Monday, October 21, 2013

Meningioma. Day one - diagnosis

As my fifth anniversary dawns I pause to reflect on the day the words Brain Tumour stormed into my life.

On November 17th I sat in my grey clio in Newport Wales after a community infection control strategy meeting. As I whizzed along the M4 I belted out songs with Eva Cassidy;
 I see trees of green…red roses too…
I see em bloom for me and for you….
and I think to myself…what a wonderful world…

I breezed past Mr H as he walked through the door; bye off for a run hung in the air... we normally ran together.

In bed Mr H asked me silly questions to settle my agitated mind; if you could only travel to one place in the world which one of these would  you choose; A) Africa B) America C) Italy…
but I want to go to South America, No you have to choose from these three oh mmmmm already travelled across America when I got my scholarship, seen a bit of Italy, it would have to be Africa….zzzzzzz

I cried out as a painful spasm in my lower legs woke me. My arms flapped as my head had an earthquake. My brain shook as it bounced off the sides of my skull.  I thanked God as a dark empty cloud embraced me. Silence.

Mr H’s face came into view. He was shouting wake up wake up. It was quarter past one in the morning. November 18th. On the way to hospital the cloud tried again and again to spread its darkness. I lay on a trolley as needles were poked in my arms, I trundled into a CT scanner for the first time; then a second…for more pictures….
We have seen something on your brain scans, the lady doctor told us. Mr H and I shared a shrug and raised eyebrows; best not to speak.

On the ward the neurosurgery registrar handed me a scan picture with a round thing sitting in the right side of my brain. 
He said This will have caused your seizure, it could be a primary or a secondary tumour. At the word secondary I clasped my hand to my breast thinking oh no I've got breast cancer...
He continued...In all probability it is a primary tumour but we won’t know for sure until we have removed it.
I asked him for the cold facts so he looked me in the eye and said If it is malignant you will have about 18 months to live, if benign you will live, but it will be a different life….We would like to operate today if we can, if not definitely tomorrow.

Mr H and I crumbled in each others arms behind the curtains. He drew the short straw as he went off to break the news to others...

The Neurosurgery Consultant I saw later told me that in his clinical opinion the tumour was likely to be a meningioma, a slow growing tumour of the lining covering the brain which is usually benign.

Never heard of it I said. How much hair will I loose?

Grand Canyon on my travels in 1993

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