As a 29-year-old newlywed, the words, "you have cancer" was the last thing I ever expected to hear from the doctor in the emergency department. Well, in my case the words were, "you have leukaemia", but still, a cancer diagnosis was the furthest thing from my mind.
Sure, I’d been feeling more tired than usual and had generally been feeling "off", but for the most part, I was living a very healthy and active life.
I had been given a full bill of health (including normal blood test results) only four months earlier, so to say I was shocked would be an understatement.
Ironically, the more people I speak to who have gone through similar experiences to myself share the same sentiment – none of us saw it coming.
Watch In Her Shoes: Lea's cancer story. Post continues after video.
My cancer diagnosis came in April 2021. I was very fortunate to be able to start my chemotherapy treatment straight away.
One thing I never knew prior to my own cancer experience is the vulnerability that chemo causes to your body.
I was severely warned by my doctors to stay away from anyone who was unwell as even the common cold could be deadly. In fact, our body is so vulnerable during chemo that even the bacteria from our own skin can send us to intensive care (which in my case, it did for a very scary three-day ICU stint).
So, you can imagine the significant risk that COVID would have had for me.
Thankfully living in Queensland, we were relatively COVID free at this time. We were having lockdowns here and there, but generally it was well contained. My treatment tracked along well from April through August and I turned 30 during another snap lockdown.