A bit more detail

Uma. The tumour.


A few weeks ago, some serious migraines and loss of control of my right arm and leg drove me to see the GP. Before I knew it I was in an ambulance on my way to A&E and waiting for brain scans. Turns out that Uma has been growing very slowly in my head for quite some time, merrily taking up more and more room from the left hand side of my brain. Just think how intelligent I could have been all this time.

Nowadays Uma is so big that the area of my brain that controls movement of my right arm and leg is getting a bit squashed, so it’s time to come out. On Tuesday I’ll be admitted to King’s College Hospital in Denmark Hill, which happens to be the best place for this kind of neurosurgery, and also where I live. 

In the run up to surgery I have been taking steroids to reduce the swelling around the tumour and alleviate the symptoms. I have had no pain since the first few nights in hospital but I’ve been incredibly low on energy and concentration. I have been using the time to get my head around what is about to happen, catching up with friends and family, and chopping my hair off ready for the big shave.

It has been very moving, the support I have received, and as usual in a crisis it becomes clear what I have been taking for granted all along. People are incredible, thank you all very much for the support and kindness you have wished me. It is very humbling.

I’d love to hear from you while I’m gone, although it’s pretty difficult to predict what recovery will look like so I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to respond, especially in the first few weeks. My incredible support team will be able to post updates here or can respond to tweets / facebook / my phone and email on my behalf. In the meantime, please don’t be afraid to get in touch!

See you soooon,
Jenx

jencoh@gmail.com / 
@jenniecohen



A note about the NHS.


The staff at King’s have been unbelievably brilliant, and I cannot state enough my support for the NHS. I have had many arguments throughout my life about my belief in the right to healthcare for all, regardless of how much money you have. This experience has only deepened that belief and my dedication to the cause.

The King's nurses are saints, the doctors incredible and the entire hospital operation is a logistical feat - day in day out. As a project manager I am astounded by the organisation of so many people and so many wards, across so many functions. The NHS is literally amazing.

The attitude my fellow patients and their families have shown to NHS nurses has made me sick, I have witnessed rudeness on the wards that I would never have thought possible in any situation in life - let alone this one. I have seen nurses respond with only respect and care in the face of such vitriol, that I feel very strongly about trying to address this. 

It’s something I hope to pick up post recovery, I really have been quite appalled.

Also - blood. I'm going to give lots of blood after this as I am sure to be receiving lots and it's something I should have been doing for years. Everyone, please love the NHS and give blood!







22 comments:

  1. Wow, Jen, shocked to hear this. Thinking of you. Get well soon. X

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  2. Thanks Simon! Hope you're well xx

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  3. Hi Jen,
    I'm a friend of Ollies and went to school with Wally and Chloe. Incredibly touching post and you've inspired me to try giving blood again after a bad experience the first time!

    You are in my thoughts. Best of luck with everything and keep your chin up.

    Danny Watts

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    1. That's brilliant news - thanks Danny!

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  4. jen - support team email address amendment - rebeka.cohen@gmail.com xxx

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    1. Oh thanks! Changed it. (Although I've been using the other one so I think it just works too...) xxx

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  5. Jen, this is heartening to read - your personal strength and your and Ollie's measured response is exactly in keeping with your amazing characters - but it still astounds me. You guys make a magnificent couple and will get through this better than most people I know. Our thoughts, prayers, hugs, blessings and positive vibes are with you. Love Jyoti and Govind. p.s. I totally agree with you about the NHS! x

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    1. Ah thanks Jyoti - lots of love to the whole family xxx

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  6. p.p.s I've never liked the name Uma and now I hate it even more - piss off Uma, you are not wanted here.

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  7. Jen, I was very sorry to hear the news from Oliver!
    Must have been such a shock for you both.
    I am sending you lots of healing, positive thoughts and crossing my fingers that surgery will be textbook and the recovery quick. I hope you have the best possible outcome.
    They may even give you some jazzy drugs...

    Healing hug,
    Jos
    (The sort-of-ginger-studio-Dane)

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    1. Thank Jos! I'm counting on the jazzy drugs please - silver lining :). lots of love to you both xx

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  8. I'm on 108 donations now Jen, and you would be welcome to any of them - course there's probably none on the shelves right now - mine's O- so prime stuff! Your writing is excellent although reading your blog I feel a bit like someone who is eavesdropping. I'm not going to say 'don't worry' because I'm sure you are - who wouldn't? When I had surgery (minor) last year, I was crying as I went down to theatre and still crying as I woke up - and I don't know why. Yes, actually I do - I was just frightened - frightened of going to sleep and waking up in the middle of things. Frightened of going to sleep and not waking up. Frightened of waking up - yes, quite especially that. It was OK, I didn't wake up at the wrong time, I did wake up when I should - it was OK. I hope it will be OK for you - and after this, lets face it - having your tonsils out will be a walk in the park! x Caroline

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    1. WOW 108?! That's amazing! That rings a lot of bells - it does seem very frightening, I'm glad it's not just me. Really hope to see you soon auntie c xxx

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  9. A tumour in the head is a bummer alright. A close friend recently had one removed from her abdomen... My hair was shaved off when I was eight years old... As you see, I can think of nothing intelligent or sensible to say. I lack the vocabulary... I'm inspired by your openness... I'm alive because of the NHS. They should improve it not destroy it... xx

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    1. Thanks for reading Deborah - I hope you're all keeping well xxx

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  10. Thinking of you this Wednesday morning, i really feel the atheist predicament here as i wish i could do something more powerful than just think! Tim and Miranda

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  11. Thinking of you this Wednesday morning, i really feel the atheist predicament here as i wish i could do something more powerful than just think! Tim and Miranda

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  12. Hope it all goes to plan to day Jen I am sure it will. Massive hugs to you both from all the Wallaces

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  13. Dear Jen,
    good to hear about your recovery. sending you lots of wishes from the little Sittilingi valley
    ravi n prema

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    1. Ravi! Good to hear from you! Thanks very much, I am recovering really well - mainly thanks to the amount of food mum is making me eat. Here's lots of wishes back to Sittilingi, I hope you are all well xxx

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  14. HI jen
    Read your blog - excellent.
    somewhere you wrote "What I'm really hoping for is a huge advance in technology, that magically removes tumours from inside a skull, without the need to open it. Ten years is a long time, surely this will be invented soon..."
    It has already - I had a benign brain tumour removed through my nose September 2011 at the Walgrave Hospital in Coventry. No shaved head or open skull and a rapid recovery time but have lost my sense of smell, a very small price to pay I think.

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    1. Wow I hadn't heard of that before - brilliant. I guess it depends on the location but that sounds much better than opening a skull. I hope you've fully recovered now!

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