A cancer diagnosis affects everything in your life.
I had to move from Hertfordshire, where I was working, back home to Emsworth. That was obviously a huge upheaval. I had all sorts of plans about what I was going to do over the next few years and they’ve had to change.
For example, I’ve had to take a break from work. It’s obviously really difficult because working is a part of what it means to be an adult and independent. Work have been very supportive and they’re in constant contact – sending me kind messages, cards, little presents, things to keep me busy. So it is possible to continue living a life without working.
I’ve seen more of my friends and my family than I have done for a really long time. And you start to understand what you’re really capable of when you’re pushed to your limits –and how strong your relationships are. So the impact of cancer has not been a wholly negative experience.
I don’t know if it’s the teacher in me, but I have a few things that I now really want to share with other people. Importantly, don’t be afraid to go to the doctor if you have any suspicion at all that there might be something wrong. Since I’ve sought help, people have been so supportive. I guess I worried I was going to be judged in some way, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.
I personally have not yet had a chance to do any fundraising for Macmillan but it is something that I intend to do in the future. Many people in my support network have already done some incredible things. Mark’s Grandmother hosts an annual Coffee Morning and the last one was so successful that she raised £500 for Macmillan. Mark’s sister ran a Brutal Run for Macmillan last November.