My mum’s brain tumour probably only starting growing a couple of months before we realised that was ill.
It look a few doctors’ appointments and blood tests for her to be referred to the neurologists at a major regional hospital for further tests, but before this could happen, she fell over one day whilst feeding the dog, and my Dad said he was taking her straight to A&E the next morning.
We already knew by that point that there was something very wrong with her, as she couldn’t put a whole sentence together and was feeling weak down the right side of her body. We’d already stopped her driving as she was driving like a maniac; this coming from the lady who never went into fifth gear on the motorway because it scared her. She had CT and MRI scans at Gloucester Hospital and it was confirmed straight away that she had a brain tumour. This was on a Tuesday and on the Friday she was at Frenchay Hospital to have her biopsy. After the biopsy she lost the use of her right side and it was confirmed the following week that the tumour was a Glioblastoma Multiforme, one of the most common but deadly brain tumours.
I can’t remember any of my family ever seeing her scans or being told what grade the tumour was, just being told that it was very nasty and fast growing. We were told that really there wasn’t much that could be done for her; she was offered palliative radiotherapy but wasn’t really well enough for it. She made a choice not to have any treatment as she didn’t was to be “ill” so she was just given lots of steroids. Her condition steadily deteriorated over the next 3 months but she was never in pain. She had lots of family and friends visiting at home, Hospice at Home carers in the morning and evening and once a week she visited our local day hospice for lunch and arts and crafts.
My mum passed away at home on 3rd January 2012 with her family by her side, just over 4 months from the first diagnosis in A&E. Brain Tumour research is very underfunded, making up less than 1% of cancer research and whilst many cancer survival rates are improving, Brain Cancer deaths are actually rising. I know Brain Tumours are very difficult to diagnose but it does make me wonder that if there was more funding and research in to Brain Tumours, whether my Mum would still be here today.