Rebecca Harris Story
Age: 29 (25 when diagnosed).
Tumour type: Third ventricle cystic legion (Pineal cyst).
Diagnosis date: 24/09/2019.
Symptoms: An astigmatism, confusion, headaches, abnormal amounts of sleep.
Treatment/Recovery: Ventriculostomy to relieve the hydrocephalus, 1 week stay in hospital + 2 weeks at home before returning to Jersey.
Support from Charity: Buddies meetings, post surgery counselling, access to a bus pass to maintain independence.
How they felt emotionally point of diagnosis: At the time I was very confused and didn’t know what was going on, all I knew was that I was being flown to Southampton for surgery but not sure why. Post surgery I felt incredibly sad and helpless. I didn’t know why it had happened to me, I’d just ran my first half marathon, I’d got married the month before and suddenly I was in a hospital bed not allowed to go anywhere or do any of the things I used to do. I felt down and sorry for myself for quite a while following the surgery. It took me a long time to come to terms with what had happened as it was all so quick and I wasn’t sure what the future held for me. It wasn’t until I had the counselling that I could really start to let go of the emotions I was holding back and look to move forwards with my life.
The future: Returned to work full time 6 weeks after it happened but once the pandemic hit, I realised life was too short to stay doing something that I didn’t enjoy so I changed career into an industry I am truly passionate about. Since my brain surgery, I still suffer with short term memory loss and can get fatigued sometimes, however I have learnt to manage that and know when I’m at my best (the mornings) and when to take a break and have a rest. I’ve since walked the Island Walk (for the second time), ran numerous 5km, 10km, half marathons and even completed my first full marathon raising £2,000 for JBTC in the process. Sports and fundraising is definitely where my passion lies and brain surgery has truly made me reevaluate my priorities and helped me to be kinder to myself. Although it’s not been an easy journey, I think it has proved to me how resilient I am as a person and that the future can still be bright and full of good times. You may just need a little help to get there.