A man has opened up about his journey with cancer after celebrating a milestone he never thought it would be possible to reach.
A Reddit user who goes by the name ‘SilentWalrus92’ was diagnosed with a ‘very rare brain tumour‘ in 2005 when he was just 12 years old.
The father-of-two – who now currently works for the hospital that ‘saved [his] life,’ Vandebilt Hospital in Nashville – was given ‘a year or two’ to live, yet has just celebrated his 30th birthday, taking to Reddit to mark the occasion.
The Redditer was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 12. Credit: Reddit/ @SilentWalrus92
The man says he was diagnosed with pilomyxoid astrocytoma after his mum took him to the ER when he was left unable to ‘keep food down for several weeks’ where they did a CAT scan which revealed a brain tumour.
Doctors believed ‘even with surgery and treatment’ he would only live ‘a year or two more’.
The Redditer continued: “After brain surgery, I went through radiation treatment which killed the remaining tumor tissue, but resulted in me being left with mild short term memory loss.
“[…] At the time, back in 2005, doctors knew very little about the specific type of tumor I had. I was told when I was diagnosed that only three other people globally had even ever been diagnosed with a pilomyxoid astrocytoma. All of them only lived about a year or two after diagnosis.
He was given ‘a year or two’ to live. Credit: Reddit/ @SilentWalrus92
However, the father-of-two exceeded doctors’ expectations.
After going through regular MRI scans every year, he finally finished his final checkup this year upon turning 30.
“Doctors had no idea why my surgery and treatment was so successful (I only did radiation therapy, never had to do chemo, because the radiation worked),” he reflected.
Silent Walrus 92 just celebrated his 30th birthday. Credit: Reddit/ @SilentWalrus92
The father-of-two has since been left with some long-term implications from his diagnosis and treatment such as Mild Cognitive Impairment – a type of memory loss – as well as ‘stunted growth’ and ‘pretty horrible’ vision.
However, he jokes: “I also had ‘carpe Diem f**kit syndrome’ for many years following the experience. Really didn’t lose it until I got married and had kids and had something other than my own future to look forward to.
“As a teenager that just realised how young I could die, I didn’t think about or plan for my far future much. Trying to enjoy each day as much as possible, without giving much thought to how it would effect me many years later.
“If you’re 17 and realize it’s a possibility that you won’t live to turn 20, why would you spend time worrying about planning for a career or retirement? My favorite quote ended up being ‘Time you enjoy wasting is never wasted.’ and I lived by it.
“I now have two healthy kids, ages nine months and two and years old. Now, I want to live as long as possible to see them grow old. I want to eat healthy and exercise so I can play with them throughout their whole childhood. I want to see what sort of people they become.”
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, 8am–8pm seven days a week