I had a really bad headache on New Year’s Eve when I was 11. I was sent for an MRI scan and they found a brain tumour.
I was told that it would continue to grow as my hormones changed during puberty, so I had chemotherapy every week at Birmingham Children’s Hospital to slow it down.
I started off on the children’s ward and it was ok, but I’d hear young children crying. It wasn’t nice. Teenage Cancer Trust’s Youth Support Coordinator Julie came and met me and told me about the charity. She said that she ran activities on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit such as pizza nights where I could meet other young people with cancer.
I went along to a pizza evening. I was a bit nervous to start with, but I made some friends there. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone and there were other people who could help me along.
I finished treatment in September 2020. I was glad to finish as towards the end I was getting bad side-effects such as feeling sick and not being able to taste things well.
It wasn’t very nice to be stuck in the house during the coronavirus pandemic. My family were hit the most as my sister had to stop her A Levels and she was stressed, and my mum had to work at home.
I’ve had Zoom calls with Julie which was nice, and I was part of an online panel at a Teenage Cancer Trust event where we shared our lockdown experiences to try to help others. It was great to be able to do that.
Last year, I was due to be in hospital having chemotherapy on Boxing Day. We always celebrate with our extended family on Boxing Day, so it was sad that I might miss that. Teenage Cancer Trust managed to move the treatment to the day after so that I could have that time with my dad’s side of the family.
My grandparents live in Scotland so I don’t get to see them that much and they would have been worried about me during treatment, so it was lovely to be able to spend the day with them. I also got to see my cousins, aunt and uncle. We had a nice meal and then played a movie trivia game.
I also enjoyed a Christmas night out that Julie organised for me and the other young people. We had lovely food and played games.
Christmas will look a bit different this year, but it will still be special because it’s my first Christmas off treatment.