Trevor Carson: Motherwell goalkeeper on cancer, DVT & working hard in the gym
|Scottish Premiership: St Mirren v Motherwell|
|Venue: Simple Digital Arena Date: 6 February Time: 19:45 GMT|
Trevor Carson thought he was just appeasing his mother when he went to A&E with "a little niggle". Instead, doctors told him they were "90% sure" he had cancer.
The Motherwell and Northern Ireland goalkeeper was eventually "only" diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), but the illness has put an indefinite halt to his career for the past couple of months.
Here, the 30-year-old tells BBC Scotland about feeling "lucky", his partner worrying about him falling off treadmills, and how every bump to his head could be fatal.
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'I just wanted to be alive, to be a father'
Carson woke on 11 November knowing something was wrong. Initially believing he had a trapped nerve in his neck, he would later take to the field as Motherwell were humbled 7-1 at Ibrox before going off on international duty with Northern Ireland. It would lead him to being diagnosed with DVT, but only after doctors initially were "90% sure" he had cancer.
I was getting a little niggle in my arm, which was something I had never experienced before. I've had shoulder injuries but this built up over the week I was away with Northern Ireland.
My mum knew something was up. She told me to go to A&E and after that I was in great hands at Wishaw General Hospital. They picked up on the clot and it had actually moved into my lung as well, so I got it at the right time. If I had waited another week or even a day, who knows what would have happened.
For a doctor to tell you he is 90% convinced you have cancer makes you think you take a lot of things for granted. It was a bit of a shock; you don't expect at this age to get that sort of illness. Initially, I just wanted to get healthy, to be alive, to be a father, for my fiancee.
People around me took it a lot worse than me. I took it as a positive, how lucky I have been. I could have had cancer. I've tried to remain positive throughout and its definitely helped me. There have been times I've been down, but I've got people around me who have picked me up and I'm definitely looking on the bright side now.
'A blow to the head could be fatal'
Carson's treatment ends on 25 May, then he will have scans to ensure the clot has completely gone from his shoulder and lung. His aim is to be back playing for the start of next season.
I'm on tablets and at the hospital every other day, but I can't believe how much better I feel physically in the space of two months. At the time, I was probably emotionally drained. I was lethargic and had no energy but now I'm doing basically doing full training in the gym.
It's actually a little bit frustrating because I don't feel injured and feel like I can play, but I know if I got a blow to the head it could be fatal, so the risk is certainly not worth taking.
While I'm on these blood-thinning tablets, I can't do any contact sports at all. If I was to get a knock on the head, it wouldn't clot because my blood is so thin. Even if I bump my head around the house, I have to go straight to A&E to get it checked because it can be fatal. You play though a shoulder or ankle injury because the worst thing that's might happen is it might go again, but this could kill me.
My missus is so protective, and so is my mum. If I go on the treadmill they're like, "be careful, don't fall off", but you can't live your life like that.
I've trained 10 times harder since being back at the gym. I'm hungrier now than ever before in terms of pushing on and playing at the highest level I possibly can. It's given me the motivation to push myself.