Vivek on friends and family

Vivek with his Gran
Vivek with his Gran

After Vivek was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2006 he found that many of his friends stopped keeping in contact. This put into perspective who his real friends were and who really cared about him.

One of Vivek’s friends kindly drove him to radiotherapy every day, ‘I owe him a great deal of gratitude, without him I really think I wouldn’t have been able to cope.’

Vivek's story

I’m very independent, but even as an independent person you still need help. I had a very good friend who picked me up and drove me into central London every single day for my radiotherapy, and then he dropped me back and went to work. I owe him a great deal of gratitude. Without him I really think I wouldn’t have been able to cope.

I also had support from my Gran. She’s led a very hard life but is always smiling and finds pleasure in the smallest things. Some of my best qualities have come from her and she definitely deserves a lot of credit for brightening up people's lives.

I did have quite a few people come to visit.  A lot of people who I expected to be there didn’t turn up and I didn’t even hear from them, whereas a few people who I didn’t expect to turn up did turn up – and that helped me realise who my core group of friends are.

To be honest, I’m glad I’ve been through this because I feel so much luckier that I’ve got a core group of people that I actually care about and who really care about me. I know that I can depend on them any time I want.

I didn’t think I’d missed out on things at the time but now, because the overall recovery took so long, I realise that my friends have sort of moved on and they’re doing different things to me.

Quite often it’s the people who think they’re the most independent that are the most vulnerable or that need the most help. It was only once I started getting help from Macmillan that I realised, actually, I’m not as independent or as well balanced in my own head as I thought I was.

Macmillan were a great help to me. I had Macmillan nurses and they supported me. It is good to speak to people who really know what is happening. My friends just didn’t know about cancer back then, but now they have more of an idea.

Having cancer puts things in perspective. I thought I had a lot of friends, but then they are not all there for you in the hard times. So now I only surround myself with the people who would be there for me. I appreciate the little things and am enjoying life.

Watch: all about Vivek's experiences