Robin's heroic journey

After many years of working hard, my husband and I were looking forward to retirement and were planning to enjoy more time together.

But everything began to change when I started to notice small changes in the way I did things.

I'd felt a bit funny in my head so I went to my GP. I said ‘I think I've got Alzheimer's because I'm forgetting things’. He did lots of tests - after all that he said ‘no you haven't got Alzheimer's.’

At first it was a relief…the prospect of Alzheimer’s was frightening. But about a week later my friends also started to notice something wasn’t quite right.

We were having what I thought was a normal conversation and suddenly my friend said ‘Are you alright Robin?’...apparently I wasn’t making any sense.

I had gone from being confident and articulate to struggling to find the right words to say, it was one of the symptoms that really worried me.

I went back to see my GP wanting more answers. As it turns out my normal doctor was away on holiday so I saw a locum instead.

He started to take my blood pressure and do more tests but I said ‘no, I don't want anything like that….I want you to find me a neurologist, there's something wrong with my brain.’

Thankfully, the doctor referred me to a neurologist and within hours I was having a scan.

The scan showed there was a tumour in my brain. It was a huge shock and things started to move very quickly. I was referred for urgent surgery.

Despite being faced with brain surgery I was determined to hang on to hope.

I'm an optimist, I thought ‘well, I've got a tumour…but I'll have the surgery and it will be OK.’

Ten days later I was on the operating table. The surgery was difficult but the tumour was removed and sent off for testing. When the results came back I was given the worst possible news, my tumour was malignant and aggressive - a cure was unlikely.

I asked ‘how long have I got to live?’ and the doctor replied ‘six months to two years’. I remember it felt horrible, but I was determined to stay positive.

During my time at Cancer Society I have seen the shock and sadness a cancer diagnosis can bring, but I’ve also witnessed the power of hope.

My surgery was followed by chemotherapy, radiotherapy and more scans. I was put in touch with my Cancer Society nurse who came and visited me at home.

My nurse is wonderful – she is really knowledgeable. I did a lot of my own research and people keep telling me different things. It’s good to have her to put things in perspective. I can ask her anything….and she always makes me feel more positive.

My future is still uncertain but no one knows what lies ahead so I am choosing to stay positive. Having a cancer diagnosis has made me want to live every day.

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