I discovered that I had a brain tumour on 2nd December 2006, 13 days after returning home from a year away travelling. I was 23. I had no previous symptoms and I presented with mal grand seizures after experiencing confusion and unable finish sentences. For 2 years I was on ‘watch and wait’ then ended up in hospital again with more seizures. At that point I transferred my care to Charing Cross in London and in November 2009 I had my first awake craniotomy. 80% removed and had a tumour type, finally. Oligodendroglioma grade 2 (His name is Richard, by the way!) He started to grow in 2014 so I had a second surgery in September ’14 followed by radiotherapy and chemo as there were some grade 3 cells present. Between my first and my second surgery, I met and married my husband.
Since then, I have been stable and I had scans every 3 months, now increased to 6 months. I’ve managed to have two wonderful children (in 2017 and 2019) and after having my daughter in 2019, my scan showed no visible tumour! The treatment worked! Something I never thought I would hear.
After nine years of not driving, I’ve had my license back for a few years now.
How do I cope? You just do. I try to just get on with it. I am lucky because I have an amazing family. Obviously sometimes I feel sorry for myself, but it soon passes.
I find inspiration in the people on the charity group (FB and the old yahoo group), my family and friends and of course, my specialists! I have so much respect and appreciation to everyone is this journey.
Do I have any advice? Yes. Try not to be defined by your tumour. Live life, even when it’s scary or hard. When you are diagnosed it’s very easy to think about everything that you might not do. All I ever wanted to go is fall in love, be a mother and be happy. There were times when I didn’t think it would happen. But I’ve managed it!
I know that things could change in the future, but for now, I am grateful and living.