Last time I made a blog post I mentioned my idea to make a video touring the TYA unit where I receive my treatment and about being in The Daily Express. Since then, I posted my video and it got a great response (despite me thinking it was massively cringey), and was even shared on the Teenage Cancer Trusts official website, whch toe an even bigger response with thousands of views! The newspaper article in The Daily Express also received a good response from many people messaging me about reading it and then following my blog. Not long after I was featured in The Daily Express, I was put in contact with BBC Radio Merseyside who interviewed me and then aired it last Monday (29th September) and put on iPlayer for the next month for everyone to listen to (Link will be posted on my ‘In the media’ page where the newspaper articles can also be found). All this media attention has really helped me in promoting my blog, getting it out there and reaching other teens in my situation. It’s always scary for me to think about how easily it would have been for me not to go to the doctor and with it having already spread, I think leaving it any longer I would have definitely been a write off.
Along with how busy I’ve been in the Media, I also got to experience my first Teenage Cancer Trust TYA unit outing to Chester zoo! The trip organised by my Youth Support worker Frankie who I show in my video tour of the unit and Lucy, my specialist nurse who is on the left of me in the same picture on the video both joined me with a nurse on the unit, Sarah to take 21 of us on an all-expenses paid trip to the zoo. Paul got to come with me so I was more comfortable while I got to know the other young adults on my unit and it definitely was a great day. I slowly began to deteriorate however, often finding the nearest bench to sit down and feeling sick every time I walked. I had lower back pain for just being a bit tired and breathless and ended up wanting to ask about hiring a wheelchair. I never like hiring wheelchairs as I’m always scared of people judging me but it’s really hard to explain just how tired I get walking. It’s not just me though, I know other cancer patients who need wheelchairs because they get tired easily and I know my stoma working also adds as a factor as sometimes when it hurts it can cause a bit of pain. Once I had the wheelchair however, I soon brightened up and started to enjoy the day again. Paul pushed me around just like he did in Alton Towers and I enjoyed a good day seeing the animals but most of all, interacting with other people in my situation and feeling normal if anything. Not having to answer “How you feeling?” or “How is treatment at the moment?” But instead having a laugh and taking about normal things rather than everything being health orientated, and then the stuff that is health orientated was quite often said in humour, as if people know me really well, I do tell some jokes about my cancer and laugh at myself in ways that people not going through this situation may not like (and I’m not the only one), but if I can’t laugh at the fact that I have to poop in a bag and always pull a funny face when my lips go numb in the cold, what can I do?
The day after my visit to the zoo, I had enrolment. Yep, despite my illness I have in fact decided to go back to college to do Level 3 Aviation. Now obviously this won’t be full time and my amazing tutors have said they’ll work around me in regards to taking work home and being flexible with my attendance as when on chemo, I most certainly have my bad days in which I know I wouldn’t be able to attend. I want to try and live my life normally and think about the future, and why should I put my life on hold? If I’m going to fight this horrible illness I may swell do other things to distract myself and also get a qualification that I can use when I get better to follow my dreams. I attended my enrolment Tuesday 6th September where I got my timetable and see who I’ll be spending the next two years studying with. I’m due to officially start however on Tuesday 13th September, however I’m going to Wales for 5 days from the Monday so won’t be able to go. Probably not the best way to start a course, by going on holiday, but I had my ‘last’ Chemotherapy on Wednesday 7th September and now get to look forward to a 4 week break! Yey! This doesn’t mean all is resolved however, I’m only having this break so I’m able to have a scan to see how my tumours are reacting to the Chemo – I should be resuming treatment on 5th October as long as everything with the scan is okay, and by okay, I mean the tumours have shrunk.
With everything else going on, I’ve also managed to go the cinema with Paul a few times and even managed a night out with an old friend from college, Julie. I may have spent a lot of the night complaining to Paul that I needed to sit down but I still loved being out in the party atmosphere. I’m hoping for these few weeks I have off I feel as normal as I can and fingers crossed for good scan results! Saying I’m nervous would be an understatement but what will be will be.