Since July 2013 I’ve been in remission following a year of treatment for a cancerous brain tumour. I first noticed something was wrong when I was 18 and I started experiencing double vision and blurriness in my eyes.
My dad also noticed that I would wake up in the morning or he would wake me up and within seconds I would be asleep again!
I went to the optician, who said it wasn’t my eyes that were the problem and that I needed to go and see my GP. My diagnosis then happened quite quickly and before I knew it I had been admitted to hospital.
I had one operation to drain fluid on my brain and then another after chemotherapy and radiotherapy to remove the tumour. During this time I was put on an adult ward and it was a scary experience being there, without being able to have someone stay with me.
The word “cancer” didn’t sink in right away for me. I became ill very quickly after diagnosis and while it was hard to cope with being ill it did keep me occupied, so to speak, and distracted me from the reality of “cancer”.
I suppose it never has sunk in, but by the time I was fully aware of what was going on I was already admitted to a very special facility. The Teenage Cancer Trust Ward at University College Hospital, known simply to us teens and our parents as T12.
On the unit, while you may be feeling a little under the weather, you can meet new friends, hang out with them and take back some of that feeling of teenage life you crave. I would often go to the activity room and play pool with my friend Tom while music played from the big flat screen TV.
It’s like being down the pub really … only with stronger drugs rather than alcohol.
Life after cancer
It’s taken me a while to get over treatment. My energy levels have been low and I have been feeling tired but I now feel well enough to now start making plans and in September I plan to start a Music Production course which I’m really looking forward to.
When you’re a teenager you start thinking about your future more, while having fun with friends, discovering that new band or even travelling the world. When cancer comes along and gets in the way, Teenage Cancer Trust works and drives to make sure life is as good as it possibly can be.
Teenage Cancer Trust units aren’t just comforting facilities for us teens having treatment. They’re a place where your family and friends can meet too. My unit friends and I would often crack on with treatment and have fun, leaving the worrying to be endured by our families. But when they could mix, talk and have a laugh along with us, it made the situation for them a whole lot easier too. That would be very hard, if not impossible, to achieve without Teenage Cancer Trust.