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Rose was diagnosed with a stage 3 anaplastic astrocytoma in June 2021

Looking back, the first indication that something wasn’t quite right was in January 2021 when I fainted and vomited out of the blue. I didn’t think too much of it at the time, thinking it may have just been the repercussions of a few to many drinks the night before, my daughter convinced me I should get it checked out. I was reviewed by my local Doctor in Robe and spent the night in our small community hospital having obs monitored. With nothing out of the ordinary showing up I was sent home with no further investigations to be carried out.

I have always been relatively fit and health conscious, but on a couple of random occasions I began to experience lightheadedness during my runs and walks requiring me to sit down. Then one morning at work I just felt really crappy and experienced another episode of fainting and vomiting. This time I was referred for a CT scan. Following this scan I had been told that potentially I may have been experiencing TIA’s and that I should arrange an MRI for further clarification. Again, still not to concerned anything was too wrong – it took family members to encourage me to get this checked out ASAP.

I had a night away for my 50th in Mount Gambier with some girlfriends, whilst I was there, I went in for the MRI. I could tell straight away from the look on the staffs faces that there was something quite serious showing up in the scans, it was here that I was told I had a 5cm growth on my brain. My husband had to come from Robe to pick me up and consult with the doctors. Living in Robe, which is about 3.5 hours from Adelaide meant we were referred to Flinders Medical Centre for further action. I had an appt with surgeon Dr Nick Vrodos the following Tuesday, he then operated the following Thursday. I am grateful to Dr Vrodos, he was a great surgeon. His attitude was let’s get in and get it done – managing to get approx 90-95% of the tumor during the surgery. I underwent 6 months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy to help fight the remaining cells.

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I experienced a stroke during my surgery which had a huge effect on my recovery. Two weeks after the operation I could only walk 150m with a frame and it took 5-6 minutes. Throughout this time, I had to live in Adelaide, away from my home and family (3 daughters and grandchildren). We (my husband and I) were lucky enough to be able live and have the support of my sister and brother in law whilst in Adelaide over approximately 3 months, which helped to make us feel as close to home as possible and very supported. It has been an extremely tough road both physically and mentally, however with great determination and positivity I am back to running 4-5km, back running my business as a Pilates/fitness instructor/masseuse and have recently taken up golf. I have always been a relatively healthy person and I believe that supporting my regular medical treatments with a healthy diet and complementary holistic therapies significantly aided my recovery.

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My MRI after surgery and treatment showed no remaining tumour and I get checked every 4 months. These days I still experience forgetfulness like not remembering people's names and my head still feels a heaviness. I have been given different prognoses from different clinicians along my treatment journey and the biggest challenge is the unknown of the future. However, I maintain a positive outlook. I am fortunate to be supported by my family and friends including my husband, three daughters and three grandkids under 2 that keep me young and busy.

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Rose is a dedicated fundraiser for the NRF, raising over $12,000 in support of vital brain tumour research to find better treatments and a cure. This June, you can support her 3k every day challenge! Rose will be walking or running 3k every day throughout June with100% of all donations going directly to fund brain tumour research. Thank you Rose for sharing your story and for choosing to support the NeuroSurgical Research Foundation.

You can support Rose’s Challenge by making a tax-deductible donation here:

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