A nurse who was diagnosed with a brain tumour has spoken out about her treatment and recovery in a bid to raise awareness.
Donna Brodrick, of Haynes Road, Tarring, wants to raise awareness about brain tumours after her sudden illness.
“I didn’t really have any symptoms,” said Donna, who is a wife, mother, stepmother and grandmother.
“I only had confusion. I had no major headaches.”
Donna said her husband Simon became concerned about her confused state and following a visit to the GP she was referred to Worthing Hospital for a CT scan.
“They told my husband to expect the worst,” she added.
“I don’t really remember what happened. I was so confused.”
Test results confirmed the tumour was benign.
Donna was referred to Hurstwood Park in Haywards Heath – neurosurgery has since moved to Brighton – for the operation, and stayed in hospital for three weeks.
“They transferred me and put me on medication and anti-seizure drugs.
“It was quite a big operation but I was quite positive,” she added.
“You don’t have a choice really. The tumour was right at the front. It was quite scary because there are risks of strokes and seizures.
“I had very good treatment but it does change you.
“You look at life very differently.”
Donna, who praised the staff at both hospitals, said her medical background might have helped her stay calm during her treatment.
“All of a sudden I was the patient. Because I’m medical and my family is medical you feel safe and I don’t think you mind so much.
“I’ve also had a lot of support from my family and friends. I’ve been very lucky. I’m still here.
“However there is a small risk it can come back after ten years.”
Donna has been off work for six months, from her job working in the community for Kardinal Healthcare in Worthing.
“It came on quite suddenly, I was working full time at the time,” she added.
Since the operation, Donna has had visits from the neuro team who she said ‘make sure things are still working’.
“My daughter had to stay with me for the first week of recovery,” said Donna.
“When you come out you are quite disorientated.
“They want to make sure someone will be with you.”
Before her diagnosis, Donna was getting ready to fly to New York for her daughter’s 21st birthday celebrations but was too ill to make the trip.
“I just want to raise awareness for other people and let them know that if in doubt they should just go to the GP or to hospital,” she said.
Donna also has a friend who is raising money for Brainstrust at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Parlour in Goring. Brainstrust is a charity which supports people who are coping with a brain tumour.
Donna said: “I asked the doctors if I had it all my life.
“But they said they didn’t know or thought perhaps and infection had made it a bit more prominent.
Donna is now waiting to hear back from the DVLA about when she will be allowed to drive and get back to work again.
“My job is very dependent on driving.
“My car is just sitting out on the drive.
“I love my job and I can’t wait to get back to it.”
Find out more about coping with brain tumours at http://www.brainstrust.org.uk/