Ethans Story

Testicular cancer

My name is Ethan McLaughlin, I am a final year 21 year old International Politics and Conflict Studies Student. I am originally from Birmingham but for the last couple of years I have happily spent a lot of my time in Belfast in addition to s short 6 month stint in Warsaw as an Erasmus Student. There is not much for me to say about myself apart from I am a young man in a year six month relationship with my girlfriend who I meet at university and we were both looking forward to finishing off our degrees together this year.

But as of the 30th of March 2016, that dream changed.

After a few weeks of being concerned about the fact my right testcile had become hard and was beginning to enlarge, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer.  Since that point it has been a mixture of a waiting game, and trying to plan sensibility so that when on April 20th I received my formal diagnosis.

Whilst the wait from April 1 to April 20th was often frustrating, when you have a life in another city, often finding reasons to leave the house can be difficult and the feeling of boredom is hard to live with.  Dealing with the NHS machine in Birmingham, But taking that opportunity before I understood when if any my treatment needed to be, to continue to plan to be able to live my life as normal is something that had to be done. But it also gave me something to do.

Because thankfully with this diagnosis you are not going to die so, which means everyday just becomes a day closer to being able to go back to reality, and when reality comes I have tried to put my self in the position to be able to grab on with both hand.  In addition unfortunately I have had to begin to look at life and my future more seriously. Having a conversation with your girlfriend about children age 21, so not something I ever wanted to have, but you have to adjust.

My preparation for all eventualities meant that when the news came and chemotherapy was a must, it did not end my world. Because I had prepared myself mentally and officially in my emails to my university etc, for this world. I still and probably will never get over the feeling of having a key part of my life, being pulled away from me before my time.  But in some ways and in some way to help me deal with it better, I am glad this took place at this point in my life and not when I am older and having a family to rely on me.

I might not be able to have the chance to live out my university undergradute life, as I wanted rather than getting 5 months of living together with my girlfriend together for the first time I got a month and a final week which is the time I am writing this piece.   Very few people will finish their degree having only spent a month at their home university. But when you have cancer, things aren’t meant to go as you planned. That’s why cancer is what it is .