Man Shares Secrets on how to live positively with Cancer

People with invisible illnesses suffer from pain, discomfort and embarrassment. But when they use facilities like disabled parking spaces, disabled spaces or priority seats, they face judgement because people don’t believe they are ill.  You Don’t Look Sick is the name of a series highlighting the issues around living with an invisible condition. Each week we speak to a different person about their experiences.

It means living with a condition or disability that has an impact on you every day but on the outside, you look fine. Mo Haque, 36, from London, has stage four bowel cancer, and has developed side effects from treatment including rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis. He also uses an ileostomy bag after having surgery to remove part of his bowel. ‘Nobody would know that I’m ill, unless I tell them or they already no my story.’

Mo Haque who suffered with Stage 4 bowel cancer, now has it in remission but battles daily with the side effects of the treatments he recieved

Chemotherapy began on Christmas Eve, four days after his 32nd birthday. He adds: ‘It was happy birthday, happy Christmas, happy new year, with not much to be happy about. I questioned whether I’d see another year. ‘Within a matter of days, my entire life took a whole new direction with a new level of meaning.

I was now taking one day at a time. ‘I now relied on help and support, for tasks I never thought I’d ever need. Help with my shopping, my cleaning, my travel. I could no longer go for a walk whenever I wanted, let alone a run.

‘The illness doesn’t stop me from going out although I need to do a lot more planning and I need to build in a lot of rest and recovery.

‘When I’m arranging meet ups or activity, I am conscious about how much I can realistically do and anticipate how much down time I’ll need, to make sure I don’t over do things. ‘I also make sure accessibility needs both in travel and toiletry are supportive.

I see a psychologist regularly, to talk through mental and emotional challenges I face. Self care is a huge part of my life. I practice monthly breathwork sessions. When times have been extremely challenging, I take one day at a time.

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