I was your average 21-year-old, girlfriend, healthy lifestyle involved in stock car racing every weekend and doing what an average 21-year-old would do.
I noticed a lump on my left testicle but chose to ignore it for a few days as I thought it was nothing and would just pass. A few days later my girlfriend noticed something also at this point she insisted that I must go to the doctor. Without the persistence of her I’m unsure I would have gone.
I booked a doctor’s appointment online as I was nervous and didn’t want to tell the receptionist I had a lump on my testicle, I went to the doctors on the Friday (June) only to find out I had booked the doctor’s appointment for the September, although the receptionist had seen what I had put on the form and got me an appointment straight away.
I saw the doctor and expressed my concern in which he explained it would probably be just a cyst but would check anyway. The doctor went on to do an examination and was concerned so decided to refer me to Tameside hospital where I saw an oncologist the following Thursday.
The oncologist examined me and assured me “good news it’s not cancer” in which I had a gut feeling that I didn’t believe him. I told the oncologist I didn’t believe him and would like a second opinion then at my request the oncologist arranged an ultrasound on Sunday.
That night I came away with different thoughts and sat down with my mum and told her “I think it is cancer”, I didn’t know at this point but my gut was telling me that it was. We had a chat and I told her I was going to kick its ass and that’s the way I wanted to deal with it.
I attended the ultra sound with my mum, whilst she waited in the waiting room I went in and I asked the technician all sorts of questions and what he was looking at so I could try and understand it too, once he completed the scan he then talked through what he found and explained to my mum (who is a nurse) in medical terms.
After this my mum went away and spoke to some people she knew in the medical world and I got an appointment at The Christie the following Wednesday. I went on to do more scans and tests, they sat me in the room, with my mum and dad and this was the point they told me I have cancer. They wanted to operate on me as soon as possible although they said the next day was probably too soon so they will be doing it on Thursday 9th July 2015.
On the day of the 9th I was tense and nervous but excited as I felt this journey would end in the way in which I would no longer have cancer but open a new door as I could use my experience to meet new people and new experiences, once I came around after the anaesthetic I was very sleepy but determined to go home as soon as possible (I now realise I should have stayed in overnight) but wanted to prove to myself and everyone else I hadn’t been beaten!
It was at this point that I received overwhelming support from the racing community through Facebook and letters through the post. Although I was very determined to get back to ‘normal’ and get back into racing, I soon realised that maybe I couldn’t go back as soon as I’d thought. This was the biggest struggle for me as I couldn’t do things straight away and as well as I could before cancer, especially not being able to race.
I was riding a wave for a few months but eventually that wave crashed and with a huge help from family and people at the Christie I managed to pick my feet up and turn my experience back into something positive which I wanted to do from the very day of starting this rollercoaster.
I set about getting in touch with various cancer charities and became a CRUK ambassador, in which I have had some amazing experiences and met some people of all ages that have gone through similar experiences.
When I had my first operation I was asked if I would like a prosthetic, but unfortunately they didn’t have time to get one for me. So, I was told once my scar tissue had recovered enough I could have one put in. This happened 12 months after my first operation. I felt for me this would be a closure of my treatment.
As I sit here writing this 16 month after being told I had cancer I am finally preparing myself for getting back into my stock-car and preparing for next year’s full season. Its only now I realize at how important racing is to me and my life. Racing was one of my biggest drive to get back to full health and not just to bow out without one last shot.
Although I’ve had a bit of a rollercoaster ride, Cancer has opened new doors and a chance to meet new people and given me a purpose to which I feel is to promote the education and awareness of a cancer that I have had but before I had never known anything about.
It’s now I would like to thank the people who have helped me and are still helping me though this small hurdle and would like to thank Jack at BaggyTrousersUK for encouraging me to write this.
If I didn’t have the support from my girlfriend, my family and racing I wouldn’t have got checked so soon.
My story could have ended differently, but thanks to quick acting I managed to kick cancer in the ass.