I was 16 when I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. I first noticed something was wrong when I started to get pain around my left knee, with painkillers eventually having no effect after a couple of months. When a slight lump appeared I decided to go and see the doctor, who put it down as a sports injury due to me being very active and playing a lot of cricket. I was told to rest and take ibuprofen.
However, the pain continued, and I returned to the doctors around a month later and was sent for an X-ray after much consideration. The results confirmed that I needed to go to hospital for biopsies and eventually I was diagnosed in May 2010.
I was given three cycles of chemotherapy and had limb salvage surgery to replace the majority of my left femur (thigh bone) with a metal prosthesis in September 2010. I then had to have a further three cycles of chemotherapy following the operation.
Although I reacted surprisingly well to the chemo; only being sick once; two weeks before finishing my chemotherapy treatment I contracted chicken pox, which invaded my lungs and left me in intensive care for 17 days on a ventilator. This meant spending Christmas and New Year in an induced coma; not much fun, especially for my family and friends!
After losing nearly 20kg I improved gradually and was determined to get back on track with my life. Therefore, whilst on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit in Birmingham I kept up with my studies and completed my A Levels despite having only 25% attendance in my final year of sixth form, eventually securing a place at university.
Life after cancer
It has now been nearly four years since I finished treatment and I’ve finished university and got a full time job. Due to the operation on my leg, I’m not as mobile as I once was but I'm playing cricket again. As silly as it sounds, I was always more worried about never being able to play something that I loved again than what I potentially could have lost. I’m now a member of my county disabled cricket club and my aim is to get into the England Physical Disability Cricket Team.
My battle with cancer has been the toughest battle of my life but many doors have opened to me that were closed before and for that reason I wouldn’t change what I have been through. If I could give any advice, it is to stay positive, keep smiling and always have something to aim for.