Sally  image


Sally has been seeing a neurosurgeon since she was born – as she was born with fluid on the brain (Hydrocephalus). Unfortunately, this association has continued, due her brain tumour diagnosis in 2016.

“My story first started years ago, when I was born, I fluid on the brain (this is called hydrocephalus). Dr Santorenous was my doctor and is still my doctor today.

“At one of my routine check-ups when I was 19 years old, Dr Santorenous found a calcified spot in my brain. It was just sitting there, it wasn’t doing anything. So, then I was getting checks, CAT SCANS and MRIs every now and then on my head.

“It wasn’t until 2016 when Dr Santorenous saw there was a growth on that calcified spot. He couldn’t get in there to check it – there wasn’t technology at that stage to check it. From then he wasn’t sure what it was, and I was quite frozen as I wasn’t expecting it.

“My mum was trying to comfort me, but it was really hard, I couldn’t be comforted. He said he was trying to work out how to get to it. He said he will have to contact me to work out what we are going to do within 2 weeks, and we will do a biopsy to work out what it is. It was awful, at that time I was feeling good, I had lost 12kgs, and I had taken up running so it was a big shock to hear that news.

“After that, I had the operation booked in, the craniotomy was in August. Dr Santorenous could only take part of it out, because of where it is located in the brain, it is in the thalamus. It would cause too much damage to take it all out.

“Then he could test it. From that operation I’ve lost some of my vision, I have blind spots in both eyes, and I see double sometimes. But the positive thing is that part of the tumour is out and its being checked on. I have special glasses now that have prisms which I use to cope with the double vision. I work in the mining sector, but I have a lot of computer work to do – so if I start seeing double I put the glasses on, and that corrects it,” Sally said.

Sally works as a Technical Assistant in the WA mining sector – she takes samples from the operating pits, and tests whether it is iron ore or waste. She really enjoys her work – which she has been doing since 2014. She works full time, working 8 days on and 6 days off.

She has a partner and a step-son called Riley who is 8 years old. They live in Perth and Sally returns to frequently Adelaide to see Dr Santorenous and her family.

“In July this year went to 12 monthly appointments (from 6 monthly). That was a big relief. It makes it much easier to manage. From when it all happened, my check-ups went from 3 monthly to 6 monthly, now its gone to 12 monthly which is great.

“I manage my mental health by keeping mega fit – I run everywhere - just to help me feel better. It’s a mental thing to stay positive. Running is a good way to manage stress. In fact, a year ago, I ran the New York Marathon. It was so cool.

“I did heaps of training. Because I work away on a remote mine site, I would just find any dirt track to run on and train. Mum came with me to New York City. She had never been overseas before. It was a magical experience,” Sally said.

Sally recently completed the Ayers Rock half marathon this year in July 2019 – Sally says these running races help her to look forward and keep a positive mindset.

“These are the things that I look forward to - life’s too short. Having a brain tumour – it has really changed my perspective in a big way - I don’t sweat the small stuff these days - I just try to enjoy life,” Sally said.

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