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Bride-to-be, 29, was told she had cancer just three months before her dream wedding

When Louise Smith was told she had cancer months before her dream wedding, she feared it would have to be postponed.

But the 29-year-old decided to go ahead with her big day, despite only being halfway through gruelling chemotherapy that ravaged her hair. 

And she even travelled to Asia five days after being told she was cancer-free for her honeymoon with husband Oli, 31.

When Louise Smith was told she had cancer, she feared her dream wedding would have to be postponed. But the 29-year-old still went ahead with her big day – despite only being halfway through her chemotherapy (pictured on her wedding day, December 1, 2018)

And she even travelled to Asia five days after being told she was cancer-free for her honeymoon with husband Oli, 31 (pictured wearing a pink wig)

And she even travelled to Asia five days after being told she was cancer-free for her honeymoon with husband Oli, 31 (pictured wearing a pink wig)

Mrs Smith, from St Albans, said: ‘Obviously, chemotherapy isn’t enjoyable, but it doesn’t have to stop you living your life. 

‘People were always shocked to see me out and about, but I just didn’t feel like I needed to hibernate at home. 

‘I felt well enough to go out, to work and go to parties and have my wedding. This could be the same for anyone else.’

Mrs Smith, a personal assistant, had been planning her wedding to her boyfriend of seven years for many months. 

When she started to get a sore throat and swollen tonsils in July 2018, she assumed it was just a cough and sought advice from her GP.

However, Mrs Smith says her unidentified doctor reassured her she was ‘too young for cancer’ and suggested it was likely to be a minor issue. 

Mrs Smith, a personal assistant, had been planning her wedding to her boyfriend of seven years for many months (pictured in hospital during her second round of chemo)

Mrs Smith, a personal assistant, had been planning her wedding to her boyfriend of seven years for many months (pictured in hospital during her second round of chemo)

Throughout her treatment, Mrs Smith continued to plan her wedding - and is now thankful for the distraction it caused her (pictured with husband Oli on their big day)

Throughout her treatment, Mrs Smith continued to plan her wedding – and is now thankful for the distraction it caused her (pictured with husband Oli on their big day) 

When she started to get a sore throat and swollen tonsils in July 2018, she assumed it was just a cough and sought advice from her GP. However, Mrs Smith says her doctor reassured her she was 'too young for cancer' (pictured with Oli at a friend's wedding in May 2018)

When she started to get a sore throat and swollen tonsils in July 2018, she assumed it was just a cough and sought advice from her GP. However, Mrs Smith says her doctor reassured her she was ‘too young for cancer’ (pictured with Oli at a friend’s wedding in May 2018)

She was then referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist to have a closer look at the lump. They suggested Mrs Smith had her tonsils removed so the lump could be biopsied - examined under a microscope (pictured left with her friends)

She was then referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist to have a closer look at the lump. They suggested Mrs Smith had her tonsils removed so the lump could be biopsied – examined under a microscope (pictured left with her friends)

Within a week, she was referred to an oncologist. And just days later - in August - she was told she had Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (pictured after having her tonsils removed)

Within a week, she was referred to an oncologist. And just days later – in August – she was told she had Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (pictured after having her tonsils removed)

Antibiotics failed to work and Mrs Smith said the lump in her throat became ‘golf ball-sized’, which slowly became bigger over time. 

Another visit to the GP saw Mrs Smith receive a second prescriptions of antibiotics, which, once again, failed to work. 

But she was then referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist to have a closer look at the lump.

They suggested Mrs Smith had her tonsils removed so the lump could be biopsied – examined under a microscope. 

Within a week, she was referred to an oncologist. And just days later – in August – she was told she had Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. 

Mrs Smith said: ‘I was with my mum and Oli when we were told, and I cried and gripped their hands while I was given a huge amount of information. 

‘My only question was that I was getting married in three months and whether that would be possible.’ 

Mrs Smith immediately began IVF treatment to save some of her eggs before she underwent six rounds of gruelling chemotherapy.

Mrs Smith immediately began IVF treatment to save some of her eggs before she underwent six rounds of gruelling chemotherapy (pictured on her hen-do)

Mrs Smith immediately began IVF treatment to save some of her eggs before she underwent six rounds of gruelling chemotherapy (pictured on her hen-do)

Mrs Smith said: 'Planning the wedding definitely helped because I didn’t have time to overthink what was going on' (she suffered hair loss from her chemotherapy)

Mrs Smith said: ‘Planning the wedding definitely helped because I didn’t have time to overthink what was going on’ (she suffered hair loss from her chemotherapy)

She said: 'In between each chemotherapy I had something fun to look forward to that pushed me to do everything I could to feel better'

She said: ‘In between each chemotherapy I had something fun to look forward to that pushed me to do everything I could to feel better’

Throughout her treatment, Mrs Smith continued to plan her wedding – and is now thankful for the distraction it caused her.  

Mrs Smith said: ‘Planning the wedding definitely helped because I didn’t have time to overthink what was going on.

