Anthony Wright was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis 2 in 2005. He had nine operations, two radio-therapies, a week in a coma and a month in a wheelchair”. After his own battle, he is now an International Speaker, Trainer and Author. He has a unique understanding of how the brain functions and offers workshops on a Neuroplasticity. Find out more about Anthony at his website HERE
Here is his brain tumour story and why he started writing books.
Anthony Wright’s Interview:
I went through a series of strange health symptoms and very odd ones actually, nobody knew what was wrong with me and eventually I started having dropdown attacks, I would quite literally find the world would spin and I would fall over and be on the deck and there was no reason for it at all.
One occasion I was in a hospital waiting for a hearing test, I dropped to the floor, nobody saw this happen but I knew I was not well at all and when it came to the hearing test, I completely faked it. I completely messed the hearing test up. I told them I could hear when I could not, and I could not hear when I could.
I just generally larked about and they were so concerned about the results because they were so wrong, they booked me for an MRI check the following day. The MRI scan showed I had a brain tumour the size of a golf ball
The condition I have is something called an NF2 (Neurofibromatosis 2), which means you get tumours, in this case, most likely on the hearing nerve, at the skull base, balance nerve, facial nerve and these things can grow quite large. Mine was 4 1/2 nearly 5cm across. My tumours are benign, but it can do rather a lot of harm. Anything that pushes against a nerve can be quite serious because it can stop that part of your body functioning. Such as hearing or balance or even breathing in some cases.
My original tumour was found in 2005 and had surgery to deal with the immediate effects of that, within a couple of weeks. Then in 2006, they had to go after the main tumour and I had a second surgery. Due to the type of surgery I had, I needed to have my face reconstructed.
I have had facial rebuild operations and am at number 14 or 15 but I’ve lost count and what happened was when I was approaching operation 13 it might have been 12. I started to get jumpy about getting on the table for number 13 so I stopped counting at that point, just in case.
I used to drive all over the UK and the continent for business and dealt with international customers. I used to do 12-16 hour days. I was physically very active. After my brain tumour, I couldn’t go back to the old me, but knew I needed to do something that would give me fulfilment, but also exercising key areas, particularly speech. I had impaired speech, partly from the brain damage, I was dyslexic, but one side of my face was surgically rebuilt, so had to learn to speak all over again.
Becoming an Author and Speaker
I wanted the chance to help others like me, and that is what I do now. As part of my training work, and as an Author I get the chance to stand up in front of people and talk and train and explain my ways and all that I do. It would be a very good exercise for me as well.
The first time I got up in front of people was a nightmare. I’m glad I did it but my goodness that was one of the most frightening things I ever did. For your listeners or readers point of view, at the time, at the worst end of the scale, when I spoke, approximately one word in four, one word in five would either come out wrong or it would come out back to front as a word, so the concentration required to get the elocution up and the speech up so that the people could understand what was said, and I didn’t mess it up, was an immense effort.
Dealing With Brain Fatigue
If I got tongue-tied or made a mistake, I had a strategy. Going back, anything to do with a head injury, brain tumour particularly, but anything to do with head injury, you will suffer from something called brain fatigue. It’s quite common in the genre and it can mean anything. In the early days. I used to have to go to sleep 2 and 3 hours during the day to get through but over time the combination of the physical exercise, the mental exercise and then taking breaks as and when – I’ve now got it so that most days probably a 20 minute/half-hour break is all I have to do. I’ve got stamina back, I can do a 12 to 14 hour day now, but perhaps not at the stress levels that I was used to before.
My Books Available
I have one book out now and I am contemplating two more but I’m waiting to see, to some degree. How the reactions to the current book go, if that makes sense? The book that’s completed, I started writing 2 years ago and it was completed approximately12 months ago. The other book, which is the story about all my background, all the operations and everything, I actually started 5 years ago and I don’t think I’ve got past the first chapter, to be honest.
The next book is very much for someone who has got major health issues, major change in their life and it’s about how do you get it back, get your life back? How do you rebuild, it’s really about getting a plan together in your life, a mind-body approach so that really you’re doing something towards your recovery every day. It’s a kindle book, an electronic book, you can see it on Amazon.
The reviews I have received are really divided exactly two ways, someone who is well, someone who has no issues, it sort of goes over their head and is meaningless to them. Someone that has a health issue, someone that’s in recovery, someone that’s getting a little bit shaky about the way the world is going, it’s like you’re giving them a life raft, a life preserver and that is how it’s been all the way through.
Once someone understands from the inside out what’s going on, and this book is just taking them through the journey, explaining what is happening and why they feel the way they do, it’s like a light comes on and they know exactly what to do.
One of the reasons why I wrote the book, was that an awful lot of things that I picked up, just aren’t really common knowledge and once you circulate that, people got a better idea of how they might be look after themselves. I guess it was a real struggle at beginning when I first came home. I could walk 600 yards and that was it for the day. I then had to go back to bed for 3hours, as the effort from 600 yard walk pretty much finished me for the day. Now I could probably do 5 miles if I had to.
The strange thing about the time frame is you bear in mind my intellectual capacity was knocked back 30 years and I have retrieved 95% of that by actively pushing for about 6 years so in the context of a 30-year retrieval, to do that in 6 years is actually quite good.
Keep A Diary
One of the things the head injury charities say is – you must keep a diary. You have to keep a diary, listing what you did. There will be days you will fall and say this hasn’t gone so well. You look back in the diary, and realise you are doing five times, even ten times what you couldn’t possibly have attempted a year or two years ago. Yes, you do fall over but you are doing an awful lot more.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr Wright in February 2016 while I was on Croydon Radio. He was promoting his book You Can Self Heal: How to Use the Natural Healing Power of Your Mind & Body . You can listen to the original interview below. Now four years on, Mr Wright has brought out a new book called To Argue with Oblivion: A True Story of Catastrophe and Recovery.
“Fifteen operations, two radiotherapies, a week in a coma and a month in a wheelchair
He was seemingly broken beyond repair or redemption.
Anthony knew he was dying, he desperately wanted his life back
Follow his story of unrelenting hope, personal responsibility and recovery.” – Anthony Wright