I don’t think it really matters what type of brain tumour you have, you still freak out at the thought that you have one. In my case, right from the first CT scan, the doctors thought that I had a benign brain tumour. So I felt indeed lucky that it was not cancerous.
It is hard to imagine that you can have a 3cm diameter tumour in your brain and have no symptoms whatsoever to warn you that something was wrong. In my case, suddenly as I finished lunch I had unbelievable pain on the left side of my head. It was all consuming and I could not speak or think. All I could do was hold my head and gasp and moan as I tried to remain conscious through the terrible pain.
The pain lasted for about 15 minutes and as it eased off a little my husband decided to call an ambulance. But first he asked me if I thought I had facial neuralgia which I had some years before and the pain was similar. But I could not understand what he was saying.
It turned out that I had had a stroke. The paramedics and the doctor at my local country hospital thought the same thing. When they did the CT scan it showed that I had indeed had a stroke but they also found the brain tumour.
Now that was a double whammy! I was taken to a major hospital in Melbourne by ambulance and to my surprise I was not too stressed about everything. I now think that because of the stroke my mind was in a sort of fog and I could not fully comprehend just what was happening to me.
Initially I thought that the pain was caused by the stroke, but in fact it was caused by the tumour and that was the first and only symptom I had. Because the tumour had pressed the brain stem out of alignment, it was indeed serious. Once the brain stem is damaged it leads to death.
But the real life threatening problem now was that the surgeon had to get 7 centimetres inside the brain to reach the tumour. There is a lot of damage that can occur when a knife has to go so far into the brain!
My tumour was a benign brain tumour but I will have to undergo MRI scans and checkups for the rest of my life as these tumours can grow back. You can read more about just what happened to me and how I coped with it in my book ‘Thank God I Had a Stroke’. There is a short description here.
Tips and Hints
When you suffer severe pain (even bad headaches) you should seek medical help. It is probably best to go to the emergency room at a hospital as they have the medical equipment that can help with the diagnosis. But if you do decide to see your doctor, ask for a CT scan to be arranged, even if the doctor does not think it is necessary. There are so many people suffering from brain tumours these days that it is better to be safe than sorry. As with all of these serious problems, if found early there is a better chance of survival.