So, this is my first attempt in explaining what I’ve been through the last 4 1/2 years and I’ve been recommended many-a-time to start writing and comparing experiences with other people in my situation.
In the Summer of 2014 i’d not long turned 16. My GCSE’s had ended and i was deciding on what i wanted to do with my life (my aim was to go into social work or the police) ofcourse that pretty much changed weekly at that age. I’m pretty sure at time, my mum had introduced me to the TV series ’24’ and i was pretty adamanat that i was going to be joining a task force to take down a load of dickheads so its a shame that one didn’t pan out.
Anyway swiflty moving on from my double life as a super-spy.. i found a lump on the front of my neck that i had suspected had been there for some time, as i remember popping it out as a party trick at a wedding in the previous May. This lump was solid and the size of a golf ball, but my lymph nodes began to swell in my neck shortly after which prompted my mum to worry. Finally, after some back-and-fourth with my mum, she decided to take me to the doctors. We had a history of thyroid issues in my family but nothing cancer related so it had never crossed my mind that it could be something more sinister. When i attended my appointment at my local GP, he concluded that there was nothing wrong with my neck, however he wanted to check for Glandular Fever just incase (looking back i wish it was the Glandular Fever.) I was back to square one but i wasn’t particurly bothered when they couldn’t work out what causing it as i didn’t feel ill at the time, just fatigued but that was usual for me.
2 weeks had passed and i received a letter informing me that i had been booked for an ultrasound, you can imagine my mum shit her pants at the time as it wasn’t my neck she was thinking it was for. I quite enjoyed the ultrasound (weirdly) as i suffered severely with hot flushes and sweats, so being in the height of Summer in a sweaty hospital wasn’t ideal for me but it made me feel better. A biopsy was conducted at the same time, my pain threshold is pretty good so it didn’t phase me, however it upset my mum as she was looking up at the monitor and had realised that they couldn’t pierce the mass-golf ball-like lump in my neck. I remember at one point the lady doing it had her foot up on the bed to try and shove it in (no pun intended) and she finally managed to get a sample after an hour so. By this time, my mum’s attitude shifted from care-free to slight panic, I however was oblivious to it.
That Summer was a bit of a blur to me, I remember going up to Liverpool with family whilst I was waiting for both my biopsy and GCSE results, funny how one could either ruin my life or solidify my career as Jack Bauer.
The day came when I collected my GCSE results, I must admit, I was proud of myself as I suffered severely with anxiety (which now I have realised was due to the hormone imbalance due to the cancer) and I’d then realised that my career as a national hero could be put in motion. That same day, I was receiving my biopsy results. Obviously more worried about the GCSE’s as I didn’t want my mum to batter me. I remember being cheerful on the way to the hospital, I had my whole life ahead of me and not once did I think that this could be one of the worst days of mine and my mums life.
Waiting rooms are all the same aren’t they? If you don’t go in feeling depressed, you sure as hell do when you sit inside what feels like, a smelly mans armpit. It took maybe an hour to be seen so already being irritated by the mans pits and my own pits wasn’t a good combo. I walked into the doctors room, I can’t for the life of me remember his name but all I remember is that he was a South African Sex God who I nearly thanked when he gave me my diagnosis just so I could touch his hands. There was a lady in there also, my mums expression of worry and fear solidified when she saw her as she knew she was there to offer support for whatever he was about to say next. ‘
‘I don’t know how to tell you this, but, you’ve got cancer. We thought it was lymphoma at first but its ok it’s just thyroid.. it’s one of the good ones. You’ve had it for maybe 2 years now, quite advanced and you’re the youngest person in the UK to be diagnosed with it.’
Without hesitation, he quickly organised CT scans, biopsies, surgeries, treatment plans, all before my mum was even able to utter the words ‘what are her chances?’ He was vague, although suggesting I have the best cancer anyone could ask for (sounds like it should go in a friends thankyou card) he wasn’t sure the extent to which It had travelled, due to the severity of the golf ball tumour in my neck and whether it had set up shop in my lungs.
After this appointment was what I’d call, 4 years of laughs, tears and a lot of cancer jokes which left everyone around me feeling slightly nervy.
Anyway, I’ll continue in my next post as it’s a long story and this is only the beginning of it x