Diagnosed in 2021 grade 3 anaplastic astrocytoma
Jenny was working as a podiatrist and was fit and well, a keen wild swimmer, before her initial symptoms became an emergency situation.
Jenny tells her story:
I was diagnosed at the beginning of May 2021 with grade 3 anaplastic astrocytoma after I had become increasingly fatigued.
My tiredness had initially been thought to be due to my age (50) but then I had additional worsening migraines, shaking all over and eventually falling over. I saw a different GP who was brilliant and sent me straight to the A&E department at Derriford, Plymouth, and I was kept in for observation.
However I became increasingly unwell and actually do not remember very much about going in and the first surgery, which turned out to be an emergency operation in the early hours of a bank holiday Monday, to remove pressure on my brain caused by excess fluid that had built up over a tumour.
It was a little over 2 weeks later that I had a second craniotomy to remove as much of the tumour as possible without causing damage. Since this I have already had 6.5 weeks of daily radiotherapy and am soon to start a year’s chemotherapy treatment.
My whole world changed
I was very shocked and frightened to find out about this diagnosis. My whole world was turned upside down. I had to shut my business after being a podiatrist for 22 years and lost my driving licence and freedom. It was awful for me and also my family. I had gone from what I thought was fairly healthy enjoying wild swimming and walking and eating healthily and not drinking or smoking.
Once I was recovering at home I had a call from Ellen Yates, a volunteer for the Devon Brain Tumour Support Group. She invited me to join the Devon group via Facebook and it really made such a difference. Up until then I felt scared and alone even with the support I had from family and friends and my GP.
The charity provides great support including group meetings, which are currently via Zoom due to Covid, as well as free counselling available to patients with brain tumour and their family too. There is also financial advice and help, and sessions via zoom that you can book yourself on about particular topics. I only wish I had known about them straight away, but it’s never too late.
With all of this provided free by the charity, I felt it was important to support them so that it will be available for everyone now and in the future.
As I love art and painting, and in my time at home recovering I have been able to do more of my hobby, I decided to paint and have some cards made up to sell in aid of Brain Tumour Support.
Jenny Hyslop - September 2021
Jenny, a keen wild swimmer, just a few months prior to her diagnosis
Jenny has had two operations, firstly to reduce pressure on her brain and then to remove as much of the tumour as possible
Jenny is fundraising by selling cards of her paintings
Help from friends
Jenny’s good friend Kerry, who owns a hat hire business - The Hat Shop in Holsworthy, Devon - also wanted to offer her support. Kerry normally arranges a trip to Ascot each year, which in 2021 was cancelled due to Covid, and so instead she held a garden party to help raise funds for BTS.
"On Thursday 17th June we held an Ascot Ladies Day garden party as we were unable to attend Royal Ascot again this year. On arrival, everyone had their photo taken under the flower arch in the warm sunshine. We served fizz, Pimms and an afternoon tea followed by amazing homemade desserts.
"We had all the runners and riders listed for each race and everyone could place a bet. The winner won all the money in the pot, plus a winning rosette. Each race was screened in the garden room and the winners were announced soon after the finish. We also had a bet on 'Guess the colour of the Queen's hat'. Unfortunately the Queen didn't attend on the Thursday, so we had to see what colour Princess Anne was wearing instead!
"After the final race, we all sang songs around the decking, (instead of the usual bandstand!) while waving our flags to finish the day. Everyone joined in.
"The cost from anyone who hired a hat from my shop for the garden party, along with extremely generous donations on the day, went to Brain Tumour Support and totalled £150.
"Our dear friend Jenny had recently endured two major surgeries and we simply wanted to help."
Read more about how we help
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 firstname.lastname@example.org