What I’ve Learned

On Friday I will have been living at Kingston Hospital for 4 weeks but the funny thing is, it feels like I arrived just yesterday. These last weeks have been a whirlwind and have flown past without registering in my mind. But still I am aware of the many things I’ve learned since 8th August. I thought I’d go through them in this post.

  1. That you never know how you’ll react to Cancer until you’ve got it

I’d often times considered how I might approach Cancer before I was diagnosed. It was one of those mid-afternoon sorts of day dreams where you ponder the possibilities. It’s not something you think you’ll ever have to consider for real though because it’s always someone else who gets ill isn’t it? And then, when you’re hit with it in reality it’s surprising what goes through your mind. And then you just sort of get on with it. At least that’s what I’m doing. Living my life as normally as I can (considering I haven’t been outside in 4 weeks – no fresh air for me). It’s just another hoop for me to jump through (like my A Levels) before I can start doing what I want to do. And that’s how I’ve looked at it. Just another step on the ladder.

  1. That CT scans make you feel really weird

They inject you with this fluid to make all your organs show up on the scan. So just before they give it to you they warn you by saying “now this may make you feel like you’re having a hot flush and make you feel as if you’ve ‘passed water’ when you haven’t”. Like no joke, they inject it, you feel really really hot all over and then you’ve feel like you’ve pissed your pants, but you haven’t. It’s the weirdest sensation in the world.

  1. That Nurses are easier to talk to and understand than Doctors

Now I’m not saying that Nurses know more than Doctors when it comes to all the medical stuff but they’re certainly better at explaining things. Most of the day I spend in the company of Nurses but I also get one daily visit from my Doctor. And they don’t have a lot to say to be honest. Maybe this is because I’ve already started treatment and it’s just a process of getting it done plus the fact that I’ve got nothing new to tell them, but what they do is just stand there and smile and you go ‘yeah everything’s good’ and they say ‘good, good’. And that’s it. They then look at my wall for a bit, admiring all my cards and pictures before taking about 5 whole minutes to walk to the door and actually leave the room having said ‘goodbye’ about 10 times. Now don’t get me wrong, the Doctors are lovely, really lovely (bless their hearts) but let’s face it, they’re obsessed with medicine not the niceties of small talk.  Now the Nurses are a whole other story. They’re chatty and jovial. They laugh with me and talk to me for hours (slight exaggeration) about this and that. And they know their shit. They tell me all about platelets and transfusions. They take my blood and they’re efficient and professional whilst also being about some of the kindest and best people I’ve ever met. I have so much respect for them it’s unreal. And to be truly honest, if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be coping with this stuff half as well as I am.

  1. That craving hot dogs is not a side effect of chemo

Cause trust me, I’ve asked. Turns out, it’s just me.

  1. That there’s only so many times I can cope with the question; ‘are you okay?’

I’ve had it asked me many times in the last 4 weeks, and I get it, I really do. It’s nice to know so many people care about me. It really is. But when I’m sitting in my room and I’ve got 5 members of my family all watching my every move and I’m getting asked that question every 5 minutes, well it kind of makes me want to rip my head off. I’m fine. I’d tell you if I wasn’t. I promise. It’s gotten so bad that now I’ve been infected by it and have started asking my mum the same thing every evening. Mostly because I’m worried that I’m keeping her here in this hospital with me and that she hasn’t slept in her own bed for over three weeks. But she’s assured me that’s it’s no problem however much I might continue to worry about this.

  1. That my sister is going to make the best mother in the world

She has been a jewel to me in the past weeks. So much so that I haven’t seen her face to face in the last two days and I’m having withdrawal symptoms. We’ve spent many a time in the hospital room together watching such classics as The Sound of Music and High School Musical. I’m so desperate to get her back in here with me that I’ve purchased Mrs Doubtfire and Mary Poppins to add to our watch list. Anything I needed she got for me. This included going to buy me sport bras in M&S and having to endure, each time, the cashier asking if she’d tried them on first (I’m a little bustier than she is – sorry farls). Another time she had to put up with being mistaken by one of the nurses for my best friend and therefore 18, yeah she’s 27 on Saturday – awkward. She’s been so strong and supportive to me, I honestly can’t get over it. Now I know she’s not ready to have kids yet (better get hitched first), but when it’s time, she’s going to be one badass mum.

