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  • Writer's pictureA. Murphy

The diagnosis

Updated: Jan 25, 2020

Before my appointment at the neurological department I was told I had to have an MRI scan. I don't know why I never thought too much about what could be wrong. I'm not a worrier so even though they were clearly looking for something I simply never really thought about the serious issues I could be facing. It was a bit stupid of me really.

I had my scan. I consider myself a very good patient, so I tried to be as helpful as possible. I stayed very still, didn't move, even when I had an itch, didn't even have music to listen to and it took a very long while. But it was just something that I just had to do.

When my appointment with the neuro department came around it was my mum that came with me.

She has been an unbelievable pillar for me in all of this, giving me everything I need, and she was determined to be with me for anything medical. I suppose she thought about it all more than I did. It hard for me to think that I caused her emotional stress, and I know that I have, that I still am. Yet there is nothing I can do about it. It would have hurt her far more if she hadn't known. My father too.

So she was there for my diagnosis.

Looking back at it now I think my appointment was strange but I'm sure the doctor had her reasons. Before anything she had me do a lot of tests. I had to grip her fingers, push and pull, eye charts, in all of which I did just fine (I think). The only test I know I didn't do great with was 'the walk'. I'm sure many are familiar with it, it is a test often used to prove if people are drunk or not. Walk one foot directly in front of the other, toe to heel, and try not to fall over. I couldn't balance properly and nearly ended up on the floor.

Then she sat me down and told me I had a brain tumour.

People must imagine that I remember every second, every word she said. Or maybe that it was all a blur, that I was so occupied inside my own head that I passed ghost-like through it all. In truth it was like anything else, I remember what happened but not specifically every detail. I could tell you the doctor was a Western Asian woman, but I don't remember her name. I'm pretty sure she showed by the scan of my brain but I don't remember what it looked like (which is a shame really because I asked for a copy to point at later and go "Ha! I beat you!" which I never received).

I had never considered a brain tumour. It had never occurred to me, so it was quite the surprise when she said that that was definitely what it was. Maybe I should've cried, or raged, or gone into denial, but it simply said "Okay."

She told me I was definitely having surgery. She told me that they would call me when a bed was available. She told me that they would take good care of me. I hadn't even left the hospital when I got the call. My mother and I stopped at one of the hospital cafés to eat lunch. While I was excited for a chocolate pastry she was getting upset, more than I was.

Of course, I didn't have all the information. At that point it was just a regular old brain tumour.

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