This time last year, I was exactly the same as many of you reading this. A rosy-cheeked, eighteen-year-old fresher being gradually corrupted by all that Glasgow University had to offer. I prowled the disconcertingly sticky floors of The Hive, too inebriated to notice that it had already claimed both of my shoes. I insisted that my friends take a photo of me emerging from the giant stone vagina next to the Boyd Orr building on each and every occasion that I left Cheesy Pop, genuinely believing that each time was more funny than the last. I stole traffic cones, road signs and all forms of paraphernalia designed specifically for public safety.
You could say that I embodied everything that makes society look down upon students. That was until July 31st of this year, when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – cancer of the lymph nodes.
This might have acted as a convenient distraction for my parents if I had failed my exams, but I had actually achieved a set of results that were described, somewhat dismissively, as ‘satisfactory’ by Websurf.
Consequently, I had to ask the university if I could postpone my studies for a year, cancel the lease on my lovely new flat and settle back into the nest I had flown from less than a year before. Evidently, I was entirely incapable of handling the responsibility of living without my parents. They couldn’t turn their backs on me for a second without me getting childishly giddy on the power of having an overdraft, feeding my insatiable hunger for kebabs until it quite literally nearly killed me. Let the fable of ‘the fresher who partied so hard that it gave him cancer’ be a cautionary tale to all.
Facing six months of intensive chemotherapy, I saw two very different roads open up before me. One option was to collapse within myself in an implosion of self-pity, never get out of bed and eat nothing but Kettle Chips with salty tears running down my face.
The other was to embrace the situation, to go through the experience with a skip in my step and to use it as an opportunity to explore my curiosity for writing – whilst also never getting out of bed and eating nothing but Kettle Chips. This is exactly what has happened, and what brings me to our wonderful student newspaper a slightly fatter man than I was three months ago.
With this column, you have the opportunity to track my progress, thoughts and experiences as I undergo my chemotherapy and whatever other nonsense I’m subjected to – which so far seems to consist of spending an inexplicably large amount of time completely Billy Bollocks in hospital with a never-ending merry-go-round of old men gawping at my naked form.
As a synopsis, I know the diary of a teenage cancer patient may not sound like a ripping good laugh but I do aim to entertain aswell as inform. Unfortunately, I will most likely fail at both. Luckily for me, however, you can’t criticise me because I have cancer and that would make you an awful, thoughtless monster.
Until next time, take care cancer fans.