Olivia Smith is showing the world she’s not a cancer victim, she’s a fighter. The 22-year-old fashion student decided to ditch her wigs while she gets her chemotherapy treatments done. She has now embraced her bald head and is proud of her ability to show her truly ‘vulnerable’ self.
The young girl was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma after she discovered a few lumps growing in her neck. It took a while for the correct diagnosis to come through, however, even though Olivia felt there was something wrong with her health. She was enjoying a well-deserved break in Menorca, Spain when she realized that drinking alcohol caused her extreme chest pain.
When Olivia got herself check, her GP misdiagnosed her with costochondritis, telling her she had an inflamed cartilage in her rib cage. She was also told not to drink any more alcohol just in case. The GP threw her concerns out the window when he told her there was no ‘possible correlation between drinking alcohol and having a pain in your chest.’ Olivia took these words to heart and didn’t stop her alcohol consumption. A few months later, her pains got much worse.
Olivia spoke to Mail Online about her harrowing experience. She went to another GP appointment and was misdiagnosed with costochondritis once again. A couple of weeks passed and that is when she began to feel lumps appearing on her neck. This time, the GP straight away referred her to a lymphoma specialist who performed an X-ray on the scared girl.
The X-ray confirmed the GP’s suspicions. “It became pretty clear that I did have cancer because the X-ray showed several growths,” Olivia said. She felt broken and upset and said she would ask ‘why me’ almost constantly.
She further added, “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.”
Olivia uploaded a photo of herself on her Instagram. In the picture, she is dressed in a blue and white pinstriped shirt and dark jeans. There is a glass of wine in her hand and a content smile on her face. She is completely bald and looks at peace with it. The caption reads, “Armour off. Exposed. I’m vulnerable… I don’t recognise this strong, proud cancer fighter? Oh yeah, that’s the new me. I kinda like her.”
She said she couldn’t believe that her once biggest issue was dealing with how she would look bald. Olivia has now overcome that fear and worry and is pulling off her new look with style. She did take to wearing wigs in the middle but then decided they were not worth the hassle. It was also important to throw them away because without them, she can truly be herself and inspire other people to do the same. Olivia now feels okay with how everything turned out.
She said, “I have fully come to terms with the fact I am battling cancer at age 22 and it truly has taught me so much. Yes, I feel like cancer has stolen a year of my life. But, Hodgkin’s is curable. I am being cured; my recent scans show no remaining tumours after only two cycles of Adriamycin bleomycin vinblastine dacarbazine (ABVD) chemotherapy.”
Olivia will still need to undergo six months of chemo to ensure that all the tumors disappear. However, she is okay with this. All she wants to do is live her life to the fullest now and be grateful for the present. There are no more ‘why me’ tears. Olivia has decided to be strong and happy. Her story has already been an inspiration to so many others: she wants people to be survivors, not victims!