I've just come home from a weekend in Nottingham at Center Parcs with the Teenage Cancer Trust. Basically, they do an annual conference called 'Find Your Sense of Tumour' (I know, right?) for teenagers over the UK to get together and attend various conferences and partake in various activities. Now, I have no idea what I expected, but definitely not how it was. Spending a weekend with people you don't know, in a confined area, talking about cancer. Doesn't sound too thrilling. And then I got there.
Each day consisted of breakfast, conferences from 9-4, free time and evening meals and discos. The conferences varied from talks from different people with different experiences and a talk from Hardeep Singh Kohli to an inspirational speech from Sean Swarner - the first ever cancer survivor to climb Everest and a question and answer session with a pannel of consultants, experts and GPs. To say the least, they were all surprisingly entertaining whilst still informative.
Meeting other people going through exactly what you have is so, unbelievably reassuring. You're always told "don't worry. that's normal. everyone in this position goes through that." But you never really believe it. Being handed the opportunity to share experiences of treatment, side effects and how it affects friendships, social lives and you're state of emotion reassures you that, in reality, everyone else actually is going through what you're going through.
|Hodgkins Girls EYYY|
Not only did I come away from the weekend tired and inspired, I came back with a lot of new friends, reassurance that I'm 'normal' (for a cancer survivor anyway) and with expanded tumour humour (the ability to laugh and make jokes about cancer, and , obviously, tumours.) So I'm pleased to announce, officially, that I did indeed find my 'sense of tumour' (Which my friend and I decided was a Fabergé Egg) and I am now extremely comfortable in my new senses.
For further information, you can watch the conferences online at www.jimmyteens.tv (I strongly recommend Sean Swarner's when it's uploaded.)