're having treatment, you may also have symptoms that your consultant will explain to you. All in al, radiotherapy was much easier for me than chemotherapy and I am sure most people find this, too.

Hope you're all well,
Lana xx

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

World Mental Health Day

Trigger warning: very open speaking about suicide, and self harm.

I know this isn't what I usually talk about - But it's just as important to focus on our mental wellbeing as our physical. I am someone who suffers from both mental and physical problems, and that is why Mental Health Day is close to my heart. I am going to talk openly and without judgement about my experiences, and I would appreciate your full support. I acknowledge that this is not my usual topic but I hope you will read it just the same. Please be cautious if you are sensitive to mentions of self harm, suicide, and general mental health problems.

Yesterday was World Mental Health Day and I think it's important to talk about.

Feeling the way I do is hard to describe; impossible to put across to someone who has not experienced it. But if you have experienced it, you might know what I mean when I say, you're completely empty, yet at the same time you're full of an incomprehensible sadness that completely overwhelms all other feelings and sensations. And the worst part is, it's endless. Even when you're happy, you're not happy. Your lungs constantly feel like they're weighed down by something, and your stomach constantly feels like you are about to walk out on stage and embarrass yourself in front of a crowd of people. It's unbearable, and yet you have no other choices.

You bottle it up, because talking to people is hard - you burden them, you are nothing but a burden to them with all your sadness and all your negativity. You push help away while knowing you need it more than anything. You need someone to help you escape from your cage, but as soon as the door opens you back yourself into a corner, refusing to exit. And when you're told that you're loved, wanted, needed - you refuse it. You push it away because you do not deserve it.

But there is an inescapable sadness that sits in your chest and stomach. A feeling of worry, disgust, fear - for no reason at all. Your hands shake, and you just feel so tired of everything. You feel like there's no escape. You count up every way you could possibly kill yourself, it's validity, any way you could possibly make your family feel less pain. But you know there is no way of doing it that would not hurt everyone else - so you tell yourself, "I will deal with the pain instead".

It takes alot to turn emotional pain into physical pain, but I have been there. I have been addicted to self harm. My legs, striped like a tiger, will never return to normal. I knew that I was making it worse with every cut, and yet it felt so freeing. It felt like the sadness was being pulled out of me and it left me feeling revived and rejuvenated. Seeing blood made me feel alive. It reminded me that I wasn't dead yet - that I could do this and I could get through it. But the sadness always returned, and like gaining a tolerance to medication, you have to go a little deeper - make the cut a little longer.

To feel so unstable that you cut yourself open and enjoy it is a serious sign that something is wrong.

Your friends, family - they might not see it. Only I know the extent of my instability. Only I can hear the thoughts that swirl in my mind. Kill yourself. You're worthless. Nobody loves you. Your friends are lying when they say they care. You're a burden. Only I am aware of the nights when I lie in bed and cry until my pillow is wet, because I don't tell anyone. Only I know the extent of how bad things are getting, because nobody can hear me shouting for help as I'm pulled underwater.

It's almost like seeing the world in a different way. Nothing seems quite the same as it used to. Waking up in the morning is a chore. Food tastes like cardboard. Nothing is as enjoyable as it should be or as you remember it to be. Things you love have changed. Everything is wrong, wrong, wrong.

I have never felt quite so alone as I have recently, and yet I have some of the greatest friends imaginable. I am deeply in love, and yes, that brings me joy; but sadness runs deeper than happiness and it seems much, much more permanent. Happiness is fleeting.

It's not about "changing your view on life", "distracting yourself", or "powering through it." There is a serious chemical imbalance and an illness of the brain - a mental illness - which can be just as serious as having cancer. I speak from experience - Out of the two things I have fought and am fighting? I find depression harder to deal with than cancer, because it is simply so...
Hard to treat. Different for everyone. Difficult to manage. Inescapable. 

People who have not been through these feelings could not understand what it is like; so I am doing my best to verbalise what it feels like. Mental illness is looked at like it's a burden because it's "not real" in the same way as cancer is "real". But mental health problems are so hard to cope with, because there is no way out.

I wish I could explain everything, but the details can be hard to read. Maybe someday I will write a blog on these details - but for now, I leave it with this. If you or someone you know is in need of mental help, please see your GP. If you or someone you know s in immediate danger, please call your local emergency number. 

Stay safe. You are valued. Life is tough...

...but you are tougher.

- Lana

Wednesday, 28 September 2016


"The more difficult it is to reach your destination, the more you'll remember the journey."

I have been so incredibly disorganised lately, and I apologise to you all in advance for the delays in posting. Life just has a way of interfering (not always in a bad way, though). 

On September 23rd I had my last R-CHOP chemotherapy and on September 26th I officially ended that portion of my treatment as I had my last intrathecal. I am now starting radiotherapy and after that, intravenous methotrexate. It's a big day for me and, I don't know about everyone else, but I'm going to celebrate!

So what has the hardest part been about my treatment? What has been the most scary?
I have to say, it's the fear of the unknown - not knowing what you're going into, what everything entails, and what to expect. I've had biopsies, scans, transfusions, intrathecals.. Just to name a few. And it's been scary! But the doctors, nurses, and all the staff at the hospital have made everything so much easier and I could not be more grateful. They provided all the support I needed, helped me through the hard times, the fears, and the worries.

What's next for you, now?
I am currently in the period between my chemotherapy finishing and my radiotherapy starting - so for the moment I am taking things one day at a time and relaxing. Then, in about three weeks time, I will be starting radio. They're giving me fifteen cycles over the course of three weeks. After that, they'll give me another short break before I get my chemotherapy again (which will be given as an inpatient).

Now, I don't normally reply to comments on my posts because there are so many - But this post is the exception. If you have any questions, about me, my diagnosis, my journey, my fears, whatever; write them below and I will get back to you. 

I don't know what you want to hear me talk about - losing your hair, eyebrows, sympathy, stigma - so please come forwards with questions if there's anything on your mind.

Much love, Lana.