Meet Jodie, diagnosed with a brain tumor, aged 14

Meet Jodie, diagnosed with a brain tumor, aged 14

I kept waking up with horrible headaches. No matter how hard I tried, they wouldn’t go away. I went to the doctors and they told me it was probably just a cold. A month later, I started vomiting every morning and then I started having double vision and dizziness.

It felt like my world was crumbling apart. I was always in pain and I kept losing weight. I decided to book another doctors appointment. This time they looked at the back of my eyes with a flashlight and I was told I needed an emergency MRI scan.

I remember the date I went for the scan – 5th February. It took 45 minutes and afterwards a doctor said “follow me”. He kept me in a different room to my mum while he spoke to her. It felt like they were talking for ages and when my mum finally walked in the room, I knew something wasn’t right as she was crying. It broke my heart. 

She then told me the devastating news. “Jodie, you have a tumour.”. I started to cry, saying “Mum, will it be ok?”.

I was rushed to St George’s hospital in an ambulance, where I was greeted by my consultant. He showed me what my tumour looked like and discussed what the plans were. He explained I needed an operation, which would be in two days’ time – I didn’t realise the impact it was going to have on my life.

That night, me and my mum listened to songs on the hospital ward. One was called ‘Feels Like Home’. On the day of the operation, I felt scared, not because of the tumour, but because I feared what I was going to look like, with the scar and the tubes in me.

After spending five weeks in St George’s Hospital, I then needed six weeks of intense radiotherapy, followed by a year of chemotherapy. I had to learn to walk again and I lost all my hair and a lot of weight – the treatment was making me ill and I lost my appetite.

The treatment was killing both my good and bad cells, so I would regularly get rushed to Croydon University Hospital for blood transfusions.

During this hard time, I lost my friends and my confidence, whilst I was suffering from the pain of my cancer treatment every day. Even my close friends drifted away and only one stayed by my side.

I felt so isolated at times – my friends didn’t really understand what was going on and I couldn’t go to mainstream school because my immune system was too low. My brother Connor became my best friend when I was in a bad place, he made me laugh with jokes and he bought me Moose, my French Bulldog, who always made me smile when I would come home from treatment. 

I finally finished my treatment in 2018.

Teens Unite have rebuilt my confidence and I’ve made new friends. They have changed my life.

During my cancer journey, I learnt not to take things for granted as no one knows what might happen. My advice is to be happy for what you have and don’t let others drag you down.

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