“…share your struggles and share your triumphs. You will inspire more people than you know and in return they will give you all the support they can.”
Name: Clea Sackville
City: Vancouver, B.C.
What was your diagnosis? Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
What year & age at the time: 2015, I was 25 years old at the time.
Current medical status? Remission, as of May 2016.
WHAT WAS YOUR LIFE LIKE BEFORE YOUR DIAGNOSIS?
I was living a busy life, working out a lot, riding horses and working at an amazing job. I was extremely busy and was always on the go. I loved spending time with my friends and family.
WHAT WAS YOUR IMMEDIATE RESPONSE TO YOUR DIAGNOSIS?
Relief. That sounds weird but I had been feeling so tired and off for a few months. I was losing weight and strength in the gym. I was just relieved to know what it was and to be able to start treating it.
…I even eventually found an amazing extended family of fighters and survivors through sharing my story on social media.
HOW WAS YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM WHILE YOU WERE FIGHTING?
My support system has been amazing, my parents let me move back home and even adopt a dog. My friends and coworkers all were so supportive throughout the process. I even eventually found an amazing extended family of fighters and survivors through sharing my story on social media.
HOW DID YOU KEEP YOURSELF OCCUPIED AND POSITIVE DURING TREATMENT?
Adopting a dog was huge! He was a puppy and required a lot of walks which made me get up and go outside everyday. That always helped. And he gave me something to be responsible for and focus on besides my disease.
The second was the gym, I went to the gym as much as I could during chemo. I focused on my diet and increased my protein. Once I started doing that I was amazed how my body responded. Exercising made my body have more energy and getting proper nutrition. I even entered a transformation contest (through bodybuilding.com) that started halfway through my chemo treatments and finished 2 months after my last. Although I didn’t win I made it to the top 25 out of thousands and got so much support along the way from fellow fighters, survivors and many other people.
And finally… having fun with wigs and makeup! I had 6 wigs that I got for very reasonably prices and I could change my hairstyle all the time! My friends would always be wondering which one I was going to wear!
HOW IS LIFE DIFFERENT FOR YOU NOW POST DIAGNOSIS?
I appreciate things, small things and moments. I make an effort to see my friends more often and I have so much drive and ambition to do something to help others, although I am not sure what that is yet.
I feel like I have accomplished a huge life goal. So I have the feeling now that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.
WHAT IS/WAS THE TOUGHEST ITEM(S) YOU’VE HAD TO DEAL WITH SINCE DIAGNOSIS AND HOW HAVE YOU HANDLED IT?
I think I am dealing with it now, going back to normal life… I will start work again soon and I just don’t know what that will hold, and of course you always worry about it coming back… I can worry about it coming back all I want, it wont change whether it does or not but worrying won’t allow me to enjoy the wonderful things in life. You can’t keep constantly worrying about it coming back anymore then you can’t stay inside all the time for fear of being hit by a car.
WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU ARE TRULY PASSIONATE ABOUT RIGHT NOW?
Continuing to educate cancer patients/survivors and everyday people about how to properly treat their bodies through understanding nutrition and exercise. I hope to eventually go to school for nutrition so I can understand it even further.
WHAT IS ONE MESSAGE YOU WOULD LIKE TO GIVE TO OTHER SURVIVORS?
Don’t be afraid to talk about and share your story. There is an immense amount of support out there, share your struggles and share your triumphs. You will inspire more people than you know and in return they will give you all the support they can.
I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become
For more inspiration follow Clea on Instagram and share in the love!