Naomi Campbell, 42, mother of two from South London was diagnosed with Brain Cancer in 2018. Out of the blue, Naomi had five tonic-clonic (Grande-Mal) seizures one after the other. After having a biopsy she was diagnosed with a Cancerous Grade 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma. She is currently having treatment on a clinical trial, yet found the time to write an inspiring book called Things I Found In The Dark
Here is Naomi’s Brain Cancer Story
How did you find out about your diagnosis?
I had a strange foreboding feeling for about six months before my diagnosis, where I would wake up suddenly at night. I thought it was anxiety/ panic attacks but it was actually seizure activity.
One night in August 2018, my husband woke up to find me having a tonic-clonic seizure. I was taken to the hospital by ambulance. I had five tonic-clonic seizures without breaks in total. After an MRI they saw a tumour on my brain. I then had a brain biopsy to determine the type of tumour. I was told I had a grade 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma.
I was told from the start that my tumour is inoperable (it is right on a motor strip, so removing it would cause paralysis) I was told also that the condition was definitely fatal.
This was a big shock, but I decided to make peace with it, which has emotionally made me feel strong. I had radiotherapy first which shrunk it a bit, then a year of chemo. Unfortunately, the tumour started to show signs of progression so I am now on a clinical trial trying a new drug alongside chemo.
The tumour has been stable for six months now and I am very grateful to be on the trial. I was the first UK patient on my clinical trial, so I’m hoping I do well so other people get more treatment options.
What do you do now in your life?
I’m not working at the moment, but I have two young children who keep me busy. I have also recently written and published a book called Things I Found In The Dark.
Tell us about your book ‘Things I Found In The Dark’?
I have always written both fiction and non-fiction, but after diagnosis, I knew I should write a memoir. There are many stories from my life that are both funny and sad and relate to subjects that many people can relate to. I wanted to write about childhood, teenage rebellion, mental illness, love, infertility, miscarriage, motherhood, cancer… all the stuff that happens. My book is about how even in the dark times, there are jokes to be found and love to save you.
Details from the book:
This is the story of all the things that ever happened to me. The teenage wild, lit-up nights that never leave your veins. The things I promised myself about pain in black hospital dusk. The all-night pharmacies of New York that kept me alive until morning. The boy that appeared in the shade of the party. A plane exit. An anthrax scare. A car crash. A baby born in a bathroom. The news about my brain, the news that I’m dying.
Where can people buy the book?
It is for sale on Amazon on Kindle and in Paperback?
What is the toughest challenge a survivor’s face?
I wouldn’t call myself a survivor, because ultimately I won’t be one – although I hope I am here for some time yet. Waiting for scan results is definitely the worst part of this situation for me. I can accept good or bad news – I just want the information!
Any advice for people or loved ones that get daunting diagnoses?
- Google is not your friend.
- Don’t keep reading prognosis statistics, you have no idea how things will be for you.
- Remember that even if you can’t see it now, there will be some good things that come out of this situation too. Everything that happens is usually good and bad in different ways.
- You may be surprised how much you learn about yourself and you may feel even closer to the people you love.
- You are not in a fight, no matter what people might tell you. You cannot control the outcome of your situation, but you can control how you feel about it. Make peace with as much of it as you can.
Naomi Campbell, you are inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing your brain cancer story. It is amazing how you have turned your experiences into a book, which may help others with issues happening in their lives, including living with brain cancer. I look forward to reading Things I Found In The Dark this weekend.
Find Naomi on Instagram