40. My Beautiful Brain part I

It’s the 10th of May and I’m back in Turkey for another trip. I’ve lost count now of how many times I’ve been here. I think it’s somewhere between 15-20. I met my doctor this morning and as usual he asked me how I’ve been. It’s been three and a half weeks since my last visit. I’ve had a few light headed spells I tell him. How often? Most days over the past two weeks. They last for about half an hour. I feel like I could fall over, very dizzy, kind of what I expect vertigo feels like. I tell him I’m worried it’s a brain tumour. It might sound dramatic but that’s what happens when you’ve had cancer. Every ache, pain, headache, lump, bump, new sensation is a tumour. That’s the first thought every time. Have you had any other symptoms he asks… any memory loss? I have I say… I’ve put it down to ‘brain fog’, a side effect of chemo. It’s been happening for a while. Let’s get a brain MRI he says. Really? Are you worried? He says he’s not, any neurologic symptoms require a brain MRI. And I’ve never had one since diagnosis so no harm to have a look. I’m on edge now. Come to think of it, I’ve had a dull sensation over my right eye for a while. That’s probably where the tumour is. If there’s only one that is. There could be loads.

brain tumour

We chatted about the scan and he said it was a simple one, no fasting, no pain. I could get it done this afternoon. I was mid chemo session. I am hooked up to an IV for about 5 hours on chemo day. I would go to the scan centre after and can come back to the clinic tomorrow afternoon for results. I wonder how long that process would take if I was in Ireland. Would my doctor even listen to me in the first place? Would I even see him/her while I was on the chemo ward? I hear from people all the time that they never get to see their consultant once they’re in the system receiving treatment. How long would I have to wait for an appointment to voice my concern about feeling light headed? And how long would it take for me to be given a scan? How many weeks would I have to wait for results? I hear the waiting time for smear test results is now seven weeks. I’m counting my blessings here with the level of care I receive. It really is incomparable to what I’ve witnessed at home. Yes, I’m paying big money for it. But I could bet my life on it that my doctors in Turkey earn a fraction of what consultants in Ireland earn and work twice as many hours. They’re available to me 24/7 on the phone. I have a direct line and can call or text if I’m ever worried about anything. Of course I don’t abuse that by ringing at 3am freaking out over a pain in my little toe but I am in regular contact while I’m at home. It is very comforting and reassuring to have them at the end of the line at any time. I digress… can you tell I’ve still got a bee in my bonnet about Irish consultants? The cervical check scandal has brought up my discontent with the whole system again but I’ll leave that for another blog post. Back to me and my beautiful brain.

brain scan

I always thought that if the cancer spread to my brain, I was a gonner. I’d seen it happen with a few people. It gets to the brain and it’s too far gone to do anything with. I always thought I’d give in if it got that far. It’s time to give up, it has won, why go on struggling when there’s no coming back from this? That was until I read Kris Hallenga’s most recent blog. She is a superwoman. She’s had stage 4 breast cancer for the past 9 years and it recently went to her brain. She had fifteen lesions. FIFTEEN! And she has managed to zap them all with gamma knife targeted radiation. She’s now travelling through Canada in a campervan with some friends and is living her life to the fullest. So actually, maybe if it is in my brain, I won’t be a gonner. I can get through that too. Sure why wouldn’t I? I’m a superwoman too. I can do anything.

Results tomorrow…. Light a candle for me, hold me in your thoughts, send me positive vibes… I’ll be back with the news. Here’s hoping it’s good…. Fingers, toes and everything crossed. Good night for now…


  1. Mairead, the candle is lit and we are sending all our energies in your direction. Saying a prayer too. Julie

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