Student Ditches Wigs During Chemo And Reveals What She Looks Like Without

by : UNILAD on : 10 Jun 2018 21:11
Olivia in a shopping centreOlivia in a shopping centre@oliviarosesmithx/Instagram

A fashion student who was diagnosed with cancer after a series of chest pains has decided to throw away her wigs during her chemotherapy treatment.


22-year-old Olivia Smith, from Southampton, first experienced chest pains while on holiday in Menorca, Spain.

A GP is said to have later dismissed her pains, before misdiagnosing it as costochondritis – an inflammation of the cartilage in the rib cage.

But shortly after, Olivia noticed a few lumps on her neck. It turned out to be Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.


Olivia told the MailOnline:

I started to notice something was wrong whilst I was on holiday in Menorca last year. When I drunk even just a sip of alcohol I would get a pain in my chest.

This went on for a few weeks, so I made an appointment with my GP. First of all, the doctor told me that there was no possible correlation between drinking alcohol and having a pain in your chest.

I was told to simply not drink any alcohol. But being the sociable twenty-one-year-old that I was, I didn’t stop, I simply just ignored the pain, but after a few months the pain got worse.

I made another GP appointment where I was again misdiagnosed with costochondritis.

She continued:

A few weeks later I noticed a few lumps had appeared on my neck, so I went back to the GP where they then referred me to see the lymphoma specialist.

Before this day I had never even heard of the word Lymphoma. On the day I went to the lymphoma clinic I had an X-ray. It became pretty clear that I did have cancer because the X-ray showed several growths.

The weeks that followed were full of a lot of “why me” tears; 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.

People want to be there for you, and that is so kind, but to be so upset I actually end up consoling them over the situation is frustrating and you leave the conversation feeling down yourself.


Olivia says she’s now replaced the ‘why me’ tears with a strong trust in her ‘journey’:

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.

I still have to go through the full six months of chemo to ensure that they have got it all. But I believe everything happens for a reason. That reason being I will grab life with both hands after all of this.

Make peace with your past and don’t let it spoil the present. I am lucky enough to be given another chance at life. I have fallen apart and oh boy am I putting the pieces back together differently.

What an incredible woman.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday – Friday, 9am – 8pm).

Topics: Health


  1. MailOnline

    Fashion student, 22, who was diagnosed with cancer after GP dismissed her chest pains reveals she's ditched her wigs during chemotherapy - because she doesn't want to hide the 'hardest battle of my life so far'