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,
email@example.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!