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Sorry, Mr Woodward, the scan results show... . (LEWC)

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posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 05:57 AM
After the scan, I was a little concerned when the receptionist told me to get a cup of tea and come back in half an hour. Almost like being told to take a seat proceeding the delivery of some bad news.

I had known for the best part of 4/5 years that something wasn't right, In fact I knew something was seriously wrong. I had started to have strange pins and needles feelings down my left hand side, I first noticed it in my first year at University. I put down the strange sensations to an unhealthy lifestyle of little sleep and lots of drinking and other things students do with too much time on their hands. As the years went on the symptoms and sensations got worse. I had a numb feeling down the side of my mouth and would get cold sensations in my arm and leg on my left hand side. It was a slow process, that at times in vain hope I thought was improving.

I still managed to get on with my life, leaving University and finding a Job in London. However it was not long until my symptoms took a nasty turn and I was having small stroke like episodes. They would come on without warning and last for maybe 5 minutes. It was one day at work , when talking to my boss, that I had one of these small seizures. I couldn't speak properly, despite trying my hardest.My boss could tell something wasn't quite right and for me there was no way I could get away from hiding any more.

It was at this point I decided I had to go to the hospital. I was working in Southwark at the time, so I walked up along the Thames to St Thomas's hospital. It had always been one of my favorite walks in London, taking in the sites along the way,

I went straight into the A&E departement, waited my turn, then saw a doctor who did some tests on me. I remember lying in the cubicle, wire's coming out of me, looking at the ceiling, wondering how it had all gone so wrong and how was I going to tell my parents about all this. I was 22 at the time and terrified.

I had managed to hide this from my family and my friends. I had told one friend at university after a few drinks that "I think I will die young", but it was more an off the cuff remark, looking for help in some immature way. I just could not imagine how my parents were going to react. I knew they would be devastated, so I wanted to protect them from what was happening. I was still managing to hide my symptoms and in serious denial, I moved to a better paid Job, while all this was going on so was still capable of impressing employers at the time.

The doctor did anEEG test on my heart, but my heart was fine, so he arranged for me to see a neurologist who organised an MRI scan. The day before the scan I watched an episode of the Simpsons, The one where Homer has a Crayon Lodged in his Brain. On the way to the Hospital for the scan. At the pedestrian crossing. The WALK sign had the word BRAIN graffitied over the top. It seemed like i was seeing signs everywhere. It was a miserable September morning on the day I arrived for the scan. I was quite superstitious at the time and the signs were not looking good.

I got back from my cup of tea after the scan. My Neurologist was there looking like he had seen a ghost. He couldn't quite look me in the eye and took me off to a quiet corner. I was with my brother at the time who had no idea how bad my symptoms had been, but knew something was wrong. The time had come. The time had finally come to find out what the hell has been going on with me for all these years.

The doctor told us to take a seat and delivered the news, "Mr Woodward the scan results show a large abscess on the right side of your Brain".

posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 07:26 AM
I had to wait a while to see if there was more as I didn't want to disrupt the flow. So now I'm hanging here, hoping for more to come.

It's a riveting story but it was cut off midstream. There are so many directions it could still go.

As it is, to leave it there is analogous to feeling a horrible pain but losing consciousness before finding out what hit you. Don't leave us in pain! We feel it too, Mr Woodward. Empathy is a powerful thing.

posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 09:28 AM
reply to post by woodwardjnr

SnF. I was captivated as I read.

Please, however, do not leave us hanging! Need. More.

posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 09:40 AM
Thanks, this is the first story I have written since primary school, but seeing as this is about life changing stories. I thought I'd have a go at giving my story. I wish I had the writing skills of others on this site, but I guess you gotta start somewhere.

posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 09:45 AM
reply to post by CosmicEgg

To be continued.....

posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 09:51 AM
reply to post by woodwardjnr

S+F Woodward.

Looking forward for the rest of the story.

posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 09:53 AM
reply to post by woodwardjnr

Everyone started SOMEWHERE. Practice makes perfect. It's like life, you don't know what it's about until you live it.

I do hope you continue.....

posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 11:03 AM
Thanks for the kind words. I was going to continue but, it is quite emotional and I'm busy with family today, but I have a spare half hour.

The Reaction

On receipt of the news, my brother let out an almost animalistic groan, recoiling in his chair. I however, placed my head in my hands, pretty silent really. I was in a state of shock and relief that something would finally be done and this thing that has effected me for the last 5 years has finally been identified.

I was not allowed to leave the Hospital grounds, I was put on a high dosage of steroids immediately, this is to stop the swelling in the brain. It also has the effect of making you extremely pumped up.

I phoned my parents who had started to worry something was wrong and my girlfriend too, who also knew something was wrong. The calls were short but emotional. My parents were at home about an hour away and my girlfriend was on the train back up to University in Manchester. They were all with me with a few hours. My girlfriends father was the first on the scene. My girlfriends parents lived near the hospital and I had grown as fond of them as I had their daughter, so it was extremely emotional to embrace someone close.

