So on Monday 8th September 2008, instead of joining my friends for a second year of college, I was travelling with my parents up to Wimbledon. Unfortunately we weren’t going to see the tennis, we were going to see the brain specialist, who was going to confirm whether I had a brain tumour or not. I wasn’t particularly nervous about this meeting, but I was still in a bit of a sombre mood from what I’d been told on the Friday before. I wasn’t particularly worried about it either. I was more worried about the fact that I was missing my first day back at college, missing the first of my lessons where everyone picks their seat for the rest of the year. I could see myself walking in the next day and being told to sit on the end of the row of tables, where no-one would notice me and no-one would speak to me for the rest of the year. Having had my first year go that way, it wasn’t something I was willing to repeat.
Walking into the building was strange, I had expected it to be more of a hospital kind of setting but to me it looked more like an office, surely we’ve come to the wrong place, I thought. I had a bad feeling about that place and I really didn’t want to go and see someone who thought I had a brain tumour. In my head at that moment I was certain that I didn’t, I mean how could I? I was only 17 years old and teenagers don’t get brain tumours. I wanted to believe what the neurologist said only a few days before, that he didn’t think I had a tumour, he thought it was due to damage in my nerves.
I don’t remember much of the meeting. We went in and the man introduced himself to me as Simon Stapleton. We sat down and he started talking. I can’t remember what he said exactly but I remember thinking, why should we believe him, he’s wrong, I don’t have a tumour. What I do remember was him saying that he would like to do a biopsy on my brain, to see what was actually happening in there. I looked at my Mum feeling panicked, as I had no idea what the word biopsy meant. My Mum explained to me what was going to happen and again the thought of an operation on my brain didn’t scare me. I knew I would be asleep during it so it wasn’t going to hurt or anything, except for the needle that would put me to sleep, now that was something to be scared about!!
Mr Stapleton told me that he would book me in for the operation for the coming Thursday. He asked to make sure that I didn’t catch a cold or anything similar as this would prevent him from doing the operation. My Mum turned to me and said ‘Well you won’t go to college tomorrow then, as you always pick up a cold in your first days back’. I tried to protest as I didn’t want to miss more of my first lessons, but hey I knew I couldn’t beat my Mum with this one!
The next few days were spent not doing much, I was pretty much in quarantine, my Mum not wanting me to catch a cold or any kind of virus that could scupper me having the biopsy operation in a few days time. I remember my little brother who had gone back to school was told to stay away from me, just in case, which I wasn’t too bothered about! I had messaged my friends to tell them I wouldn’t be back at college for the rest of the week and told them that I was going to hospital on Thursday for the operation. They showed their concerns and wished me luck and that they were looking forward to seeing me soon.
I wasn’t thinking about the operation really. Completely missing the point that having an operation on your brain is really something that is quite serious, a slip of a knife here or there could do something that would make my situation 100 times worse. Although Mr Stapleton was adamant that I did have a brain tumour in my head, I was still certain that I didn’t. I remember thinking wait till after the operation, he’ll see that he’s wrong, then he’ll give me some tablets to cure my wonky left arm and leg and everything will be back to normal. I will prove him wrong on Thursday….