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  • Matthew
  • 6th Nov. 2019

I don't have cancer do I Mum?

I was diagnosed with a brain tumor just three days after my 15th birthday. I’d been back and forth from my GP six or seven times with different medications before being referred to the hospital.  I arrived at 7pm, and by 10pm I was hooked onto machines in the intensive care unit and being prepared for neurosurgery  after a CT scan found a mass in the middle of my brain causing a build-up of fluid and increased pressure in the brain. My parents sat tight near me, heartbroken by the news.

Everything happened so quickly. I was an up and coming rugby league player, hopeful to be signed to a professional club later that year. I had an agency waiting for me, a team ready to be captained and a dream to be fulfilled.

In the beginning I didn’t believe I had a serious illness and that this could possibly set me back. When the doctor said I would need to go through chemotherapy, I asked my Mum “I don’t have cancer do I Mum?” hoping she would say otherwise. That’s when it truly hit me, that my life had quite literally been turned upside down.

CanTeen made things a lot easier for me because I thought that I was alone and no one else understood what I was going through. I believed society, my friends and my family saw me as a sick patient to feel sorry for, so I felt displaced. But being around the young people and youth workers at CanTeen and being able to be openly speak about cancer and feel normal was the best feeling in the world. The biggest lesson was probably that as much as you think you are, you’re never alone!

The people that had experienced the same challenges as me helped me get back on my feet. The connections I made and the genuine care I experienced warmed my heart – even still to this day.

CanTeen provided me so much development as a person. They gave me courage to get up again and keep fighting.