2022, I did not expect that.
It had been a good year generally, nothing major to report – other than Australia opened its borders and we got back to see the in-laws for the first time in five years – something Shaun needed very much, we all did. A whole month.
I saved up my annual leave and also worked remotely while I was out there, the hours fitted in with UK ones later in the day and I had my own little work area I could potter away. It was all good.
After we returned from Australia we got straight back into our everyday routine, and it was probably around this point that odd things started to happen to me – obviously odd things. Things I’d say or do which a month beforehand I’d have known were wrong were my opinions. It was kind of strange, and looking back I can remember some of the things I’ve said.
Then I lost my sense of time. I could take an hour to eat food. Two hours doing other things. But in my mind it was ten minutes, nothing more. But for Shaun he was worried, something wasn’t right. “Oh it’s nothing to worry about” I’d reassure, “it’s just the menopause, it’s brain fog” – all the excuses. Everything fit, this was very menopausal.
Except… some mornings the alarm would go off and I’d not be able to get out of bed. Getting ready for work was a mammoth task and something I really had to focus on. Considering I was out of bed at 6.30am every morning and in the shower, it was odd. One Saturday I did get up at 6.30am, had a shower, washed my hair and got ready for work. It took Shaun a while to convince me it was the weekend.
On the Friday of the week that gave us the answers, Shaun was worried. I was acting very strangely and he had convinced me not to go to work. He phoned the GP and spoke to them about what was going on.
“Take her to A&E immediately” was the response. He weighed up whether to call an ambulance and decided to drive me to the local hospital there and then. My memories are practically non-existent at this point, but he stayed with me until 2am the following morning, with H staying at a friends house while tests were run on me. The downside of it all is I was admitted on a Friday, so I think we only really got proper answers on the Monday.
Lesion. That’s what they found. A lesion.
“a region in an organ or tissue which has suffered damage through injury or disease, such as a wound, ulcer, abscess, or tumour.”
I’m pretty sure the Monday I had a CT and MRI scan done which confirmed a brain tumour. The next course of action? An operation the following week to remove what they could.
I was moved to a ward at some point, where I knew two ladies – I’m not sure from where but I knew them. Both have dementia-related problems. One wailed all through the night while the other screamed out most of the day about how everyone wanted to kill her.
I craved peace and quiet at home. Best way to do that? Do as you’re told.
Because it’s a brain tumour I was put onto steroids. Guess what? Like clockwork, my diabetes came back. Oh how I hate having diabetes. Almost immediately I craved pizza and chocolate and felt like everything was being taken away from me. So I was kept in for longer “to keep an eye on your sugars” – I promised I would eat only porridge and proteins if I could sleep in my own bed, but it didn’t work.
Then the nurse added “by the way, you won’t be able to drive for two years” to the mixture.
Positive me is now making the most of being driven around all the time. Positive me is looking for low GI pizza recipes (or stealing a slice of H’s), and positive me is being sensible when it comes to chocolate and is eating one piece a day, thus I have a happy part of the day.
Because ultimately, if you don’t go into this with some positivity, the fighting the cancer becomes difficult. I’m a week into chemotherapy and radiotherapy which so far aren’t giving me too much bother though I know I’m likely to have total hair loss (eyebrows and eyelashes too, the joys).
I’m signed off work sick while I deal with all this (understandably!), and I’m trying not to be all “Dr Google” about it. I am in good spirits, I get tired easily if I do too much, but so far I’m still just me. I forget words in sentences (it was “chair” last week) as my brain repairs itself and finds new pathways to function as normally as it can again.
My prospects have been given, but using data from ten years ago. Treatments have changed over time with new ones cropping up all the time. I don’t want to name the tumour nor my outcome here, but whatever happens I’ll fight this as much as I’m able to. I’m strong, wobbly, got a good sense of humour and I write really annoying long blog posts sometimes.
Like now. We’ve got this.