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Real Stories

Josh: I didn’t realise what I was being like due to cancer

The diagnosis was a very sad and stressful time for myself, my family, and all my close friends. I really didn’t know what to expect.

Josh was only sixteen when he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Burkitt’s Lymphoma. He wasn’t prepared for how cancer would change him, both physically and mentally.

I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Burkitt’s Lymphoma when I was 16 years old. The diagnosis was a very sad and stressful time for myself, my family, and all my close friends. I really didn’t know what to expect.

My treatment consisted of six treatments, which were spaced out over a six-month period. I would be in treatment for a week in hospital then I’d be taken out for 3 weeks where I would recover from treatment.

I didn’t actually realise what I was being like – there were some certain drugs that made me quite tired, quite angry and upset and I certainly didn’t realise what was going on, but my family certainly had to pay the consequences for that trying to manage me during that time, which I am certainly very grateful for the way that they did.

My platelets and my white blood count was low, and the doctor advised me not to do anything – like ride my motorbike. I remember riding down a dirt track one day, and I fell off, and grazed the right side of my arm. The doctors certainly weren’t very happy when they found that out.

It was scary and daunting with all the drugs. There were also a lot of other complications along the way. I had an appendicitis during one of my chemo treatments, which kept me in for longer.
~ Josh

My family pushed a lot of things in their lives aside to cater for me, which was just incredible.

Mum took time off work so she could come in and spend pretty much every day with me and take care of me, especially when I was at home for the periods when I was bed bound and when I was feeling quite sick and couldn’t get out of bed.

Dad still had to work. I didn’t really see him an awful lot, but he still came in after he finished work to the hospital.

He works very, very hard and the fact that he used to come in and see me after being at work all day and stay for a few hours was really, really nice of him.

I found out that I was always quite emotional, something that was never one of my traits.

That was certainly a bit of a shock to be feeling certain emotions that I wasn’t used to. That’s where certain counsellors were really, really helpful to come in and talk to me and work through things like that.

Also, with other people, when they found out when I was sick, a lot of them didn’t know how to respond. I certainly didn’t hear from a few people during that period of time just because they didn’t know how to handle the information, which was quite hard not hearing from people I was  close to. I guess cancer does funny things to people and it’s not something that you can expect most people to really understand and how to act. I guess it’s something that doesn’t happen all that often. I certainly can’t blame them for that.

When I was told I was in remission I just wanted to call people as quickly as I could to tell them that everything was all OK. It was just a huge weight off my shoulders.

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