My name is Laura O'Neill, a 21 year old girl fighting the biggest battle of her life. At the beginning of this year I was diagnosed with a synovial sarcoma, one of the rarest forms of soft tissue cancer.
Before all of this I was studying business and working part-time. I was a real busybody, Constantly on the go and trying to evenly divide my time among friends, family and everything else in-between. I was so independent and loved the freedom of my life. I often finished college and found myself in a bar with friends sipping cocktails. I had very few responsibilities and I LOVED that! I could do what I wanted, when I wanted and no one could stop me. I loved nothing more than a good night out, I was a big partier and I just loved to socialise and dance with my friends. Ending up on an unexpected night out with Jane (who is my other half when it comes to a good night out), dancing till all hours then waking up the next morning and racing into work was a rare talent that I had mastered. I really, really loved concerts and there was nothing better than a good festival. My favourite thing ever was to travel. I had just returned from an amazing trip to Thailand and caught the travel bug. I was eager to get going again, I had big plans for the future. I was generally healthy and had barely ever had a trip to hospital, when all of a sudden I was struck with the big C.
"It's just mad". I say this to myself most days because I still find it hard to believe that all of this just happened to me, no reason why, nothing. It simply just happened and I just have to accept that. It's extremely frustrating to know that there is this thing inside of my body and I can't just take it out. I still don't understand how this thing can be so destructive and just take over my body for no reason at all. This has completely changed everything for me. My body, my mental state and my abilities have all been altered. Going from being so independent to now being so dependent was really hard. Now, I struggle to unscrew the top of a bottle, I can't have sup of alcohol without vomiting the next day. Some days I can't find the energy to be out of bed for too long and I get so tired so easily. My mind is constantly on overdrive, people often have to wake me up from my deep thought without me realising. A major worry of mine is if I'll ever be the old me again, but now I know I need to stop comparing myself to the old me. This is my new life and this is the new normal. I noticed I was writing everything in the previous paragraph in past tense, but those things still represent the new me. When I'm better I will still be able to do the things I love like concerts, festivals and travel. I may not be able to do them the way I did before, but I'll still do them.
Positivity is my way of fighting my disease, I do have many down days where I feel sorry for myself and I know that that's OK, I'm allowed to feel like that! Nothing beats the feeling of picking myself up after my down days, those are the days that keep me going because I always know they're coming. I know this because, yes I have been dealt the shittest card of the deck but there's always someone worse off than me and I need to remember that! People are losing limbs and have been fighting cancer for their whole lives. Whenever I have down days I think of children that are going through this and I know if they can get through this then so can I.