Benign brain tumour: Debbie's story 

Debbie describes being diagnosed with a benign brain tumour, the symptoms it caused, how she coped with it and what treatments she received.

Read more about benign brain tumours

Transcript of Benign brain tumour: Debbie's story

It was a heavy feeling. That's the best way to describe it.

It wasn't major headaches and blinding migraines and that sort of thing.

It was mostly like a dull ache around my ear.

I thought it might have been an ear infection maybe.

But when the sight started going, that worried me more.

Then I thought I was getting headaches because my sight was affected.

It was definitely getting worse. The consultant ophthalmist said,

"I'll send your for an MRI scan to exclude some things."

Never did I imagine it would turn out to be what it turned out to be.

An hour later, they actually rang me.

I was quite surprised that it was so quick.

The ophthalmist who had sent me for the scan,

she told me, "You've got a brain tumour."

For once in my life, I was stunned and lost for words.

It was as if somebody had hit me in the chest.

I couldn't breathe. It was such a shock.

I was on my own when I was told this as well.

So for several minutes, I just sat there in utter disbelief.

I just couldn't imagine it.

As far as I was concerned, does that mean I'd be dead in a few weeks?

Brain tumours are a taboo subject. They're not talked about a lot.

The biopsy is called transsphenoidal.

They go up the nostril and take away a part of the tumour,

the most accessible piece,

bring it back down the nose and send it off for biopsy.

It usually takes two or three days for that to come back.

And then, it was almost ten days later

that they actually felt I was ready

to have an operation called a craniotomy.

But they couldn't take it all out.

They had to leave residual because it was too dangerous to do it.

The risk of paralysis, stroke, bleeding...

All sorts of things could have happened

because the tumour was actually wrapped around the carotid artery.

After several months of them not knowing quite where to go with this...

They knew I wouldn't need chemotherapy. It wasn't appropriate for that.

They knew I would have to have radiotherapy

to alter the DNA of the tumour and to stop it from regrowing.

After the radiotherapy, I had my recent scan,

which was middle to the end of March this year.

It was the same. It's still stable.

It's still indolent.

It hasn't changed at all since the end of the radiotherapy.

Obviously, for now, it's stable. It's done what it should have done.

Hopefully, it will remain so.

The legacy of having this brain tumour

is that still, on a daily basis, I'm aware of it.

Although there's only a bit of residual and I've had the radiotherapy,

the radiotherapy and the operation have left me with some complications.

But I'm back at work now, full time, I manage to have a good social life,

I can drive again now, which is a huge bonus.

Slowly, all that was taken away is now coming back.


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