  1. That my brother is in fact human

Yes Fred, I mistook you for some sort of creature all this time (and sometimes I still question this), but you’ve proved to me that you’re a very supportive and caring human being, and yes we can build the Lego Aircraft Carrier. You’re right, it needs to be done.

  1. That the mind is stronger than anything

A positive attitude does wonders for your health and can help you beat anything. If you believe it hard enough, you can do it. Willing something away won’t make it disappear but being strong enough to confront an illness head on and refuse to let it eat away at you will not only help you heal but it makes you a stronger person for it. I’ve never felt mentally stronger. The world is my oyster. I believe it. I will make it happen. And when I come out the other side of this, it will be down to what I’ve done. Me. (bit egotistical, but if I can’t be like that now, when can I be?)

  1. That for the first time ever, I’m not scared of the future

I’ve always been worried about my future. Worried about it beginning. About me stepping into the film industry and falling on my face. But I’m not scared anymore. I’m ready. I’m ready to get out there and get my name out there. I’m ready to start making films and to start learning. I want to learn so badly. They say you never appreciate what you have till it’s gone. I was so scared of going to Uni but now that it’s been delayed a while, I’m ready to go. In some ways, I’m lucky that my eyes have been opened by having cancer. I’ve been told, ‘stop worrying so much and just start living, start experiencing every moment and start being the person you’ve always wanted to be’. But the thing is, I’m not going to wait to do that until I’m out of here. Oh no, I’m going to start right now. And THAT is going to get me through this.

Foles got me a hat from Edinburgh. Fit.

Foles got me a hat from Edinburgh. Fit.


Another day feeling like a boss – actually must watch that lonely island video again soon


7 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned

  1. Hi my name is Sharon and I am Gary Barnett’s sister. I have been reading your blogs and you are really inspirational and positive. Stay strong. Sending you big hugs and please tell your Mum and Dad I send my love x


  2. Reading this is just like having you in class again! I love the ‘What did you do in your gap year comment?’

    Lots and lots of love, Mrs B

    PS I once gave a platelet donation. They wire you up to a cell separator and take out a pint of blood, whiz it round until all the cells separate into their different layers, take off the platelets and then pump back the remainder. They do this about 8 times until you can’t cope with the anticoagulants they’ve had to include. The most curious thing was that as the blood was centrifuged I could feel my entire circulation vibrating. A really weird sensation.


  3. Hey! My name is Belle, one of my friends Lucy linked your blog on her facebook, and I have to say I love it!!! Your humour, your style of writing, the readability and I think your posts’ are just fabulous!! Keep writing and I can’t wait to keep reading 🙂 x


  4. Another beautiful piece of writing and a reminder to us all not to wait for some arbitrary event but to live every moment to the full. Thanks for sharing your journey to the you that you have always wanted to be…


  5. As a musician, i feel a huge emotional connection to a lot of my music, some of this stuff got me through some rough shit, hope it helps cheer you up 🙂

    Harder than you think public enemy
    Do i wanna know arctic monkeys
    Ritz to rubble
    Iron man black sabbath
    Kick that dirt off your shoulders
    Little lion man mumford and sons
    Till kingdom come coldplay
    Aint gonna lose you brett dennen
    Gregory alan isakov that moon song
    Gregory alan isakov virginia may
    Better off now trent dabbs
    Good girls chris cab (not the remake featuring big sean, the origonal is wayyyy better)
    No angels bastille ft ella
    Josh savage imprint
    Jhene aiko the worst
    Last call dilba
    Sax fifth avenue flow traum diggs
    Refill elle varner
    Eventually pink
    Lay me down sam smith
    Sam smith stay with me
    Mumford and sons the cave
    Mumford and sons sigh no more
    Soldier on temper trap
    Dub fx soothe your pain
    Jason mraz i wont give up
    Django too old to die young
    No diggity (the sound you need version)
    Search “The sound you need”, simply the best youtube channel ever!!
    Woodkid iron

    And of course, either version of stronger (kelly clarkson and kanye west)

    What doesnt kill you makes you stronger 🙂

    Much love floss!


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