A Year on From Being Diagnosed with A Brain Tumour: What I Have Learned
By Cameron Jones
So, this isn’t the usual post that is somehow related to economics, this is a bit personal to me. On the 13th of February 2020 I was diagnosed with a Grade 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma: a brain tumour. What followed was 7 weeks of radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and intensive physical therapy, followed by double-dose chemo lasting up until November. Needless to say, I have not had the best 2020 out there, and this has been a rubbish year for all of us (rubbish year is putting it mildly).
Yet, through it all, I have learnt some valuable lessons that I thought could be of some use to you, the reader, to apply in everyday life. This is not a self help book or anything like that, you can choose to ignore it, but just have a read through and see what you think.
The Value of Relationships
Firstly, the true meaning of relationships and how they can really be a crutch for you when you are feeling at your lowest. To start off with, my every relationship became about the brain tumour whether it was family, friends, or romantic relationships. As it truly sunk in, around the end of August, when the radiotherapy had lost its effect on my mental acuity, I realised the value of having a strong network of family and friends to support me. If ever I feel low, I know that I can chat to my mum or brother or any number of my friends to pick up my mood. Which gets me to my main point of this section, no matter the distance or the time that you have not spoken to someone, get in touch with them again. The value of relationships is that they are forever lasting. Instead of focussing on the negative stuff 100% of the time, focus mainly on the stuff that you got right, and that is not to say you need to be on cloud 9 all of the time, but it helps to keep things in perspective.
It Is Worth It in The End
Life is not a race, before the brain tumour I was completely set out on where I wanted to end up, I was going to get my master’s and get some job in consulting/finance in Norwich. However, with the brain tumour, all those plans were turned into chaos. As time went by, I got a year off from UEA (my university) and I realised that life is not a race, as long as you keep the end goal in sight, it doesn’t matter how you get there. Who knows how much time I have got? It could be 5 years or 50 years, but right now I am making the most of it. There isn’t a right way or a wrong way of doing things, there’s more than one way of doing a task, human nature is uncanny in finding ways around problems. As long as you keep the goal in sight, it is worth it in the end.
When I was first walking around the block with my walking stick, I could just about manage walking to the end of the road and back. I felt so disappointed in myself, but my Mum told me to go out on a walk the next day, although this time, I was walking just a little further. Mum and the rest of the family always felt proud of me, but I could not see how. Instead of feeling disappointed in myself and comparing myself to the old me, I should have tried to see myself as others see me, so I carried on. Now, I am doing 2 miles of walking, each day. It does not matter how you get to your end goal, as long as you get there, hell, take baby steps. Soon you will be running a marathon.
So, there we have it, 3 lessons that I have learned (albeit, the hard way) throughout my journey. See, I told you it would not be a self-help book! You can choose to ignore it or you can choose to adopt it, either way, I hope that it has given you food for thought and that some lesson has been learned from it. Whatever you are going through, know that there is always a way through and always someone to talk to.