‘When I got home after my first chemotherapy session I did our seating plan. It gave me something to focus on and be excited about.

‘In between each chemotherapy I had something fun to look forward to that pushed me to do everything I could to feel better.’ 

She added: ‘I was super nervous to go through treatment so close to my wedding. I was determined to get married but knew I couldn’t guarantee how I would feel on the day.’

Recalling how her wedding planning was going before her diagnosis, Mrs Smith revealed it was ‘going really well’.

Despite being half way through chemo, Mrs Smith was able to enjoy every moment of her wedding and didn’t let her diagnosis hinder her (pictured in hospital during her third round of chemotherapy in November before her wedding day)

Despite being half way through chemo, Mrs Smith was able to enjoy every moment of her wedding and didn’t let her diagnosis hinder her (pictured in hospital during her third round of chemotherapy in November before her wedding day)

Mr and Mrs Smith then left for their honeymoon on March 24 - five days after being told she was cancer-free and in remission (pictured tasting wine for their own wedding in July 2018)

Mr and Mrs Smith then left for their honeymoon on March 24 – five days after being told she was cancer-free and in remission (pictured tasting wine for their own wedding in July 2018)

Mrs Smith said: 'Getting cancer doesn’t have to end your world. It’s such a terrifying word which carries so much negativity' (pictured during her first round of chemo)

Mrs Smith said: ‘Getting cancer doesn’t have to end your world. It’s such a terrifying word which carries so much negativity’ (pictured during her first round of chemo)

The wedding reception included a Krispy Kreme doughnut cake and Mexican food, adding to the relaxed atmosphere that the couple hoped for (pictured with Oli)

The wedding reception included a Krispy Kreme doughnut cake and Mexican food, adding to the relaxed atmosphere that the couple hoped for (pictured with Oli)

She said: ‘I’m a planner by nature so I had a lot of the main things organised: venue, caterer, photographer and so on – even my dress.’ 

Mrs Smith added: ‘When I completed the first round [of chemo], I left myself some free time to gauge how I would feel. 

‘After the second I had my hen party, and then after the third I got married.’

Despite being half way through chemo, Mrs Smith was able to enjoy every moment of her wedding on December 1 and didn’t let her diagnosis hinder her.

The reception included a Krispy Kreme doughnut cake and Mexican food, adding to the relaxed atmosphere that the couple hoped for.

Mrs Smith said: ‘Our wedding was the most fantastic day. The girls came to my hotel room and we had hair and makeup done while laughing and drinking champagne. 

‘My hair was the last and obviously the quickest – a few pins to hold a few strands of my wig away from my face.

‘Our ceremony was quick which is what we wanted, followed by the most amazing emotional speeches before dinner. 

‘No one went into detail about what was going on with me, but each speech had a quick mention of it.’

She added: ‘We wanted something relaxed, a bit different to the weddings we had been to and something with a bit of edge. 

‘I even switched from my blonde bob wig to a barbie pink one for the evening reception.’

Mr and Mrs Smith then left for their honeymoon on March 24 – five days after being told she was cancer-free and in remission. 

She said: ‘We spent five days in Singapore, then to Bali where we spent five days in Ubud before seven days in Seminyak.

‘Getting cancer doesn’t have to end your world. It’s such a terrifying word which carries so much negativity. 

‘I spent hours on the internet and social media trying to find positive stories of people who weren’t completely struck down by chemotherapy, and I struggled. 

To see more, visit Mrs Smith’s Instagram page here. 

WHAT IS NON-HODGKIN LYMPHOMA?

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) is a type of cancer that starts in white blood cells called lymphocytes.

It affects the lymph system, which is involved in fighting infections and helping fluid move through the body.

NHL can start anywhere where lymph tissue is found, such as lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, tonsils and the digestive tract. It differs from Hodgkin’s lymphoma due to the type of immune cells it affects. 

NHL is one of the most common types of cancers in the US, making up four per cent of all forms of the disease. It is the sixth most common cancer in the UK. 

NHL is grouped depending on how quickly it grows and spreads. Indolent NHL grows slowly and may not require treating straight away. Aggressive NHL spreads quickly and requires immediate treatment.

Regardless of how quickly it grows, all NHLs can spread to other parts of the lymph system if untreated. It can also spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver or brain. 

Anyone can develop NHL, however, most cases occur in people in their 60s or older. For unclear reasons, it is also more common in men.

Some studies have suggested that exposure to certain weedkillers and pesticides may increase the risk, as do chemotherapy drugs and some arthritis medications. More research is required to determine this. 

Patients treated with radiotherapy for other cancers are slightly more at risk of NHL in later life. Those with a weak immune system, such as HIV patients or people who have recently had an organ transplant, are also more susceptible.

A family history of NHL and being overweight are also linked to the condition.

Although rare, some women with breast implants develop a type of lymphoma in their breasts, which seems to be more common if the implants have a rough texture.

NHL treatment depends on how advanced a patient’s disease is but might include chemo, radiotherapy, a stem cell transplant or, in rare cases, surgery.

Source: American Cancer Society 



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