So we arrive by ambulance at UCH with me laughing hysterically while slowly losing the use of my left hand side. On arrival I go straight in for scans and then the waiting game begins. I was being looked after by the stroke team who had the unenviable task of letting me know that the good news was that I hadn’t had a stroke but that the scans had found a “mass” in my brain that was 3cm x 4cm x 2.5cm. Bugger. A couple of phone calls later and my parents were booked on flights. I was transferred to a ward and started on a dose of steroids (not the muscle building kind, these ones just make your face swell and eat everything in sight, hence the new nickname 'Moonface#). That was on Saturday 11th October and I soon found out that I would be operated on asap which turned out to be four days later.
On the night before my surgery I was transferred to the National Neurological Hospital where I first met my anaesthetist and surgeon. I was told to get a good night’s sleep but that was impossible as one of the other patients kept crying out “Oh bloody hell, help! Help me!”...until they wheeled him unwillingly into a room on his own :) Up at 6am to have a wash with antiseptic soap in order to fight off infection during the operation. I was taken in to the theatre by mid-morning having signed the waivers that the procedure could do anything from leave me brain dead to kill me outright. After they had given me a ‘skull flap’ and accessed my brain they woke me up again and started asking me to do things in order to assess the effect of the surgery on my brain. I spoke a lot about whisky and Real Tennis and at one point I tried to order a double macchiato because I was feeling so sleepy. I remember thinking that I should really shut up as while I was boring them with stories about Real Tennis they were supposed to be concentrating on removing an angry badger from my brain. Four hours later and it was all over. George Samandouras and his team were able to successfully remove 90% of the tumour, the remaining 10% could not be removed safely as the tumour was growing out of, and not on, my brain so there was no clear line between it and the stuff that ideally I wanted to keep. I decided I was going to retrain to 10% left behind on learning a foreign language or all of the obscure two letter Scrabble words.