It’s not over til the Fat Lady sings.

Some bad news today I’m afraid.

It’s something I had always hoped I would never have to blog about, and something more frightening to those affected by cancer than the initial diagnosis. I can’t quite believe that I’m writing this blog.

Relapse, recurrence, end of remission are just three ways to describe it.

Yes, s**tily enough, my cancer has come back.

*inserts crying, swearing, and general negative emotions here*

This is why I’ve been so quiet recently, in blogging and social media.

So, as of last Thursday, when I got sat down with my consultant and told the results of my scan, I am once again a cancer sufferer/patient/whatever. I have Non Hodgkin Lymphoma, again. This time, I’m 17. This time I have a university application to cancel. This time I’m being open about it, broadcasting almost. This time I might need YOUR help. I am of course devastated, I had just applied you University and my life was getting back on track. There’s not much point in moping over it all though.

Now I’m not dying, please don’t think that. There is a plan, there is treatment, and I will get through this again. Second time round though there are quite a few differences in approach.

I’m going to need a Bone Marrow (stem cell) transplant. The very thing I’ve been harping onto you all about infrequently, is now going to save my own life. Seeing as chemotherapy clearly hasn’t gotten rid of my cancer for good, this time we’re bringing out all the weaponry, guns blazing to kick this cancer’s ass, good and proper, and forever. I will have more chemo, and then the transplant.

Some of you may be in the know, but a bone marrow (stem cell) transplant involves the donation of stem cells from someone with matching HLA groups, which ae transplanted into someone who needs the ells, to beat their cancer or other blood disease. The donor will be a living person, who will not suffer any major side effects from donating, just the knowledge that you have helped potentially save someone’s life.

My transplant donation will come from someone selfless, as above. My 15 year old sister will be tested to see if she is a match for me, but this is only a 25% chance. The likelihood is that I will have cells donated from an unrelated donor, a stranger. A hero.

If I have a stranger donor, it will be because they signed to a registry and made a ‘pledge’ that they would donate if they were ever needed.

I’m asking something now of all you reading this blog. Please, if you are able to sign up to be a potential Bone Marrow (stem cell) donor. It will increase the chances of there being a match for me when the time comes, and could help one of the other 1,800 people who will need a transplant this year, in the UK alone. Or you may help someone net year, or the year after, or even someone overseas. The possibilities are vast.

This Bone Marrow donor business, is something I guess most pople will at least have heard about, especially if they are a follower of this blog. The thing is, it’s not just someone needing you to become a lifesaver. Now, it’s me- Emily Clark, the teen pinning these words down, the girl who aspires to be a doctor and loves to sing is the one urging you to join a registry. If it has been something you’ve just scrolled on past or dismissed as irrelevant SIT UP AND LISTEN. It’s real for me now. Really, really real. I hope an emotion within you, whether it be sorrow because of my cancer returning, empathy and pity for ‘that’ girl with cancer, or admiration incites a want to SIGN UP.

There is more concise information on my Become a Lifesaver: Join the stem cell register page, but for now, focus on what your reaction would be if I were your sibling, child, parent, family member or friend (maybe I am) would you immediately sign up? Would you offer to be tested to see if you could donate? If the answer is yes, then please join the register, or at least enquire to find out more. Do it for me, do it for the other 1,800 people.

So many of you, when faced with bad news think ‘I wish there was something I could do to help.’ To put it frankly there is.

If you are 16-30 years old, sign up to be a lifesaver via www.anthonynolan.org

If you are 18-55 years old, be a hero and sign up at www.deletebloodcancer.org.uk

I can’t ask in any other way, and I hope what I’ve done shows quite how important this cause is.

Imagine the impact if everyone reading this signed up, and then got Just One More to sign up, who got someone else to sign up….so on and so forth. We could make a massive difference. I say we, it’s only you who can get the ball rolling.

This has been hard to write, and even harder to post, but I hope it makes an impact.

I’ve been in remission once, and I will be again, hopefully soon. I’ve said before, together we can help #makeRemissionPossible

I’ll keep you all up to date on me, I’m having my Hickman Line put in tomorrow.

Keep smiling,

Em x

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Posted on November 17, 2014, in Anthony Nolan, Campaign, Em's Blogging. and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Hi Emily, I’ve just come across your blog – i’m so sorry to hear it’s come back again. Thinking of you. You were so positive during the LLR focus group, like a little ray of sunshine. I hope you can keep up the positivity even in the lowest times.

