When I was 14, the right side of my face suddenly started to swell up. Initially the doctors thought that it was allergies, but antibiotics didn't clear it up and the swelling started pushing my right eye up. It affected my vision and became quite uncomfortable.
They did a biopsy and diagnosed me with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer of the soft tissues. I was living in Dubai at the time and had surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible, then I had a year of chemo plus conventional radiotherapy. It was tough going, as I continued to attend school when I felt well enough. I managed to sit my GCSE exams and got good results for all the subjects.
I moved back to England from Dubai when I was 18 to study Chemical Engineering at the University of Surrey. I had to have regular check-ups at the Royal Marsden and, when I was 21, my usual doctor left and I was assigned a new one. As he hadn't seen me before and because I hadn't had any scans in a while, he booked me a CT scan.
It was meant to be a routine scan, so I was shocked when that and a biopsy showed that I had Ewing's Sarcoma in my spine. Comparison with the previous biopsy slides showed that my previous diagnosis was incorrect, as the cancers are similar.
Having been through it once, I knew how bad the chemo would be.
But I was very lucky that he decided to give me a scan as I'd had no symptoms whatsoever, so it wouldn't have been discovered so quickly otherwise. I just wanted to start the treatment as soon as possible.
I was offered treatment at the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at the Royal Marsden and quickly started my chemo treatment.
The staff had a supportive and positive attitude and were always there to help.
I was quite often in a single room by myself, or I was the only person in the boy's bay. I'm a quiet person so I kept to myself a lot. The music therapy that Teenage Cancer Trust offered drew everyone out of their rooms and allowed me to relax and have fun with other young people, without it feeling forced. They run weekly sessions and going along enabled me to speak to people going through a similar experience as me.
Kwaku, the music therapist, would play the drums of the keyboard and the rest of us would follow the beat with other instruments. He would inspire us to be creative and the music calmed my mind down and took my throughts off the treatment. Kwaku was very friendly and open and I felt like I could say anything to him and he would listen. I really enjoyed it and it was a nice break from the treatment.
Roger Daltrey from The Who is an Honorary Patron of Teenage Cancer Trust and he came along to one of the sessions. I have quite broad musical tastes and he was very interesting to talk to. He was very friendly and chatty. We played Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash and it was a nice break from the treatment.
I am currently in the United States of America, where I have finished my proton therapy treatment. I'll be heading back to England to complete my chemotherapy, and I hope to complete my treatment by the end of July so I can go back to university in September and complete my Chemical Engineering Masters degree.