My journey began back in 2015 when I started University. I was studying a course called Operating Department Practice in London and was subsequently working 37.5 hours on a placement at Great Ormond Street. The hours really took a toll on my stress levels and I began to feel incredibly fatigued all of the time. I started to develop small one-sided headaches that stretched over my face. They didn't last long but they were very intense and I quickly put it down to dehydration and exhaustion: even Student Nurses sometimes don't get breaks. Regardless, I ignored it.
In my second and third year, the headaches became more of a frequent part of my life; but knowing Clinicians so well, I deduced a trip to the GP would result in me coming away with instructions to drink more water, de-stress and potentially try a migraine medication. It was around this time my gut instinct was first telling me what I really needed was an MRI.
By the time I had qualified, I was subconsciously reliant on Ibroprofen and Paracetamol to make it through a shift without head pain. I am a fit and healthy young individual with no health issues other than Coeliac Disease, so why would it be anything more than migraines? I even considered that somehow gluten had crept into my diet and was thus giving raised intercranial pressure.
Ironically, I started working as a Neurosurgery and Cardiac Anaesthetic Practitioner at St George's London, and on a day off I woke up to the most immense neck cramp on the same side as my headaches and decided to see my GP. I told him a little bit about my frequent pain and how sometimes the pain feels like running water under the skin on my face. He sent me for a none-urgent MRI which I had somewhat 11 weeks later.
Low and behold, as my gut had told me a year or so ago, I had a Brain Tumour. I was stunned at both the fact that I actually truly had one and how much I honestly already knew that I would have one. Talk about being in touch with your body. I was told it's a Brainstem Glioma (Grade 2) and its subsequently both inoperable and incurable due to it being in God's Country. Thus far in my 8 months it has been stable and asymptomatic (as it transpires the headaches are not directly connected to the location of the tumour) so I am very lucky.
The reason this platform has come around is really because of how little I feel in control of what comes next and my realisation of how many other people must feel the same way as me. I'm hoping it will be the basic foundation of forming a vast community of like minded individuals who want to be positive even though they're going through something awful.
I decided not to take any time off work because I was both in the right place should something happen and there was almost no chance that something would suddenly happen. However, following a holiday in August I realised I really should have taken some time to heal. Both from the physical shock and from the emotional pain of having to redesign my life and goals completely. Even though nothing has really changed, everything has changed.
As time passes I began to get more stressed about the question: why was this happening to me? In my case, when my tumour starts to grow, there is currently nothing that can save me. So all that's left for me to do is to simply accept the situation and instead of asking why, ask: what can I get out of this journey?
This blog will document all of the trials and tribulations I've faced while having a Brain Tumour and how I turn those situations into something positive.
One again, I am very lucky that my Brain Tumour is asymptomatic and I feel as though God who spares my life everyday is showing me my purpose very clearly. I would like for nothing more than for all Adults in a similar position, whether their Brain Tumour is curable and operable or incurable and inoperable to be at peace with themselves and simply live everyday with their head held high.
By 2020 I am aiming to have raised £10,000 for The Brain Tumour Charity to help #FindACureSooner and ensure continued support and readily available resources for patients and families of those who have Brain Tumours. Please click on the link and donate, if all of my readers donated £1 I would have met my target already! https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lobeyourself