December 2013, At the age of 16 my older sister Emily was diagnosed with Burkitts Non- Hodgkins lymphoma... CANCER. Until then she was the healthy sibling, between my Diabetes, Libby's asthma and Evan's multiple football injuries one of us always seemed to be in and out of hospital, but not Em.
Her diagnosis was blurry to me, all I remember was being told Emily had a 'lump' in her stomach and was getting it checked out, I really dont remember being told her actually had cancer.
5 months after diagnosis and a whole lotta chemo, April 2014 she got the call..... she was in REMISSION!!!! yayyyy. to me that meant cancer free forever.... how wrong I was.
She went back to studying some stupidly clever subjects for A levels, life started going back to normal. Little did we know that that was only the beginning really. November 2014, 7 months into remission we discovered the worst, Emily's cancer had returned, to us; end of the world, to Emily; just another day she faced with a determined smile on her face. Treatment continued, however this time it was going to take a bit more than just chemo to kick cancer In the ass for good.
So the mission to find her a stem cell donor started. First they searched the bone marrow register in Britain, then Europe then further, the search continued worldwide. luckily a Spanish man in his 40's for some selfless reason decided to sign up to the register over the Christmas holiday's and happened to be Emily's match.... Emily's ONLY match. Therefore January 2015, the same day I had an operation of my own, her transplant went ahead thanks to that random Spanish man. She became half Spanish. a hybrid human.
unfortunately, post transplant was a bitch, tiny prison cell like hospital rooms with not even a toilet. I couldn't visit her for weeks, visitors have'too many germs' and at this point staying isolated was crucial, which really took its tole. however she soldiered on, always with a smile on her face, twinkle in her eye and a fundraising plan in the fore front of her mind.
I kind of assumed once Em had the transplant she'd be fine, NOPE - boyyy was I wrong. It followed with what looked like 50 tablets 3 times a day. Virus after virus, and a long hard fight with CMV .... whatever that is, all I know is her body didn't like it one bit.
300 days out of the year spent in hospital all because of complications to transplant. She didn't have cancer anymore, she beat that and yet the road the good health was a longggg way off.
The aim was 100 days, the doctors told us reach 100 days after transplant and the worst would be over. she made it to 100, 200, 300, 400- all the way to 415 days (or there abouts) after transplant, her mind, and spirit never gave in but her body just couldn't do it anymore. Science failed her, there simply wasn't the medicine to save her.
up to the day before she died she was planning holidays.