Posted on Tuesday 14 June 2022

Noah’s story: “The nurses would ask me when my boyfriend was coming in to visit and it would always give me a boost.”

Noah, from Neath in Wales, was diagnosed with testicular cancer which had spread to his stomach this year. He’s been supported throughout his cancer journey by his partner Zack. Noah’s sharing his story and their experience for Pride Month.

I first noticed something wasn’t right when I started getting pains in my back and stomach last year. I was nearing the end of college and I had been doing some more physical work on my media course and so I just put the pain down to that.

As time went on, the pain got worse, to the point when around Christmas time my stomach would hurt if I was yawning, and so I went to the doctors.

It took time for me to be referred for scans, but I finally received a diagnosis at the end of February this year when they told me it was cancer. I was diagnosed with testicular cancer and was told it had spread to my stomach.

Noah with his partner Zack

To be honest I never would have thought it was cancer, I just thought I needed to exercise more. I wasn’t too worried to begin with and so when they said it was cancer I was so taken aback that I didn’t know how to react and said something like ‘right, that’s awesome, that’s happening then’.

The diagnosis and news didn’t properly settle in until I started treatment. Firstly I had chemotherapy and now I’m waiting for a scan for what surgery I will need next. In comparison to what I’ve heard other people go through, I’ve not had too many side effects or been too sickly. It was difficult when I lost my hair, and when I look at myself it was hard to see what I looked like in the mirror. But I am getting there with it and I am coping a bit better now. Some days have been rough and difficult but others have been better.

I first met my Young Lives vs Cancer social worker Rachel when I was diagnosed. She has helped me with a lot of financial support and signposting me to other help from charities like Maggie’s too. I was also able to get wigs which although aren’t the same as my hair, have helped make me feel better. She has been brilliant and just been there for me.

Initially in hospital I was told I wasn’t allowed visitors due to restrictions. But I had a bad reaction to my treatment and so they allowed me two visitors and my boyfriend Zack came to visit. It was really difficult when I didn’t have visitors, it was just hard only being on the phone. Sometimes you just want and need your family.

Just before I was diagnosed I was working at a cinema. They’ve been so supportive, as have my college and I’m so glad I have a job to go back to. With college I tried to finish my work and keep going whilst I was having treatment. But around my second week in hospital I couldn’t keep going, it was too draining.

My mental state before I was diagnosed wasn’t the best to begin with – and it’s got a lot worse since. I find it difficult most days to do things because I feel useless. I can’t stand for too long or walk long distances in case my heart beats too fast. I just feel kinda helpless. All I can do is just sit down and other people have to do things for me.

When I was diagnosed, it took everyone by surprise. My family and friends have all been brilliant and everyone has come together to support me and my partner. I’m so lucky to have the support of two families.

My partner Zack and I met in our first year of college five years ago.

Zack is trans and everyone at the hospital was so welcoming and fantastic. If someone in hospital addressed Zack as female, they would correct themselves. The nurses would ask me when my boyfriend was coming in to visit and it would always give me a boost.

It was a massive thing for Zack to be there with me and for him to be respected. A lot of people address him as female and just having him addressed as male was a massive confidence boost for us both.

We were hoping to go to Pride this year but I’m disappointed I can’t go as I can’t walk very far.

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