Because of coronavirus I spent a lot of time in hospital by myself

Jack in hospital

Jack, 16

Jack was diagnosed with testicular cancer in May 2020, aged 16. He had to contend not just with cancer treatment, but with the isolation of shielding from Covid-19. It’s left him with an appreciation of the little things – like watching Countryfile with his nan! 

I started to think something was wrong a couple of weeks after going into lockdown in March 2020. I’d found a lump in my testicle and had aches and pains in that area. Stupidly, I came up with excuses as to what it was and didn’t say anything until the end of May.

I went to the doctors and got a scan the next day as the hospitals were only dealing with urgent cases because of Covid-19. The scan confirmed I had testicular cancer and I had surgery the following week.

Jack now

The consultants told me straight away, and throughout, that it was treatable. That helped me keep a positive mindset, but I’d be lying to say I was positive the whole time, especially because I had the extra worry of being treated during Covid-19.

The staff from Teenage Cancer Trust come round and speak to you. They take care of things like liaising with schools. When you’re feeling tired you don’t want to think about emailing your Head of Year. They do that for you, which makes life a bit easier.

I also got chatting to other young people on the unit. You’re all going through the same thing, so it bonds you almost straight away.

During treatment, I didn’t have the energy to walk. Now I can go for a walk again. It brings back a sense of normality. It’s something so simple but it helps to have a bit of freedom. You take it for granted. Once shielding was lifted, I saw my nan for the first time in months. We didn’t do anything special, we just watched Countryfile, but it was nice.

The new strain of the virus really worries me. It’s scary how transmittable it is, and it concerns me that other young people will have to go through treatment by themselves. It would be lonely for them if they’re by themselves for that amount of time and it would be mentally tough. Hopefully they can increase the Covid tests and allow people to still visit.