In September 2018, Lauren Firenza noticed whilst drinking wine with dinner that she started to get tingling pains down her neck and right arm.
Initially the 25-year-old from from Nottingham, England, shrugged off her symptoms just thinking that she was run down with a cold. But in December whilst at a party, Lauren’s whole right arm went numb after a sip of alcohol.
“It was actually alcohol that told me something was wrong. Basically, I’d be going out with my friends for dinner and we’d have some wine and I started to get these tingling pains down my neck and then it went down my right arm and to my fingertips,” Ms Firenza said.
“I was at a family party and it got so bad that my whole right arm would go numb after just a sip of alcohol.”
The freakish feeling prompted her to book an appointment with her GP to find out what was going on.
After three months of blood tests, x-rays and scans which came back abnormal, Ms Firenza was referred to hospital to see a specialist in March where she was sent for a CT scan that showed a lump on the right side of her chest and on her right lung.
In April her worst possible fears were confirmed. She was told she had stage four Hodgkin Lymphoma, cancer of the lymphatic system.
Ms Firenza was determined to not let her cancer diagnosis take control of her life so the next day she went to the fertility clinic to start the two-week process to freeze her eggs as she was warned chemotherapy would reduce her fertility.
As well as this she decided to cut her hair gradually shorter, donating it to charity, before treatment started to pre-empt her hair falling out.
Lauren opted for intense BEACOPP chemotherapy. The aggressive treatment runs over four days for six rounds which lasts three months and has a 95 per cent success rate.
Last month she was given the all clear but still has to undergo two rounds of chemo to prevent relapse.
The 25-year-old has chronicled her unlikely journey with cancer on social media and is keen to show others the power of positivity when facing such a difficult medical diagnosis.
“My mindset throughout the whole thing was to keep control of the cancer, don’t let it control you. There’s no reason why it needs to, it’s just a big scary word that actually you can take control of and that’s what I did,” she said.
“Documenting it for me has been a massive way to keep track of and process it for myself but also to connect with other people who have a similar thing.”
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