Living with a tumour is not easy. It’s far from it actually. It’s hard not being able to run around like others, or walk in the sun or go shopping because your bones are too weak or your head suddenly feels like an angry teenager is practicing his drums inside. Or when you want to eat everything in sight because your hormones are everywhere and you are just hungry. And then waking up the next morning and even the thought of food makes your stomach churn. And the effect it has on your body and every time you look in the mirror, the hate and anger that you feel because the figure staring back at you is not your fault. That’s not the way you’re supposed to be. You went from being an average person to looking like a moving mountain and it’s not fair. It’s the effect of all the treatments, the daily tablets, the lack of energy and sleep all due to that one stupid lump inside your head. And mood swings and depression that follows? Definitely the worst!
But living with a tumour does not mean that the standard of your life has decreased, although sometimes it definitely feels like it. Instead, it just requires a new way of thinking.
Over the years, I have found that taking everything in your stride with a positive and optimistic outlook is the best way forward. I have also reached the point where I believe that everything happens for a reason and if its meant to be it will be. I took on this approach after my father passed away, and to be honest it helped me a lot. Even the days where I feel so depressed and I miss my dad more than anything, I am able to pull myself up again and carry on.
So, the positives of having a tumour? Where do I begin? Well first of all it’s made me a better and stronger person. I have changed so much over the years and my confidence and self-esteem has benefited massively. It has made me patient, more caring and more understanding of everyone who is going through a hard time. There are ups and downs in my life and I do struggle at times with my duties at home, but at the end of the day, I’m still here. I’m lucky to be alive and to be able to study and work towards my dreams.
Another benefit that most people overlook is the fantastic charities that are out there for people like myself. I was helped by several of them when I was on treatment and also after. This included things like help with bills as my dad was not working as he had to act as my personal chauffeur to and from hospital. I also got a bike from Cyclists Fighting Cancer, which has helped me become more active and maintain my weight which is not easy when using steroids. I also found some charities that would help with the cost of clothes and household items, which was needed at the time. And lastly, the most important type of charities are the ones who are just there for you when you need to talk or have a cry because you’re confused or scared. I would suggest that anyone going through a tough time should always find out about any charities that may be able to help as there are some remarkable ones out there, it just requires a little research.
The last thing that I think is the most important and positive aspect of my tumour and its affects is the people I have met and made friends with. This includes the many people I have had the pleasure to spend time with at YCT. A special shout out goes to Brenda for the fantastic charity that she has set up, John who is an absolute legend and makes every visit better than the last, Peter who is always there for you and Georgie, an absolutely amazing woman who puts everyone else’s needs before her own.