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I have cancer

hi sam,

I got diagnosed with cancer and recently started chemotherapy. I have to stay at hospital for a week. I really miss my friends and my mum and my dog. my mum is only able to come for 1 hour each day and we live two hours away from the hospital . I really scared that after the treatment my hair will start to fall out and people at school will know me and sick girl and not who I am.

thanks,

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Sam

Hi there,

Nobody likes getting sick, but when it's a serious illness like cancer it can mean a lot of big changes for you and your family. Treatment for cancer can vary depending on what type you have, sometimes it can be very hard and long. Coming to terms with this might also take some time and you may need a lot of support.

Staying in hospital can be hard. Hospitals are unfamiliar places with a lot going on - some of it quite scary. Nurses and doctors at hospitals will be working hard to make sure you are taken care of, whilst getting you back on your feet as fast as possible. Despite their efforts, you might still feel scared or lonely, so it can help to take some personal items with you, if you can, as this makes it feel at least a little bit like home.

Visiting is usually restricted in hospitals because there is always a risk of it affecting your treatment or those around you. It can mean that there are limits to the amount of people you get see and to the time you have with them. You could ask a parent or friend to plan  your visits and spread them out. This might be difficult if you're in a hospital far from home but with some planning it might be possible.

Losing your hair is a possible side effect of some cancer treatments. It may grow back eventually but for a time you might have to cope with some hair loss. People react to this in different ways and that's okay. There is no right or wrong way to cope. Some like to wear wigs, hats or bandannas to cover their head - others just accept that they will be bald for a while and make it part of their look.

WSome people may not know how to react to your illness. It can be a reminder of what you've been through when all you want to do is forget about it and move on. It's important to have conversations with people and explain that it's something you're trying to put behind you and that you want things to be as normal as possible whilst you recover.

Having cancer can be life-changing, but it doesn't have to define you.   It's something that's happening to you right now, and you may learn a lot about yourself because of it. When you get better there can be positives that you take from your experiences and you can add it to all that makes you the complete person that you are.

If you need to talk about how you feel, Childline counsellors are here to help. If you’re not sure what support is available, then a good place to start might be Macmillan. They have a free helpline you can call to talk to someone about any part of your illness and recovery.

I hope this has helped, thanks for writing in.

Sam

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