2006 feels like a long way away now, and this this is where it all began…
Since that letter, many wonderful doctors, friends and family have supported me along the way to help me across the finishing line.
I’ll never forget when Mr Richard Gullan, my surgeon-to-be, said with a wry, practical smile: “If you had to choose a type of tumour – you’d choose yours, but if you had to choose where to put it – you wouldn’t choose yours!” I will always be indebted to his talent, skill and patience through my four-hour operation.
Dr Lina Nashef was my first contact point; she delicately broke the news to me and guided me through the first part of my story. Her optimism is clear from re-reading the letter above – the kind of letter you never hope to be written about you (but let’s face it, one in six people experience some kind of brain condition in their lives).
When I first went to collect my new prescription drugs, alone and very self-aware, Chris from Brockwell Park Pharmacy clearly understood my delicate state, and throughout the five years I needed those drugs, his reassuring smile never let up.
Bizarrely at the time, my mum was working as a secretary to Prof Bell, a neurosurgeon. When hearing about my case, he very selflessly stepped up to the plate, offering advice and support in any which way he could. Part of his team at the time was Dr Vladimir Petrik who made time to be there when I woke up after the operation – offering a familiar face when I was at my most vulnerable.
These people I shall never forget, and owe so much gratitude it’s hard to even mention them in enough bright light.
Beyond these amazing souls, I also owe great love and respect to my wife Monika who I truly believe had a harder job than I did throughout this whole mess. She had so much more to take care of… I only had to get my head round one eventuality of the operation – because the other one didn’t involve me in it! She has held my hand throughout this whole “adventure” – always ready to laugh or cry with me.
The other two ladies in my life, my mum and my sister Carolyn stood strong through-out. I now know just how anxious they were at the time, but when I needed them most they were always there – keeping their own worries in check – to give me love and support.
And finally thanks to my two amazing kids, Lukas and Olivia, who’s smiles and blissful naivety made it all worth fighting for.
I truly appreciate that I am one of the lucky ones.
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