My name is Rosie Kilburn, I’m 19 and I have cancer.
How do you tell people that? I live about an hour away from QE hospital in Birmingham so first choice was my phone; luckily, cancer is already on predictive text.
It all started the summer of 2007; I was having pains in my right hand side and went to see countless doctors, who diagnosed me with everything from indigestion to pneumonia. There was even one woman who appeared to be convinced that I was lying; I hope the receptionist spat in her tea.
I was finally diagnosed, on February 1st 2008, with Hepatocellular Fibrolamellar Carcinoma, which is described as an uncommon malignant neoplasm of the liver. Which, I suppose, sounds quite fancy but I dont want to pretend I’m any different from the millions of other people who have some sort of cancer.
Since then I’ve had two liver resections (Feb 08, Jul 08), a lung biopsy (Apr 09), an ablation (Jun 09), a TransArterial ChemoEmbolisation (TACE) (Aug 09), a right hemicolectomy (Oct 09), a six course round of IV chemo (Dec 09 – Mar 10), a second (May 10) and then a third TACE (Aug 10). I was also investigated for a live liver transplant, back in jan 09, but due to more cancerous nodules being found in various places that wasn’t able to go ahead. I’ve received 18 units of blood (donate!), which includes 1 bag of platelets, mainly due to the fact I suffered from two major internal bleeds during the first half of 2011 (Feb, Mar). I’ve also been set back by a rough bout of food poisoning (Jun 11). At the moment I am on an oral chemotherapy drug called Sunitinib (Feb 11 – ongoing), I have also tried Sorafenib (Jan 09) but I had a terrible allergic reaction so I’m not touching that again.
Apart from all that hype I live a normal everyday life, with my family, at home in Gloucestershire. I have a 17 year old, autistic, brother called Calum and an 12ish year old sister called Sylvie. My mum (Jo), dad (Chris) and boyfriend (Toby) are amazing people who really keep my days entertained with old time stories and many family christmasses.
I have a part-time job at Thorntons, where I’ve been since Nov 2009 and I’ve learnt skills from my time at Tesco, where I worked from Oct 2008 – May 2011. I managed to gain 10 A*-C GCSEs with the help of tutors, but unfortunately have not managed to complete my A levels due to all the treatment. An ABBB at AS is alright though I reckon. Ideally I want to go to uni at some point to get a degree in Acting but, right now, I am setting my sights on opening a shop selling ‘stuff I like’. Think big.
Writing all this I dont feel like I sound myself, but I suppose, how are you meant to make all those kinda bits sound funny? I think it may be because I’m new to the whole blogging idea 🙂
Rosie died on September 12th 2011 aged 19. A few hours before she died, she renewed her web domain name. So her family and friends continue this blog and her business The Knock on Effect to raise money for cancer charities in her very wonderful memory. So read on and join in as part of Team Kilburn and The Knock on Effect.