Peter’s nominator said:

“He has battled through 50 years of living with his pituitary diagnosis and has championed the cause in raising awareness in the community and with medical staff for many years. He is always willing to listen to people and has been volunteering on your helpline for a long time now. I have no doubt he has saved lives and improved them for many many people. He is also an amazing brother to me and he deserves recognition for all that he has done and achieved over many, many years through his determination to make things better for people without looking for any reward himself.”

This is what Peter told us:

During my childhood, I went to see my doctor almost weekly. By now I was having severe earache, being sick, crying with pain. The doctor told my Mum and I that I had a tumour and would have to have an operation. I cried. I was only fourteen. I was admitted to hospital right away.
After explaining to me what was going to happen, I had all my hair cut, then shaved off. I was beside myself. I can remember asking the nurse, to please, please, just leave a little bit on! My operation was a Craniopharyngioma. It took several hours. I was in hospital for about four weeks. I had gained weight. The weight made me look different. My face and head shape had changed. I was having mood swings and ultra-emotional episodes, crying, wanting to run away, poor self-image, no sense of self-worth.

In September, I went back to my school. The pupils who had been praying for me during earlier on, now took the micky out of me. Poked fun at my head (My hair had fallen out again, as a result of the radiotherapy. I also had diabetes insipidus (now AVP Deficiency) and a build-up of fluid on my head.) Many of the teachers had no time for me at all.

I struggled on.

Within two years of the operation, some of the major issues had settled, others were left unresolved. I now hated school because being bullied made me an outcast. I was also moved down a year, in the hope I would be able to catch up on the work I was struggling with. For me, that was the final straw. I hated it. I’d lost my friends, my peer group, my health, and to some extent, my future. My main problems were emotional / behavioural. I cried a lot. I could lose control altogether. I had panic attacks. Teachers, and other adults did not know how to help. I did not know why they happened.
No one seemed to be able to throw any light on this, until I met a specialist in Leicester. He let me look at some of the scans results and explained the Hypothalamus to me. For me it explained how, a well-behaved child and young man, turned into a sobbing, depressed, sad, grieving teenager with poor self-image. No one had ever told me this before. It made a huge difference to me and my parents. I found this out when I was twenty-three years old! nine years after my operation. 

With eyesight and other health problems, employment was difficult. Over the years I have been a telephonist, receptionist, office clerk, shop assistant, clerical officer and my last job was with social services. One day, I fell at work. I injured my back and have now a spine condition that has prevented me working at all. Basically, I am a liability. Poor eyesight, back problems, health problems etc = unemployment. My eyesight has worsened over the years, and now I am also getting age related problems like osteoporosis! (More tablets.) I have never been married. I have no children! I missed out on a career. Since my parents have died, I have no immediate family in a hundred-mile radius.

I have coped, sometimes in a fashion, on my own and with the help of my friends.

I will have a go and try anything, especially if it involves helping others.

I have counselling qualifications and do voluntary work for a number of agencies locally. So not only do I benefit by doing these things, but others benefit too.

If I had laid down, and done the “Poor Me” act, no one would have wanted to know me. What I have done for many years is, put the “Slap” on (makeup)…for me that is a smile! Put decent clothes on then got out there and had a go!

Depression and lethargy could have ruled my life. I would not let them. Yes, there have been times when I have not been well, and have given up for a short time, licked my wounds, so to speak. But then I get up and try again.