What cancer were you diagnosed with?

Brain Tumour (Diffuse Astrocytoma)


What age were you diagnosed?

29 


What helped you to thrive?

Maintaining a sense of humour has helped me during what has been a challenging year of treatment.

I’ve enjoyed doing new things – such as blogging, and have tried to embrace all the changes that treatment has brought with it – from hair loss, to building a strong collection of walking sticks I now rely on. My aim is to live as full a life as I can despite having a brain tumour. I don’t worry about what might change in the future, and feel grateful to have a unique perspective on life. I hope that I’ll be able to return to work soon – even if part-time, and maybe make it back onto the dancefloor in my heels.


Sarah's Story

I was diagnosed with a brain tumour in Autumn 2016, aged 29.

The diagnosis was very unexpected, as I was otherwise well. I had an MRI scan a few weeks after a big seizure in my sleep, which happened whilst away for a weekend at the races. In the weeks that followed, I started anti-seizure medication and had a series of scans to determine the best course of treatment.

In December 2016 I underwent awake craniotomy surgery. The surgery aimed to remove at least 90% of a tumour, but unfortunately, was unsuccessful. The surgery left me with a significant left-sided weakness, in my arm and leg, and so 2017 has been a process of undergoing neuro-rehabilitation to learn to walk again, as well as further treatment – as a tumour is now considered inoperable.

I have completed a round of concurrent chemoradiotherapy, and I am now 7 cycles into further oral chemotherapy. I am scanned regularly, every three months, and the next scan is likely to determine when I will complete this phase of treatment.

Having been apprehensive about being away from the office for the 6-8 weeks originally anticipated (when I had surgery), fatigue from my treatment means that I remain off work. Seizures have become an unpredictable and sometimes unpleasant feature of life with a brain tumour, but, something we (my lovely clinicians) are working to control. I’ve had to adapt to living with somewhat limited mobility – and whilst I do hope this will continue to improve, it isn’t clear if I’ll ever be back to running 10Ks! I find focusing on what I can do, rather than can’t, keeps me positive. Leopard print walking sticks, and red lipstick help too!

Read more of Sarah's blog here:

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