Life, Right

Photo: James Aitcheson

Ethan McLaughlin

This post originally featured on Ethan’s blog, at

So in order for me to get out the house and to give my parents some peace and quiet, I headed to London for a couple of days. So the first thing I did once I got into town was take a Trip to LSE, after grabbing a coffee with my uncle who works around Victoria station. In my field, outside of you know who, LSE is the next big thing and I wanted to see what might have been (I didn’t apply and wouldn’t have got in, but it’s nice to dream… right?).

Overall, I have to say, very underwhelmed. Everyone is different and being conditioned to Queens Campus, I have never been a fan of city universities.

Being able to travel and see things is something I will always be grateful for having the time and the opportunity to do. But I definitely think this time, more than anything, my podcasts don’t quite feel like the company they used to.

That is the sad, but I guess, pretty obvious thing about this disease, that in this dead time before treatment begins, I am very much in a weird state of suspended animation. Everyone’s lives continue around me whilst I wake up wondering where and how I am going to fill them. But, that suspention will come to an end.

So it’s day two and the main aim for my trip was to see the Olympic park. After an hour from South to East London, I made it and it was really quite something. If you can, come down to the capital and see the amazing facilities that they have down here. After a few museums, I head round to my girlfriend’s sister’s house, for a lovely risotto, and to be reminded why people need to live with five other people, In a house meant for four. (If you haven’t guessed, it’s rent prices).

This has been a really fun and has actually allowed me to get a fair amount sleep, which I didn’t expect. Thank you to Annettee, John, Alex, Clive, Christaine, James and Isobel for keeping me company. I am writing this on Friday morning, to some extent just counting the hours, until my phone rings and the next 6 month of my life is determined. So, yes, a little bit nervous, but trying to make myself mentally prepared for anything.

The weird thing, is how paranoid you become. Every little thing that you noticed beforehand, symptoms, small changes, is a possiblility that it isn’t gone. Also, unfortunately, I have another issue I need to get resolved. I realised last night that I have had a prosthetic testicle which replaced my removed on. I never asked for one and certainly did not sign anything which could in any way suggest or imply that I wanted one.

I guess I was a bit stupid to expect everything to go smoothly. When you are as unlucky as I am, it’s not going to be a one-time thing. So its 9:30 and they have probably only got into work, but I am going to be looking at my phone every minute for the rest of the day. Main part of today was lunch in the Tottenham Court road area, with a very old family friend who I have known since I was born. It was a really nice lunch, mainly because it was good to hear from someone who seemed to have it all together. Yes, my days are a bit s!*@ at the moment but it doesn’t mean I can’t be happy for her. The rest of the day, until my 5pm bus, was spent above ground hoping and praying for that phone call.

It is 22:52 pm, and I have just made it home after what should have been a three hour journey, which turned into five. I am also coming back still waiting for a phone call that never came. Today was that day for me. It’s difficult to describe how emotionally draining it is to need closure, to believe that it is coming, and for that to never come through.

To know you have something in your body which you never wanted and could cause some nasty side effects, doesn’t help you drift off at night. But I will have no idea about my results, no idea about why I have something I didn’t want in my body, until Monday. Life is very good to me, so today I feel like I got what was coming to me. Karma.

This morning, rather than just sit and wait for the time to pass by, I was out and campaigning for the stay-in campaign in Birmingham. This might sound like an odd thing to do, considering the circumstances. But as more time passes, the simple fact is that I am not going to die, or at least, fingers crossed, this is still going to be a world that I want to live in. For me, this vote is a key dependent of what sort of a world I will be leaving after the result.

The experience of this is leaving a world operating around you, stuck in limbo. But whilst I still have my health and whilst I still have my hair, I’m going to continue to try and step back into that real world.


Published by The Gown Queen's University Belfast

The Gown has provided respected, quality and independent student journalism from Queen's University, Belfast since its 1955 foundation, by Dr. Richard Herman. Having had an illustrious line of journalists and writers for almost 70 years, that proud history is extremely important to us. The Gown is consistent in its quest to seek and develop the talents of aspiring student writers.

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