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I never in my wildest nightmares thought I would end up with a cancer with a fancy name I’d never heard of before at the age of 23.
We ‘affectionately’ named my Ewing’s Sarcoma (a bone stemming cancer) Blob and together we have been through a lot.
It all started with me developing the symptoms of sciatica, where you get numbness down one leg as the result of a slipped disc pressing on your sciatic nerve. When it was at its worst, I was on painkillers and anti-inflammatories to help me sleep, as sitting and particularly lying down were very painful. After two trips to the GP, two weeks of being dulled by these drugs and having around two hours sleep each night, it finally got so bad that the numbness and muscle spasms moved centrally between my legs and I was unable to urinate for around twelve hours. After a trip to A&E and a transfer to Salford Royal for an MRI scan, it was discovered that it wasn’t a naughty disc causing these problems but a naughty ‘blob’.
I started a blog (which is still ongoing) about our antics during my 8 months of treatment. This became a useful way of reflecting on what was actually happening to me, letting people know what was going on without having the embarrassing ‘sorry I haven’t spoken to you in ages, but…’ conversations, and creating a space where I could find and document advice about how to deal with everything that comes with treatment – physical and mental, good and bad. Although this was for me, I also did it in mind of other people who might benefit from looking at what I had learnt. I continue to write this blog now I am 5 months off treatment, because my time with this isn’t over. The treatment is only the beginning, after its over you still have to live with the effects of the cancer and this treatment. But this is not a scary time, I see this as an opportunity to go out and do what I want to do again and push for more exciting things. I started my PhD in January, I am seeing and socialising properly with friends again, my hair is going through all sorts of fun stages, and I am glad for all of the good things that have come out of a difficult period of my life.
Though I’m creeping out of the ‘young adult’ category, I experienced this during that part of my life and I hope to continue to find ways of letting everyone know that cancer doesn’t discriminate based on sex, race, background and most certainly not age.