Grab your tissues, boys and girls, this one might get a bit emosh!
Way back in the Summer of 2010, before we even knew the other existed, my best friend Paul began to feel really poorly. He chalked it down to a tummy bug, but when the dizziness, nausea and headaches lasted for 10 weeks with no confirmed diagnoses, even with an appointment with a specialist, Paul started to think that this was just the way things were going to be for the foreseeable future.
In October, during a University Open Day, he began to develop double vision which he had been told was a big red flag. When Paul got home he called the doctor who told him to go straight to hospital. The hospital finally began to take things seriously with the double vision and finally agreed to give him a CT scan. This is where they found that he had a brain tumour. They sent him for an MRI where they confirmed it was a 4cm tumour causing a 6cm cyst, pushing on his occipital nerve, causing dizziness and double vision. Thankfully, though weirdly, it was pushing out the back of his head, rather than into the brain, causing brain damage.
That evening, Paul was transferred from the hospital on the Isle of Wight (via ambulance on a ferry!) straight to Southampton General, the best hospital in the South for neurology. After another MRI and various tests, Paul was finally operated on, on the evening of the 28th October. It took 6 hours but was successful. Weirdly, Paul was only required to spend 24 hours in the hospital recovering, before being sent home.
He was required to go back a week later, after a biopsy was done on the tumour which thankfully showed that it wasn’t malignant. The doctors said it was a slow growing tumour so it could actually have been there for 2 years before it was found. Now, every year, Paul has an MRI to check it’s not returned and will have to do this for the next 10-20 years.
If you knew Paul, you would know that this has never stopped him. He never uses it as an excuse or justification, and he was back at school 2 weeks after the operation! He’s smart and funny and kind and thoughtful with the sassiest sense of humour.
Brain tumours are such an underfunded area and far more common than you think. That’s why today, Friday 27th March is ‘Wear a Hat Day’. To raise awareness (and funds) for research in this area, and that’s why this is important to me.
Please take part in any way you can. Raise awareness by wearing a hat, & if you can, text Wear £3 to 70070 (you can donate up to £10 this way!) to help the cause.