My Story – Brain Tumour Survivor
Hi my name is Toni McArthur; I’m currently a 20 year old university student studying a Bachelor of Business. During November 2009 I was in the middle of the University Exam Period, when I experienced several seizures; and was rushed to FMC in an ambulance. Thinking that it was stress related my family and I didn’t expect the worse.
After having an EEG and an MRI, I was told to stay overnight and would find out the results the following day. During this time I wasn’t too worried as I just expected that I had overworked myself, causing stress which resulted in the seizures. The following day we were told that I had a Left Frontal Meningioma which was the size of an apple, and could have possibly been growing for the past 2-3 years.
Having no symptoms prior to this; apart from a headache the day before I had the seizures, it came as a very big shock.
I was told that I would have to have surgery to remove the tumour as soon as possible, so my operation was scheduled for 5 days later. During this time everything was a blur, and I wasn’t feeling upset or negative about the situation I was in, I was more focused on remaining positive. After being transferred to Wakefield Hospital on the Friday, I was visited by Dr Matthew McDonald to discuss the operation in more detail and was told the risks that were involved. Up until the night before the surgery the days flew by, and I didn’t really have much time to think about the operation, however when I was informed of the risks involved it finally set in that this is life threatening surgery.
The morning of the surgery I was a little nervous however I tried to just think of coming out of the surgery and getting through the recovery stage that was to follow. Saying goodbye to my Family before surgery was very difficult, however I stayed as strong as I could going into the theatre and kept my hopes up. Waking up after approximately 6 hours I was eager to see my family, however I had to be placed in Intensive Care before they could come in to see me. After seeing my family I was so relieved and was happy that the operation had gone to plan.
Waking up in intensive care I was determined to get up and go for a walk. Not even 24 hours out of surgery I was already up and walking by myself and was then placed up in a new room in the KIDD Ward. During the next couple of days I was told to take it easy and just relax, however I was to go for an occasional walk with the physio to get me up and moving. Dr Matthew McDonald came in to check up on me every few days, and finally came in 4 days after surgery to tell me about the operation. I was told that my Tumour was a Type 2 Atypical Tumour, which meant that it can possibly return; so I’ll have to continue to have MRI’s for the rest of my life to monitor the tumour. My recovery over the 4 days following surgery had been excellent so I was able to go home the following day; however I was to take it easy over the next 3 months.
Staying positive and concentrating on the support from friends, family and others got me through this stage of my life, and I encourage others who go through these experiences to stay strong and remain positive no matter how bad it seems. I am now grateful for every day that I have, and have been able to continue my studies at university. I managed to receive a high distinction as well as the Dean’s Certificate for a supplementary exam that I completed after my operation, so this just shows how normal your life can still be; even after an experience like this.