Germinoma (brain tumour)

Maddie (she/her) was diagnosed with two germinoma brain tumours (on her pituitary gland and pineal gland) at the age of 17. She underwent five weeks of craniospinal radiotherapy (radiotherapy to the head and spine). Post-treatment, she needs to take supplemental medication as her pituitary and pineal glands have been affected. One supplemental hormone she is forgoing is testosterone injections for gender affirming reasons. 

“Physically, the hormones were making me look vaguely more masculine but mentally they took a big toll on me. For instance at 24 I did not think my biggest regret would be my hips fusing at a more “masculine” angle, but it really does bother me at times and I will never be able to get over more hair, especially facial hair.  After having none until I was 18, suddenly having thick facial hair makes me cautious about when I present more femme in public (i.e. I need to shave beforehand). I’ve learnt to love my body and not judge it or myself, but feeling these masculinising changes did hurt quite deeply at times. I have to expend a lot of mental energy to quell those thoughts.” (Shine profile)

Maddie is an ambassador for Shine Cancer Support, a UK charity that supports adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s who have experienced a cancer diagnosis. You can find Maddie’s Shine profile here.

She is sharing the ongoing story of her transition and the complications of brain tumour survivorship as a young adult with her trans cancer diary. Maddie also did a takeover of Shine’s Instagram recently that’s worth checking out as she shares some insights into her experience including the effects of the multiple medications she is taking, the toll on her mental health and the repercussions of the cisheteronormative cancer treatment she received on her gender affirming journey.