It was November 2011, I was working full time, never experienced headaches or migraines before but I was being signed off work due to severe headaches and stress. Over the next week and a half and went to the hospital twice and they said there was nothing wrong with me.
After this time it was getting worse and I couldn’t look at light or stand up anymore. So I went to a walk-in clinic and the doctor looked into my eyes with a light and wrote a letter to bypass me through A and E and told me to go straight to hospital. I was hungry after so went to get some chips and went to hospital. They kept me in overnight and then the next morning they put me through the CT scanner twice. They told me to call my mum to get her to come down.
They took us into a side room and told me I had a lesion. I could tell something was wrong because they were fussing around my scan. I went cold and said I needed to get out and went on a rampage around the hospital. I was in shock but didn’t really know what it meant, but I knew it was bad. I was then ignored basically until I was transferred to St George’s hospital at midnight. At 2.10am they gave me tablets to knock me out because I was behaving irrationally due to shock. I had surgery a week later, once it had all sunk in.
They removed 97% of the tumour after a 4 hour operation. Afterwards I was in intensive care for 24hours before I was moved to my own room (I think they knew that I had cancer at that point but they didn’t say) for three days I had to wait for the biopsy results. On the Friday they told me I had cancer and let me go home an hour later. The following Friday I had to go back to have my 43 staples out. Six weeks later, once my scar had healed a bit I started radiotherapy.
Over Christmas in 2011, after the 6 weeks I had my mask fitted at the Royal Marsden ready for the radiotherapy. I had this every Monday to Friday for six weeks. My head was red raw, I lost all my hair and it was really painful having to apply the cream on the area. I then I had to go wig shopping. This was followed by an MRI scan to see if the tumour had shrunk as result of the radiotherapy. They told me it hadn’t worked and I needed to have chemo.
After two cycles I had to have 10 blood transfusions and platelet transfusions. Although it was reducing the tumour I couldn’t continue it anymore – it was killing my body. So I came off the chemo and the doctors fought for me to be granted a trial drug but the decision took about a month, all the time my life was hanging in the balance. It was
horrible to think that people that don’t know me were making a decision on my life expectancy. Luckily I was granted the money to pay for the drug and I will stay on it now for as long as it is working.
Both scans I have had since being on the drug have come back positive so I am keeping my fingers crossed that this continues. I have been a member of Teens Unite since early 2012. My social worker gave me the booklet and I joined straight away. The charity has given me the chance to meet people my own age. I feel Teens Unite are the only group about that gives us young people a chance to meet other young people with the same illness. I’ve been to cake making, pizza making, the zoo, the rehearsal for the Olympic opening ceremony, to the theatre.
The charity have helped to build my confidence up and helped me to see that I am not alone. It gives me a chance to feel the same as I used to be before diagnosis and gives me a break from what I am going through – all the medical side of the cancer. I don’t know what I would do without Teens Unite and I am there for the long run!