Article By: Danny Rigg and Ashlie Blakey
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Eloise May, 20, felt a 'really bad pain' in her arm and chest and was left in 'disbelief' after her diagnosis
A student said her 'life was completely ripped from her under her feet' after waking up at night with a 'really bad pain' in her arm and chest then being diagnosed with an aggressive cancer.
Eloise May said she was left in 'disbelief' after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The 20-year-old said she initially thought the pain was caused by a horse-riding injury or by coming home drunk.
She said 'absolutely no idea' the 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. Eloise said she couldn't believe it until she saw biopsy samples of the tumour, which looked like 'little white worms' in a pot.
The third year Liverpool John Moores University sport and exercise student said: "My life as I knew it, being a student, living in a student house, has been completely ripped from under my feet. 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 half way 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 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 said: "Having cancer is crap, but it is little things like that, that soften the blow."
"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. 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. She said: "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."