Woman’s devastating diagnosis after arm pain she thought was from a drunken night out

·3-min read

A woman was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer after she woke up one night with pain in her arm and chest.

Eloise May, 20, initially thought the pain was caused by a horse riding injury, or by coming home drunk.

She had "absolutely no idea" doctors would find a lightbulb-sized tumour in the middle of her chest, compressing almost a third of the vein returning blood from her brain to her heart.

The diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in February left the third year Liverpool John Moores University student in "disbelief" until she saw biopsy samples of the tumour, which looked like "little white worms" in a pot.

Eloise wearing a red dress at a restaurant.
Eloise initially thought the pain was due to a horse-riding accident or something happened while out drinking. Source: Mirrorpix/ Australscope

"My life as I knew it, being a student, living in a student house, has been completely ripped from under my feet," she said.

"The social life that I did have is basically non-existent. I've had to defer uni. It's quite difficult because obviously I'm seeing everyone finishing their dissertations and graduating and I'm like, 'That should be me', but there's always next year."

Eloise is already more than halfway through an intensive course of chemotherapy at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre - Liverpool.

Doctors hope she won't have to undergo radiotherapy if this round of treatment succeeds. Eloise is managing to stay positive despite losing her hair, which was "the worst thing in the world".

This week, she received a text saying she'd be sent £350 ($A620) from Giddo's Gift, a charity set up by the mum of Jordan Giddins, an 18-year-old from Flint who died of Ewings Sarcoma in 2017. The charity offers financial support, gifts or wishes to teens and young adults, aged 13 to 24, who have cancer.

Eloise after chemotherapy hairless.
Eloise is almost halfway through her cancer treatment. Source: Mirrorpix/ Australscope

"There is always so much good in the world that you need to look for, and you need to appreciate the little things in life, like waking up in the morning having hair," she said.

"If times do get crap, you definitely have to step up yourself, but equally, there are going to be a lot of people and support that you don't even know are there, that's going to rally around you, so it's never quite as bad as it seems."

Having had to move back home to Shropshire and miss out on concerts due to chemo, Eloise is excited for the summer when she hopes to have a party celebrating remission, along with her 21st birthday.

"I'm looking forward to being able to live in the city centre of Liverpool again, and I'm looking forward to hopefully being able to go to festivals," she said.

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