I had an eight-hour operation to remove the cancer and a facial nerve graft from my right calf to try and repair the facial movement. But they didn’t get the margins that they wanted and there was still cancer touching the edges. So that meant I had to have radiotherapy.
I had radiotherapy at the Royal Marsden in London for 30 days. I travelled down on a Monday morning and travelled back on a Friday afternoon.
Each session of radiotherapy would last between 5 and 15 minutes. I had to wear a mask bolted down on a slab to keep me perfectly still. At the start of those sessions I felt really scared and claustrophobic. But by halfway through I was really comfortable and had got used to it, and I was allowed to have some of my own music on in the background.
When I hear the radiotherapy music again when I’m at home, it makes me feel lots of different things. Sometimes I feel really angry, sometimes I feel really lost but mostly it makes me feel incredibly strong because of what I went through.
I decided to take photos each day of my treatment, to help me remember what I had been through.
I’ve been very lucky in that my face has recovered 75% of its movement. Occasionally I don’t like seeing photographs of myself, but I think many people are like that in life. I feel that my face is my red badge of courage.
So many positive things have come out of my experience with cancer, my spirit of adventure and desire to explore, to push my limits.