Within hours I had most of my family and friends from all parts of the country down. I had some tests and was allowed to go out to a restaurant down the road for some food. I had a protective bubble of friends and family around me. I had become very emotional at this point and was breaking down every time I saw a new friend or family member appear . It was the look in their eyes that just set me off. A sadness and a shocked look. It's hard work crying so many tears, but it does make you feel better.

At the time I remember saying that, I had had life pretty easy until now and now I was going to have to face a fight. I'm young and fit and should be up for the fight. the steroids definitely helped with this attitude. They had their downsides too

My girlfriend and I spent a very uncomfortable night in my hospital room. It was a single matress with a plastic lining on it that we kept getting stuck to. We decided it to drag it to the floor to make it a little more comfortable for 2. It was tough to sleep I was pumped on steroids, sweating and facing a life or death situation, not to mention the bell toll of Big Ben every 15 mins, just there to remind you how long you'd been awake.

The following morning, I was up and eager to get started. I wanted this thing out of my head as soon as possible. I had more tests and examinations . One doctor whilst checking me out told me "we can perform miracles now".

I wasn't sure how to take this as an agnostic. I wasn't really relying on miracles but good old science. Still it was one of just many remarks people would make that seem to last in my memory.

I was sent over to the National Brain institute in Russell square London that evening, where I was to operated on the Monday. By this time most of my family and friends were in London, either by my side or in the surrounding pubs and restaurants dealing with the news the best they knew how. No one really knew how to react. It was a new situation for everyone.

When I arrived at Russell Square the sense of lonliness seemed to grip me. Here I was surrounded by my nearest and dearest and yet never felt so alone. I knew no one who had ever been through anything like this, never been in hospitals before never known anyone with cancer. I just wanted to see someone else in the hospital who was in the same situation. I was put onto a ward with a guy who had been beaten up really badly, a young kid who was asleep all the time and some old lonely guy who snoored. Never really knew what was wrong with him.

After my first night things got more serious. I was taken for scans and had my brain mapped out on a 3d computer. I had to sign forms, consenting to the surgery. The survival rate was in the 90% range so I wasn't concerned about the surgery. The doctors and consultants at the Royal Institue are so professional, you can't help trusting their every word. They seem to have a gravitas to their words that instills confidence in their ability. They are brain surgeons after all.

So on the saturday morning I am allowed out on to the Garden in Russell Square, we arranged a picknick, with all my friends making some food. It was quite an amazing day and one that I will remember for the rest of my life.

We took over the garden with about 40-50 of us, friends had come from all over the country. It was almost like everyone you would expect at your funeral, but you can enjoy it while your still alive. It was a beautiful day despite what I was going through. The whole time at the hospital had some amazing moments for my friends and family who all bonded over the experience.

TBC... Surgery

edit on 7-7-2012 by woodwardjnr because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 11:50 AM

The monday morning after the great weekend, I woke up pretty hungry , but "I was nil by mouth" for my surrgery. I remember wearing a gown, that leaves your backside hanging out and a pair of tights to stop any DVT. YOu basically have to give up any sense of pride or privacy when it gets to this stage.

Anyway I am wheeled down to the anesthesiologist, where after counting to almost 3 I'm out for the count. 4 1/2 hours later I recall waking up while in the process of pissing all over the recovery room. I was in a state of confusion and had no idea where I was. I just remember 2 nurses holding me down and trying to get me to pee into some cardboard jug. I thought one of the nurses was my girlfriend and was asking what s going on. It was a bizarre experience. I remember being in that recovery room and hear "I've got the power" by Snap , playing on the radio that the nurses were listening to. For seem reason it really hit home with me. "I've got the power". I had survived surgery.

I was put on the high dependancy unit for 2 nights, which was a grim experience. The effect of the steroids was so strong that I could not sleep. So was awake with the sound of phlem being cleared from the sicker patients throats. It was a dark couple of nights. The lack of sleep became an issue for me, as I just could not get to sleep on a ward. During this time the family and friends continued to make much use of the local pub and resturant. It seemed some wern't having such a bad time. Still people took on their roles , organising visiters and length of visit.

Back on the main unit. My walking began to improve and despite my lack of sleep I was recovering quickly. I did flip out at one nurse with a tirade of verbal abuse after she interrupted me sleeping one afternoon. She left in tears. I felt awful , but I'd been awake for nearly 3 days and was finally dropping off. I did apologise and buy her some chocolates. The surgeons had removed "most , if not all of the tumour". It was large and had been growing for some years, forcing the right hemisphere of the brain into the left.

A few days later, I was ready to leave hospital and go back to the family home in rural Oxfordshire. the perfect place to recoup. I thought it was all over and I would be back to work in weeks. This wasn't to be.

I was diagnosed with a grade 3 oligodendroglioma brain tumour.

