Welcome to the Aunty M Brain Tumours Talk Show, a space where we share extraordinary stories of courage, resilience, and hope in the face of brain tumours. In today’s episode, we bring you the captivating journey of Emma, a remarkable woman whose strength and determination have been nothing short of inspiring.
Emma Drew had been experiencing persistent headaches and dizziness for six months. Despite multiple visits to her GP, various medications, and even trying beta-blockers, her condition didn’t improve, and the headaches became unbearable. Emma decided to seek private medical care, leading to an MRI that delivered devastating news: she had a brain tumour pressing against her left optic nerve. She would soon be having two brain surgeries and radiotherapy.
Unbearable Headaches and a Life-Changing Diagnosis: Emma’s Story
After further consultation with a radiologist, Emma was informed that she likely had a meningioma. Unfortunately, complete removal of the tumour was not possible as it was wrapped around her optic nerve.
Fighting for Sight: Emma’s Courageous Decision for Brain Surgeries
The medical team proposed surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible, followed by radiotherapy. However, the nature of the tumour meant that she would still lose part of her sight.
Devastating News: Emma’s Brave Encounter with a Brain Tumour
To help with the double vision caused by third nerve palsy, Emma consulted an ophthalmologist who designed a special contact lens for her. This lens, with a black backing, allows her to wear it daily and significantly reduces her double vision.
Here she shares her experience:
My Brain Tumour is Pressing on my Optic Nerve
Here are the show notes:
Host: Welcome to “The Aunty M Brain Tumours Talk Show,” where we share the extraordinary stories of individuals facing the challenges of brain tumours with courage and strength. Today, we have the privilege of speaking with Emma, who was diagnosed in June 2012 after undergoing an MRI scan. Let’s hear her remarkable journey.
Host: Emma’s symptoms began in December 2011, with persistent headaches and dizziness. Despite numerous visits to her GP and trying various medications, her condition worsened. Feeling unwell, she decided to seek a private MRI scan for a diagnosis.
Emma: The GP tried different medications, including beta-blockers, and suggested various types of headaches. I was in so much pain that I had to go for a private MRI scan.
Host: The diagnosis came through a phone call from her GP, and all Emma heard was “brain tumour,” which left her distraught and anxious about what the future held.
Host: Referred to King’s College Hospital for treatment, Emma met with neurosurgeons in just a couple of weeks. The radiographer suspected a meningioma, likely a benign tumour, but the news was overwhelming for Emma, as she was unfamiliar with the term.
Host: Emma’s surgery was complex due to the tumour’s location around her optic nerve, making complete removal impossible. The surgery involved two separate operations, lasting for hours, and left her with Third Nerve Palsy, causing her left eyelid to close frequently.
Emma: The surgery was intense, and they had to be cautious due to the tumour’s position. I had to go back for a second operation to finish the debulking.
Host: After the surgeries, Emma underwent six weeks of radiotherapy at St. Thomas’s Hospital. The treatment had side effects, with fatigue being the most challenging one.
Emma: Radiotherapy was like having an MRI scan. It was manageable, but the fatigue was overwhelming.
Host: Emma’s road to recovery is expected to take over two months, as the radiation continues to work on the tumour cells, regenerating healthy tissues in the brain.
Host: Despite the pain and challenges, Emma remains resilient. She found support in an ophthalmologist at King’s, who designed a contact lens to alleviate double vision.
Emma: The contact lens has been a game-changer. It looks like my normal eye, and it stops the double vision.
Host: Emma’s journey is a testament to her strength and determination to overcome the hurdles of a brain tumour. We are grateful for her sharing her story with us today.
You Can Listen Here on YouTube
My Brain Tumour is Pressing on my Optic Nerve
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