Hello there my name is Arnie Higgs, I was a keen sports man, and I lived for my sports. I was a goal keeper for my school and Sunday league team, captain of a cross country team; I was also a part of every school sports team from basketball, rugby, tennis, track and field and much more.
I used to wake up every morning around 5am and go for a little jog before getting ready to bike to school to make sure I got there half hour before so I could attend before school sports, I was the class clown the joker of the school. I had a great personality and everyone liked me and wanted to be my friend, I also loved going out with my mates.
I started to get headaches, I could only describe them as brain freeze and was being sick every morning, this was happening over a course of 3 to 4 weeks. My mum and I just thought I was doing too much or over doing it with my sports and not eating properly, so my mum took me to the doctors.
The doctor said I had anxiety so my mum and I went home. Another month went by still having the headaches and sickness, we went back to the doctors and they said exactly the same as last time, so my mum and I just went home thinking it will get better. Unfortunately another month went by, I was still being sick and having headaches so we went back to the doctors and he said the same thing, however this time my mum was not accepting the doctors diagnosis and told the doctor it is not anxiety, Arnie has nothing to worry about, no one is bullying him, he has no worries, which was true.
A week later I went to the optician thinking it could be migraine, the optician looked into my eyes and said I had pressure behind my left eye, she got really worried and sent me back to my doctor . Again he was not very helpful as said it must be very small as he could not see anything. I went back to my optician who sent me to the Southend eye hospital for them to examine my eye. They looked into my eye and then sent me for a M.R.I scan, they must have seen something because I had to stay in overnight and the next day I got rushed up to St. George’s hospital by an ambulance with blue flashing lights and sirens.
This is where my journey started, I had and operation on my head to insert a tube to drain the fluid from my head, and I had to keep that in for 2 weeks. Then I had my major operation to remove the tumour, it lasted 8 hours and they described it as the size of an apricot. They were able to removed 99% of the tumour but they had to leave the other 1% because they didn’t want to damage the brain. I had to stay in hospital for 6 weeks to recover. I then started my radiotherapy which was a course of 5 days a week for six weeks, I lost weight dramatically from being 8 stone dropping to 4 and a half in just a couple of weeks.
I was very ill and I did not eat or drink and I was still being sick. I had to use a wheel chair which made me very sad. 5 weeks into my radiotherapy I thought to myself what are you doing, stop thinking negative and let’s get motivated. So I pushed myself to eat and drink and that gave me more energy to get out of my wheel chair and push it myself.
After my radiotherapy my chemotherapy started, that was 3 times a week for a year, my hair started to grow back which give me more confidence and I started going down my local sports centre and walking in the swimming pool which helped my balance and strength. I always wondered what people thought when they saw the pick line in my upper arm that was not allowed to get wet, so I wrapped sheets of cling film around it and had my arm out of the water. I had a feeding tube in my stomach as well.
Throughout my chemo I was still very poorly but it didn’t stop me from getting out of bed and going to the day room and having a laugh with everyone, as my years course of chemo went by and I remained positive and looked forward to the future and I carried on with my rehabilitation which consisted of:
· Riding a bike short distance in long grass and up hills
· Running short distance in sand and long grass
· Carrying a backpack with tins of beans and adding another tin a day
· Swimming and walking in water
· Walking on the seat of a picnic bench to help with my balance
· And much more