    Lauren
    Research Manager at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research

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  2. Hello Emily,
    I am a 17 year old boy called Ben from northamptonshire. It is 5 years tomorrow since I was diagnosed, with as yourself with Non-Hogkins Lymphoma. The 5 year milestone for remission will come in july. I truly admire the quote “because though we never choose the mission of cancer, we all accept and and fight on” and how fitting it is. I cannot imagine how devastating this must be for yourself and your family. I sympathise with how lonely this journey may be for a teenager, therefore if you feel the need to talk to someone who may understand better than others get in contact.
    All the very best Ben
    Ps i will sign up and encourage others too as well. x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Emily – you are incredible. I wish all good things for you and hope you come up trumps on the donor register. Keep strong, lovely little lady. Sheila

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  4. I have nominated you for The Leibster Award. You can find out more here and I can’t wait to see what you reply…http://livelovelouis.com/2014/11/my-liebster-award-nomination/

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  5. Hi Emily, I heard of you via swab4margot. Such horrible news, but a plan and all the prospects for recovery are still there. I’m already on the donor list. If we’re a match this would be a bloody weird coincidence. Hoping for the bloody weird – all the best in the meantime, lucy

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  6. Hi Emily, I am so sorry to hear your news. I met you at the LLR Connect Event in Cardiff, you are such a great inspiration to everyone you meet. I know that you have wonderful support from your family which must be a tremendous help to you. Keep strong and determined and you can beat this again. Mandy x

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  7. Emily, I’m so sorry to hear this. As you may have gathered, I had a bone marrow transplant earlier this year after relapsing (with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia) in October 2013 — I am, of course, here for anything you need.

    Love and hugs,
    George

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  8. Hi Emily, it’s Rebecca from Italy. I’m so sorry to hear these news; when I read your blog I immediately thought “it’s not fair”, because it’s simply isn’t, but I’m sure you’ll make through it once again. As you know I’m doing my best to encourage people to sign up to the bone marrow donors registry and me and my sister already registered in October THANKS TO YOU. I will keep reading your blogs and wish you all the best through this all. Lots of love, Rebecca

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  9. jacqueline kelly

    What an inspirational day it was when we met you and your mother at the cafe. The knitting cwtch send their fondest love and look forward to when you are able to visit us. keep strong emily from, jacqueline @ llantarnam grange arts centre x

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  10. Hello Emily,

    I spotted your blog on Twitter and just wanted to send you our best wishes from everyone here at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. So sorry to hear about you relapse, it is an awful feeling to be told you have to put all your plans on hold and go through treatment again.

    We have a particularly inspiring blogger on our website at the moment who has just returned home after receiving his stem cell transplant. I thought I would share the link with you, in case you would find it useful to read a little more about the process from someone facing the treatment with similar positivity and determination: https://leukaemialymphomaresearch.org.uk/people/mjn

    Very best of luck to you, please do get in touch with us at the charity if you feel we can help in any way.

    Ellie and the team at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

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  11. Emily I’m so sorry that you are having to fight this again !!! I met you at the Connect Event & I said to you at the time how amazing I think you are & how positively you face the constant battles & the unknown. Wishing you lots of love & luck in your continued journey xxxxxxx

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  12. Dear Em – so sorry to hear your latest news. You’re being exceptionally brave and courageous; these are precisely the attributes you need to win through. Try not to spend too much time looking back and wondering why, nor planning too far ahead. To do so only induces feelings of fear, anger & regret and you will need all your energies to fight this disease. Thank you for all your support and positivity. Hopefully we can now give something back to you. Lots of love Yaser, Margot’s father x

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  13. Dear Emily

    I met you briefly at the Beacon of Hope awards (what a lovely evening) and so I am now devastated for you to hear you have relapsed. I too have had Non Hodgkins twice and am now 10 years in remission, so I hope and pray that you too will get through treatment and have courage to make your ‘remission possible’ once again; even a cure for you with the bone marrow transplant.

    Keep your lovely smile Eileen

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  14. Well what can I say Em, so so sorry, this is so unfair but I know you’re not moping, feeling sorry for yourself and as usual thinking of others above yourself because you are the most beautiful person inside and out. I am on the register and would give anything to be a match for you, I will ask as many people as I can to join the register too because anything I can do to help I will. Lots of love and thinking of you. Xxx

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