Balancing Treatment and University

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I'm 21 in my second year of university and I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer not too long ago. It came as quite a shock considering I've been told it was benign for a few years and so I'm trying to come to terms with the idea that my uni life won't look the way I expected it to.

I've had my first surgery but I've recently found out I'm going to need a second one and Iodine radiation treatment and then also adjust to being on hormone replacements. Although I'm obviously grateful for having a good prognosis, I'm still finding it really stressful trying to figure out how to balance my academic and social life at university through this. Especially because I can't plan what my year or academic journey is going to look like anymore, I've got an awful underlying anxiety at the moment about everything I need to organise and sort.

I've no idea what sort of government funding I'm eligible for if I have to take this year out, or what sort of support is available to me from the uni if I take the year out too since I technically won't be an enrolled student for the year. Honestly, I'm just feeling very broke, very lost, and very overwhelmed with all the possibilities.

(I've also no idea how to handle my landlord if I have to move back home.)

I guess I'm just feeling everything at once now I know I'm going to need more treatment when I thought the first surgery would sort it. It sounds stupid but it feels so unfair when I've worked so hard to be where I am.

Any advice on how to deal with doing an interruption of studies or general university life with cancer would be greatly appreciated! I've not spoken to anyone in a similar situation as me so it would be nice to have some peer support >:) 

  • Hello.  I've seen a few of your posts now.  It's sh1t, huh.  I can understand your concerns from a mum of a second year uni student.  I suggest you book yourself an appointment with your welfare department and they should be able to provide all the options available to you, and details to help you make an informed decision.   

    I think you should get your health issues logged on your student profile.  I'm sure there will be a way to do it discreetly that it's on a need-to-know basis and not broadcast to all.  You don't have to tell them details, just that you've had a health condition diagnosed requiring a long period of treatment with potential impacts to day-to-day living, studying etc  If you need it, then you advised them at the earliest opportunity.  If you don't need it, even better.  

    Student loans have "Compelling Personal Reasons" eg bereavement, mental health issues.  Sounds like you would fall into this catergory.  Surely?

    Your course might be able to make adjustments.  Different scenario, but they did with Laura Muir.  She effectively became a part time student to allow her to juggle being an elite athlete alongside study.  Depends on what you're studying.  But definitely this is what the welfare dept is for.  I went to a couple of open days with my daughter and they "sold" the welfare dept to the parents aka "we'll look after your young adult".    Good luck.  

  • Hi, would be great to connect as I’m 24 and have thyroid cancer and I had the second surgery about 3 weeks ago so would be nice to chat and have someone who is going through the same thing!