What it’s like starting chemotherapy at 13
Aged only 13, Bobby was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. In his latest entry, Bobby discusses starting chemotherapy, its side effects and how he has learnt to cope with treatment with the help of his Youth Support Coordinator.
My chemotherapy started out well. I had my induction period at the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh, then I moved to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee for the consolidation period. I started to feel nauseous and had a few fevers.
During the first two weeks I became poorly and wasn’t in touch with any of my friends. Once I was better, it was difficult to talk to my friends to start with because having cancer at our age isn’t common and they didn’t know anything about cancer. They didn’t really ask too much. They just asked how I was feeling and how long it was before I could come home.
I had a bruise that started on the top of my leg and then began to spread down my thigh until it was one big bruise. I knew something wasn’t right and it was really sore.
It turned out that I was allergic to the PEG injection, and I was rushed to Edinburgh to have emergency surgery to cut a bit of my leg out. Luckily the infection wasn’t too deep, so I won’t need a skin graft.
I had to have my dressing changed every four days and it’s sorest then. Conor was always with me when I was having my dressing changed and he encouraged me to use the breathing exercises which he taught me to control the pain and my anxiety.
My Youth Support Coordinator Conor makes being in hospital better
They had to change my chemo and I now have seven doses every two days. I hate it as I’m never out of hospital.
The chemotherapy has also made four teeth crack. I’ve never had to have a filling before, so it’s disappointing, but the worst thing is that I can’t eat proper stuff for a while. I only have two more intense blocks of chemo and then I am in maintenance, so hopefully that will be easier as I won’t be in hospital as much.
My Teenage Cancer Trust Youth Support Coordinator, Conor, makes being in hospital better though. Other than my mum and stepdad, Conor is the one who supports me the most. Conor does it in a different way, not like a parent. He’s not had cancer, but he’s worked with so many young people that have that he knows what we are talking about, and I don’t have to explain myself to him.
Look out for more updates on Bobby’s story on our website and social media.