Teenage Cancer Trust Stories: Chloe

Teenage Cancer Trust Stories: Chloe

Chloe shared her story of being treated on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit, Dr.PAWPAW's official charity partner, and offers a glimpse into the remarkable support system that surrounded her during this challenging chapter of her life.

Chloe (23), from Bury St Edmonds, was 21 when she was diagnosed with germ cell tumour of her left ovary in May 2018. She was treated on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. 

Chloe said: “I had a really bad stomach ache one day, but I didn’t think anything of it. I’ve had IBS since I was six-months-old, so having stomach ache was nothing new for me. I stopped opening my bowels and I was given different laxatives to try. Nothing was happening and after 18 days of me not going to the toilet, the doctor sent me to the hospital. 

“When they told me it was a germ cell tumour of my left ovary I didn’t know how to react or what to think. I just didn’t see it coming at all. My mum froze then cried and I just sat there. I had surgery two days later. I was given the all clear but then two months afterwards I was getting really bad stomach pains and they did a CT scan and found the cancer was back. I started chemo two days later. It was then that I actually thought about the fact that I had cancer, it hadn’t sunk in when I had the operation. I thought: ‘This is real’. 

“I’d been told that I would be staying as an inpatient at the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital for about five days and I didn’t really know what to expect when I first walked in. 

“I was met by all of these lovely nurses who showed me to my room and helped me settle in. It was really nice, and they helped me feel at ease, comfortable and welcome. They see people like me every day, which was reassuring, and I knew that I wasn’t alone in this. They gave me so much time and compassion during my treatment.

“The Youth Support Coordinator Amy was lovely. She was a really good support. She’d come in most days and sit and have a chat. It didn’t have to be anything cancer related. We just sat and got to know each other. It was really helpful to have someone to talk to whenever I needed.

“When she left, Kyle started in the role and he has been very friendly, welcoming and approachable. He’s fun but can be serious when you need someone to chat to. He messages me to see how I am getting on and invites me along to social events.

“The Teenage Cancer Trust social room is really good, and I met other young people there. It’s a nice change of scenery and it was a good place to go when I had visitors as it was cheery.

“I expected to be a lot sicker on my chemo as I’m quite a sickly person, but it wasn’t too bad. I did lose my hair though and I lost my confidence. I had to have high dose chemo at a different hospital because the type of drugs I needed weren’t available at Addenbrooke’s, and then a stem cell transplant in March 2019.

“The Teenage Cancer Trust has been a massive support to me throughout my treatment and I don’t know what I would have done without them as having cancer is a traumatic experience. 

“Even now that I am in remission, they are still there for me. I had depression and had come off my medication a month before being diagnosed. Afterwards I felt like I was back to square one and I really struggled with my mental health. Teenage Cancer Trust sorted out counselling and wrote a letter to my GP so they could help too. 

“I also go along to a post-treatment support group at the unit and it’s really important. There are other young people there who have had cancer and know how you are feeling. We don’t necessarily always talk about cancer and sometimes we chat about everyday things, but we can also talk about anything that is worrying us post-treatment. It’s nice to chat to people who know what I have been through as we can support each other. Your friends and family have watched you go through it, so they know to a certain extent, but they haven’t been through it themselves. 

“I went back to work recently as a business administrator in a care home. I’m back on a phased return after having 17 months off. It was nice to have some normality back. I’m getting my life back on track and starting to do the things I did before like going to meals with my friends. I couldn’t do that before as I spent a lot of time in hospital.”

Every day, seven young people aged 13-24 hear the words "you have cancer". Your support can make sure they get the nursing care and support they need, through their cancer treatment and beyond.

To support the Teenage Cancer Trust, click here.


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