Opening the front door to my new flat, I carried in my newborn son, George, and showed him around for the very first time.
‘Welcome home!’ I beamed proudly, gently pushing open the door to his nursery.
In September 2015, I was 17 years old and had just given birth to my little boy.
After placing him down in his Moses basket, I started unpacking a few boxes and noticed how exhausted I felt.
Luckily, my mum Jane, 48, was on hand to help.
‘Go have a nap,’ she insisted, ushering me to the bedroom.
‘Can you watch George?’ I asked, as I let out a yawn.
I was lucky to have her around and she was always up for babysitting – she loved spending time with George.
Over the next couple of months, I settled into motherhood, but I couldn’t shake the fatigue.
I also noticed my appetite had completely disappeared too.
I was feeding George milk, but had stopped bothering to make myself much in the way of meals.
I just put it down to how hectic life was as a first-time mum.
My mum was the first to notice.
‘You look so skinny,’ she tutted, looking me up and down.
‘I’m just not that hungry,’ I grumbled, cradling George.
No matter what I ate though the weight seemed to fall off me.
I lost a good 2st and I looked really run-down.
‘How’re you feeling?’ mum asked looking at me with concern.
‘Having a newborn is exhausting,’ I replied, forcing smile.
I thought my tiredness and weight loss was just down to me being rushed off my feet.
I didn’t realise it was something more sinister.
In February 2016, I woke up one morning and felt something strange on my neck.
‘What is that?’ I thought to myself in shock.
It was a small, hard, lump, and I couldn’t take my mind off it.
It kept getting bigger – it looked like an Adam’s apple!
When I then developed a nasty cough I called the GP to get it checked out.
‘It might be tuberculosis,’ he suggested.
At first he didn’t seem too concerned and told me to come back again in two weeks time.
Then he caught me in reception before I left the appointment.
‘Actually,’ he said with concern. ‘I’m going to send you for a chest x-ray.’
A week later I was referred to Nottingham Hospital where I underwent a biopsy, which involved removing a sample of it for testing.
I was put under and apparently, they struggled to wake me up.
‘Your windpipe swelled up,’ the medics explained with concern.
Luckily, they managed to push a tube through to help me breathe.
A few days later, doctors got the results and told me it wasn’t too much of a concern.
Although around five more small, hard, lumps appeared on my neck.
It was terrifying and I felt like I couldn’t breathe.
‘I’m calling 111,’ mum said firmly, grabbing the phone.
They told me to head back to the hospital where I was admitted and they sent for another biopsy.
This time, the news wasn’t so promising.
‘You’ve got lymphoma,’ the doctors explained.
It was a type of blood cancer that develops when the white blood cells grow out of control.
I was diagnosed with Stage 4 B – which was quite advanced.
The tumour was wrapped around my throat, and if we’d left it any longer, it could have suffocated me.
It was terrifying and I couldn’t bear the thought of my not being there for my little boy.
I started treatment that weekend and underwent two gruelling rounds of chemotherapy.
That was followed by a different set of chemotherapy, followed by radiotherapy.
It was so tough and I couldn’t be there for George as much.
‘Mummy misses you,’ I said to him on FaceTime from the hospital as my mum held the phone up for him to see me video calling.
He was only a few months old and I felt like I was missing crucial bonding time. But I had to stay strong for him.
Another tough part was losing my hair.
Clumps of it fell out over the next six months and on July 1st 2016, I celebrated my 18th birthday in a wig.
‘Happy birthday,’ mum said, handing me a present.
After nearly seven months of treatment I finally went into remission.
‘We can’t see any more signs of cancer,’ the doctor explained hopefully.
It was the best news I could have hoped for.
Although I felt relieved, there was a shadow of worry over the news.
The doctors said I was at high risk of developing a secondary cancer further down the line.
As I got back on my feet, I met my current partner, Beres, 27.
Although it wasn’t planned, I found I was pregnant again a year-and-a-half after my cancer scare.
‘You’re going to be dad!’ I beamed, showing him the positive test.
Although mum wasn’t too impressed, as it was a bit soon to have a baby after treatment, once she got over the shock, she was pleased for us.
During that pregnancy, I noticed a rash appearing across my legs.
It’s another sign of lymphoma.
‘What if it’s back?’ I thought fearfully.
Luckily, the test can back negative and I was closely monitored until our little Mylee, now one, arrived.
She weighed a healthy 7lb 9oz and there were no complications.
George, now three, proved to be the best big brother.
I’ve just celebrated my 22nd birthday and gone through more than most women do in a lifetime.
I definitely count myself as one of the lucky ones.
I made lots of friends throughout my cancer journey that I’ve lost along the way.
I’m just grateful that I made it out the other side and can finally enjoy time being a mum.