Meet James, 16, Brain Tumour

Meet James, 16, Brain Tumour

I was sixteen and a half years old when I was told I had a brain tumour.

I lived a fairly “normal” life; spending time with friends, family and enjoying being a teenager. I enjoyed keeping fit and loved being part of the cadets. I had the aspiration of joining the Army or the Air Force when I was 18. I had just started college and just got my first proper job. Everything was slotting into place.

I started to develop headaches in early September of 2016. but I put it down to stress of having a new job. In the coming weeks, my mum also saw that I was walking slightly off-balance and wouldn’t walk straight.
 
On the 8th of October 2016, after a few A&E visits, I was found to have a brain tumour. I was oblivious at first as to what was happening. My dad was taken aside and told that I had a tumour in the back of my head. He came back over to me and told me in a quite light-hearted way that I had a small lump in my head. My family nicknamed it “Lenny The Lump.” I found in the coming weeks that my lump wasn’t so small and it needed surgery and quite a bit of treatment. It was only when I got home 2 weeks after surgery that I found a letter about cancer; it all kicked in at once and I realised just how serious this was.
 
The 18 months following my diagnosis were some of the hardest months I’ve ever had, every bit difficult in it’s own way. I had brain surgery to remove the main tumour. After I woke up I had to learn to walk and balance again which was incredibly hard. Radiotherapy was so inhumane; I was strapped to a table by a mask so they could administer the radiation accurately. It made my throat sore to the point I couldn’t eat for weeks. Chemotherapy physically and mentally drained me. My blood levels would be going up and down and my lack of immunity meant I couldn’t see my friends a lot of the time.

I am now luckily in remission and cancer free.
 
I found out about Teens Unite through my Mum. I was going through a very low stage just after treatment ended; I wasn’t going out much and I wasn’t in education or work. My mum had heard from other parents at the hospital about Teens Unite, and decided to sign me up. A few weeks later I attended my first event, and since then I’ve never looked back.
 
I cannot explain how much Teens Unite have done for me. They have built me up so much in every aspect of life. I have made so many amazing friends with Teens Unite; they have given me some of the best memories I have had!  

The events I have been on have varied so much, but what they all have in common is I’ve always felt confident and happy to be there. They gave me an incredible new bike which has been such fun to ride. Also, they helped me get into some work experience for the career I’m at college for (plumbing).  The Activity Stay was honestly one of the best weeks I’ve ever had; the feeling of freedom and confidence with everyone there was the best feeling! My favourite thing about Teens Unite is the feeling of being part of a family. Knowing I have ongoing support is one of the best feelings you can have!

Without Teens Unite I would definitely not be who I am today or where I am today.
 

 

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