Chris was 36 when he first started feeling unwell. He was forgetting things and had unusual pain in the left side of his face. After scans, blood tests and a biopsy, he was diagnosed with a brain tumour - a multifocal pilocytic astrocytoma - rendered inoperable due to its location.
At the time he had started a new job as an IT manager at a large organisation and had just become a father for the first time. As his symptoms progressed, his driving licence was revoked, he was unable to work and he had to start walking with a stick. He was in a lot of pain, had numbness in his head, double vision and he couldn’t taste food properly or process conversations.
He underwent 30 sessions of radiotherapy and this not only affected him physically but mentally as well.
He writes in his blog: “Autumn 2018 was the height of my illness and I was undergoing radiotherapy. I stopped looking at the outside world; I found no joy in being outside. It was a chore to be outside. My world became sterile and extremely inward looking. Such overt introversion did nothing to improve my mental wellbeing and I started to retreat from the world. I worked hard during radiotherapy to stay active, as all evidence shows increased exercise can improve outcomes, but after treatment finished I struggled to summon any enthusiasm for walks. I became quite reclusive in many ways.”
It was around this time that he found his local Brain Tumour Support Group and met his Brain Tumour Support Worker.
“My Brain Tumour Support Worker has been fantastic,” says Chris. “I know I have someone who understands; someone who responds to my emails; someone who can put me in touch with others in similar situations. She always brings interesting people to the group too. I have found the meditation and tai chi really useful. And at my support group, I don’t have to pretend. I don’t feel so isolated by my condition any more.”
Chris is now in a far better place than he was in the Autumn of 2018. He is back at work part-time, on a phased return, and has been reissued with his driving licence. “I’ve learnt to walk without my stick,” says Chris. “More importantly I’ve got my head up and I’m looking outwards.”
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Brain Tumour Support offers support to brain tumour patients and their families in a variety of ways - support groups, one-to-one, counselling, telephone and on-line support.
For more information call our Support Line on 01454 422701 or email email@example.com