A party-loving graduate thought she had developed an allergy to BOOZE when one glass of wine began to leave her with crippling headaches… only to discover it was blood cancer.
Izzy Fletcher was confused when she started experiencing unusual pains after consuming just one glass of wine after work in March 2022.
The 23-year-old claims that she had to head home early as her head felt like it was ‘going to explode’ and her chest began to grow tight.
As the symptoms persisted, bewildered Izzy began to wonder if she had an ‘alcohol allergy’ or if the ailment was ‘psychological’.
In an attempt to manage the headaches, Izzy tried a range of alcohol to see if she was allergic to a specific ingredient.
The events coordinator eventually began to increase her alcohol intake on nights out, claiming that drinking more seemed to help the affliction go away.
However, after developing a non-stop cough, Izzy eventually went to visit Southampton University Hospital in December, where staff gave her a range of tests.
A doctor eventually diagnosed the recent university graduate with stage two Hodgkin lymphoma on 10th January.
In spite of the terrifying diagnosis, the 23-year-old claims that finding out the reason behind her headaches was a ‘relief’ as she now knows that she ‘wasn’t going crazy’.
She began chemotherapy on Monday with a positive outlook thanks to its ‘very high’ success rate and is urging anyone experiencing unexplained symptoms to see their GP.
Izzy, from Derby, Derbyshire, said: “It would be really strange, because I’d have one drink and the reaction to that would seem to last forever.
“I got one drink, I think it was a glass of wine or something. I started drinking it and had what started as a really splitting headache. It was really odd.
“My head felt like it was going to explode. I had a really tight chest.
“If I was going out and knew that I was going to be drinking a lot, as soon as I started drinking more [the pain] went. So everyone was encouraging me to drink more.
“My boyfriend used to say to me that it was just psychological, and that if I [don’t] think about it then it won’t happen. And then you think, ‘am I going crazy?’.
“You’re trying to push it down with this psychological voice in your head saying, ‘it’s not bad now – quickly, forget about it!’.
“The doctor thought it was nothing to do with [the cough], and then when they realised it was Hodgkin’s lymphoma they found that it was linked to it.
“When they told me that, it was a relief. I wasn’t going crazy.”
Izzy claims that she’s always loved partying, but admits that nowadays a glass of booze isn’t always worth the immediate pain.
She is due to start chemotherapy treatment on 6th February, and has high hopes that the procedure will be a success.
Despite experiencing ‘consuming’ anxiety about her diagnosis, the unsuspecting cancer victim is trying to maintain a positive outlook.
Now, Izzy is encouraging others to make the effort to check with their GP if they start to develop confusing symptoms.
Izzy said: “The biggest thing I’ve learned from this is that if you are worried about something, just go and get it checked out.”
“As a 23-year-old, you don’t really think, ‘Oh, I’d best go and get myself checked out at the GP’.
“You obviously don’t expect that it’s really going to be anything that serious, and obviously you never expect that you’re going to get cancer at 23.
“I think your mind automatically goes to your family, your friends and who you love.
“You feel this sense of guilt: it’s so out of your control, you can’t do anything about it, but your family are going to rely on your health for their happiness for the next six months.
“I have never struggled with anxiety in my life, but the anxiety I felt for those [few] weeks up until now has just been crazy.
“I can’t really eat anything, I don’t think about anything else. I think that is quite consuming.
“I will still have a drink if I fancy it, you’ve just got to take it day by day.
“But sometimes, you know that the pain just isn’t worth it if you’re not going to be going hard and doing tequila shots all night.
“It’s weird because I’ve always been a big drinker and I’ve always loved to party.
“Now my treatment is six months of chemo. In terms of curability and survival it has a really, really high success rate.”