Woman battling cancer ditches wigs and she looks absolutely beautiful
The road to recovery after having cancer is one of the hardest that anyone will have to take. Not only do sufferers have to go through physical agony, but many of them also are forced to deal with losing their hair, their social lives, their careers and much more, not to mention sacrificing years of their lives to this battle. Tragically, some cancer patients even feel embarrassed by their condition, attempting to hide their status as a sufferer and refusing to open up about it.
But one woman who flatly refuses to do this is 22-year-old Olivia Smith. Having lost her hair while battling Hodgkin's Lymphoma, the fashion student is standing up to cancer, ditching her wigs and making people recognise her not as a victim, but as a strong and proud cancer fighter.
Olivia, who comes from Southampton in England, first realised something was wrong when she was on holiday in Menorca and began experiencing chest pains after having just a sip of alcohol. After visiting a doctor when she got home, she was misdiagnosed with costochondritis, an inflammation of the cartilage in the rib cage. However, the truth came out when she started to notice lumps on her beck and went back for another appointment.
It was then that she was referred to a lymphoma specialist who diagnosed her with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a type of lymphoma that is generally believed to result from white blood cells of the lymphocyte kind.
Speaking of her journey to acceptance, the 22-year-old said: "The weeks that followed were full of a lot of 'why me' tears; I would fill my drive to work with plans of how I would tell my family the news and mostly worrying about how ugly I would look with no hair. This was the point where I realised why people are secretive about things like this."
She continued: "It is obviously so reassuring to know I have such a huge support network, but I began to feel like an alien. It is not until something of this nature happens to you that you learn the right way to act towards a person going through it. People want to be there for you, and that is so kind, but to be so upset that I actually end up consoling them over the situation is frustrating and you leave the conversation feeling down yourself."
Now going through six months of several gruelling rounds of chemotherapy, Olivia has taken to social media to document her journey to recovery and raise awareness. Amazingly, she has so far gained almost 7,000 followers on Instagram, where she opens up about the highs and lows of her cancer battle.
'I believe my future would have been entirely different had I not been faced with this at such a young age. I used to be so comfortably numb, but now I feel everything with such passion," she said. "I have wasted so much time looking for wigs, trips to London, entering competitions, endless meetings and conversations with The Little Princess Trust trying to find the perfect wig. But one day I realised why am I trying to cover up the fact that I am fighting the hardest battle of my life so far?"
She added: "It took me a long time to realise that cancer isn't something to be embarrassed of, but actually a battle to be proud I am fighting. I feel so much more confident now that I am not trying to conceal my cancer, and I am helping so many other young people fighting cancer to feel the same. To know that sharing my struggle is helping and inspiring so many others has made me realise that there was a reason for all of this; and my purpose is to share and spread awareness."
Olivia is clearly a force to be reckoned with. We wish her all the best in her recovery!