I'm going to leave it here for today. If I get chance I will do some more. I'm trying to keep it a short story and entertaining at the same time. But it has been cathartic to get some of it down. It is 10 years ago this September that those word were spoken.

edit on 7-7-2012 by woodwardjnr because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 02:21 PM
My Brother, I am so pleased to see you making an entry in the Short Story forum and all ready knowing some of your heroic tale of survival, what better time and place to make a splash in the short story waters than this contest! Great job, my friend. Please keep it up.

posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 07:42 PM
reply to post by woodwardjnr

Thanks for sharing what is surely a nightmare. I'm so happy for you that you are surrounded by caring and loving family and friends that are helping you celebrate life.

posted on Jul, 8 2012 @ 04:07 AM

While I was recovering from my surgery at home. I was under the illusion that everything was over and as I said, I would be back to work within a few weeks. It was one evening with my family at home, that my brother informed me about the different grades of tumour you can have. Grade 4 being the worst and most deadly. This was news I didn't want to hear, I was mentally preparing for a return to normal life.

I would find out my grade of tumour the following week at a meeting with my oncologist. Waiting for that result in the waiting room was one of the longest waits in my life. The surgery was extremely busy and we were forced to wait for a couple of hours.

After what seemed like a life time, the Doctor finally called us to his room. He explained that I had a Grade 3 oligodendroglioma. When I heard this news, my reaction was " I now know what is going to kill me". It hit me like a train and really set my mental attitude back.

The Doctor however, was keen to highlight that although It was Malignant, as far as Brain Tumours go he described it as a "diamond in the rough", when it comes to Tumours as it responds well to a combination of Radio and Chemotherapy.

I would have 6 weeks of Radiotherapy, 5 days a week for 6 weeks. I began the Radiotherapy in mid November. Most days me and my dad would get on the train to London in the morning and come back in the dark November evenings. I was having Radiotherapy over my birthday and right up to Christmas. I will never forget lying on the table with my plastic bespoke mask that kept my head in place on the treatment table listening to the Christmas songs on the Radio while having my brain zapped with radiation.

I tried to use a lot of visualisation techniques on while having radiotherapy. I would imagine the laser being beemed into my head was chipping away t the tumor every session. I don't know if it made much difference, but was slightly empowering in such a situation.

I finished the treatment 2 days before Christmas. That year My girlfriend would come to stay with my family over Christmas. It was another great time with lots of friends and family calling in.

On Boxing Day, I was in for a nasty little shock. My and my girlfriend were in the bath and she was washing my hair, when it all fell out. It had been coming out , but it really all came out that morning. I remember breaking down, when I saw myself in the mirror. When you see yourself with a bald head, it really hits home that you are different and ill. Everyone can see the scars and the bald head.

The following year, I began visiting a counsellor, provided by my cancer hospital. It was probably one of the best things I ever did. I saw my counsellor for about 10 weeks. I have never cried so much in my whole life during those sessions. It was a mental nightmare trying to come to terms with what had happened and how people were reacting to the situation. Yet the experience of being able to talk to someone not directly effected was extremely useful for me and I was sure to recommend my counsellors services to others going through the same.

I came across quite a few other young people with tumours, so many infact that we started up our own support group at St Thomas's Hospital, called Brain Teasers. The name wasn't my idea but was voted on, as people wanted to make it seem not so serious and scary. It was good to meet others going through the same, but also sad seeing so many young people effected by the disease. As one of the founders of the group I had to do some media appearences, which found me on the Sofa for BBC Breakfast and interviewed on City Hospital a BBC daytime show. So I managed to get my 15 minutes of fame in the process.

I began my Chemotherapy in the spring. It was an injection and some pills to take every 6 weeks for 3 months. Now Chemo was not the nightmare I was expecting. The best way I could describe it, is like being badly hungover for about 10 days. If you can get comfortable and get fussed over by everyone, it really wasn't as tough as I had feared. Just watched loads of films and slept in bed. Still I was glad when it was all over. I moved back down to London to live with my girlfriend and her parents and had a great couple of years together.

Yet as I began to feel much better, the dynamics of our relationship changed. I think we were in love, but things changed when I started to get fitter and less in need of caring for. I think my girlfriend needed me to need her and when that dynamic change it changed beyond repair and I ended up breaking it off. It was one of the hardest things I'd ever done, as she had been amazing throughout everything. Stuck by my 100% and showed me so much affection when I needed it most. She still is an amazing woman and I'm glad we are still friends. It probably was a little thoughtless of me to break it off as I did, but I have apologised since.

posted on Jul, 8 2012 @ 04:10 AM
So that is where This story will end.

I left my girlfriend, went travelling and had the time of my life.

Mr Woodward is still alive and well, despite the tumour returning in 2007. But that's another story.

posted on Jul, 8 2012 @ 07:07 AM
Well worth the wait and well worth the effort on your part. Thank you.

So how about a sequel? :>

posted on Jul, 8 2012 @ 12:41 PM
reply to post by woodwardjnr

It's truly amazing to read a first account of all you have been through. I've already given my flag, but I will say that you have the fortitude of ten men. Thanks for sharing so much with us.

posted on Jul, 8 2012 @ 03:52 PM
Very nicely written - and what a story

S&F - and stay well Mr. Woodward

posted on Jul, 9 2012 @ 05:44 PM

What a roller coaster for you to go through and thank you for giving us the privilege to read it! S&F I hope you are continuing to do as well as you can. Thank you for sharing such a meaningful thing with us. Keep up the good work!

edit on 7/9/2012 by Kangaruex4Ewe because: (no reason given)

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