I recently met Greig Trout who is a double Cancer Survivor and was inspired by his outlook on life. We got to talking and he told me about some of the amazing things he has been doing and I knew I had to get him to guest post. To see some of the amazing things he is doing to live his life to the fullest, check out his website: www.101thingstodowhenyousurvive.com and follow him on Twitter. Below is a story of how he turned his second bout of cancer to something positive.
So it's all about positivity they tell me! I totally agree but how the hell do you stay positive when you don't see a future for yourself? This is how I felt as a 30 year old after recovering from my second bout with cancer. My thoughts mainly revolved around the fact that I'd had cancer twice, I now had one kidney, most of my bowel removed and my main vein that takes blood back to my heart was blocked! I was 30 years old and cancer had tried everything within its power to finish me off!
As a result of all this I suffered with Post Traumatic stress disorder which was something that I had no idea about. I diagnosed myself as an ungrateful crazy person because here I was better but thinking about cancer every moment of every day. 'When will it come back?' was the question permanently in my head. Wasn't I supposed to be this super grateful, positive, inspirational person now who said things like "cancer was the best thing ever to happen to me" like I'd read in so many cancer survivor story books.
The long and short of it was that I wasn't. The Post Traumatic stress disorder had taken over my life. I was severely anxious all the time. So much so I developed eczema all over my face and body and suffered from insomnia. I'd lie awake all night just thinking about cancer and then have to go to my job as a crime scene examiner with the Metropolitan police and do a 9 hour shift. I soon became someone who didn't even want to go out of the house as I hated people saying how tired I looked. I associated tiredness with being ill so comments about how crap I looked didn't help reduce the anxiety. I tried all sorts of therapy and even tried anti depressants. Nothing seemed to help. Eventually my relationship with my girlfriend came to an end and it was then I knew I had to sort myself out. I was no longer positive fun loving Greig.
My brother was really concerned about me and told me to go and see the world. He said I could live with him and his wife and save some money up to go away.
Not long after the break up of my relationship I had my two year all clear at the hospital. It was whilst standing waiting for my appointment that I thought that wouldn't it be great to take all the people who were still ill in the world with me on my trip. It was then that 101 Things to do when you survive was born. I decided I would film myself traveling the world showing others that 1) They can survive cancer and 2) give them ideas of things to be excited about doing in the future.
The more I planned my trip the better I felt. I started to get excited about the future again. For the past 2 years I didn't see a future for myself so to be getting excited about the future was the most wonderful feeling in the world. After a few months my eczema started to clear up and I started to sleep again. Slowly but surely I was changing back to the Greig of old. The more I told people about my plans the easier it became to tell my story.
After a few months I suddenly had Bear Grylls, sponsors and a web company agreeing to build my website. People just seemed to get what I was doing and why I was doing it.
A website designed to inspire others to believe they can survive! Just planning this trip cured me of my PTSD and started to make me feel alive again. If I could get someone receiving chemo in a hospital bed to feel excited about the future and take them away from their daily hell for just 10 seconds then the website would have done its job.
I hate the thought of people feeling like I did. I want them to know they can get better and go on and do something amazing no matter what body parts they have missing!
Will I ever say that cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me...No!! It has led me to this amazing adventure but I would rather not have been through the pain and worry and least of all put my family through it as well.
All I want to do now is be healthy and help others. In my mind I have every single person who is living through cancer making a list of things they want to do WHEN they survive!
In the words of Robin Williams character in the film Good Will Hunting....
"you'll go through hard times but they always wake you up to the good stuff you weren't paying attention too"
Believe in getting better and start making your list!
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