Each day after my radiotherapy treatment, we’d go back out into the waiting area, pick up whoever had come with us that day and would head straight to the canteen. Being on steroids made me constantly hungry and I remember one of my Mum’s friends saying that they noticed me cheering up as soon as I got some food in my hands. Because I was on steroids, I was eating quite a lot, a lot more than I usually would have. As I was a fussy eater at the time, my Mum would often pack me up a lunch. Throughout the treatment I think I just got hungrier and hungrier. I would have a lunch comprising of a sandwich, a packet of crisps, a piece of my Grandma’s cake, a bit of fruit and a chocolate bar. However, this wasn’t always enough, I’d sometimes have an ice lolly from the canteen and perhaps a pudding or more chocolate. I felt like I was Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, in the scene where they first go into the room where everything is made of chocolate and sweets. Sometimes after eating all of that I still had room for more and Mum used to tell me that I had had enough! Mum’s friend Alison used to laugh at the amount I had just eaten, she couldn’t believe that I could fit all of it into my stomach!
I’d then usually have something else booked in for that day, it seemed like we could never go straight home. I would either have to go and have a physiotherapy session, have yet another blood test or go see one of my doctors. After that however, finally we could make our way back home, but first there was a stop off at the little hospital shop. At the end of every day we treated ourselves to a little snack, a chocolate bar or a packet of sweets. It was nice because we were giving something back to the hospital and we always popped a few extra coins into the collection point at the till.
When we got home, I would be back on the sofa straight away, no matter what time we got home, my Mum would set to making the family dinner, unfortunately my Dad never learned to cook, however my little brother had taught himself and often did his own dinner to help out Mum. I had to eat my dinner on the sofa lying down as I couldn’t sit up at the dinner table. It always felt sad to not eat with everyone else and I felt sorry for Mum, delaying her own dinner to help me eat mine. After a while we found that ‘stabbable’ food was the best for me to have, i.e. chicken nuggets, chips etc. Okay so it wasn’t the healthiest of food to have, but not being able to use a knife or fork properly made it hard to have stuff such as peas, so therefore that’s what I had, things that I could stab and put straight into my mouth.
On the day before my 18th Birthday, it was suggested that I try and sit up at the dinner table, so that I could have my birthday tea with my family. The dinner was still stabbable but I was sitting at a table again. Something that we all take for granted, this was so special to me knowing I could eat together with my family again and on my birthday I did just that!