Go back

Vanessa talks about her experience of brain surgery.


Click to read the transcript

All through my twenties, I used to go to the doctors, and nothing ever really got done. I’d just see the same doctor and it was, “OK, I’ll see you again in twelve months’ time.” And nothing was happening, and then I remember I got used as a guinea pig to try out some different tablets and it was that specific doctor that actually said, “You know, we might be able to do something for you.” And he put me in touch with somebody else, another surgeon, and they did lots of tests. And then, said, “You know, yes, it’s possible that we could probably do something for you.” And they always tell you there’s a third chance of success, there’s a third chance of complete success, a third chance of success but you’ll still have medication, and a third chance of failure. But really you’ve got no option, you have to go for it. If you don’t, you’ll always be saying “What if?”. And that third is worth it, to go for it.

So I had lots and lots of tests, very invasive tests, one of them was actually putting electrodes directly onto my brain. So they had to drill holes into my skull and place electrodes on the brain. That was actually more painful than the actual operation. There was lots of tests. It took a good three years’ worth of testing, what with waiting lists and things, by the time the operation actually came through. The operation was actually just to remove the tumour, once they’d actually located it, and it was in a place where it was operable. That’s normally the problem with most of them, they can’t operate, it’s because it’s in a … But yes, they cut my skull open and removed it, so I was bald for a little while. It’s grown back now!

My last seizure was the actual night before the operation. I remember having a seizure in the hospital room. And then the next day you go off for the operation, I did very well, I came out of intensive care well before they told me I would. I was back to work in six weeks. And I never had another fit since. The relief, it’s wonderful! And the operation itself, you don’t know… it’s painful, don’t get me wrong, you’re sore. But it’s well worth it. I’d always advise anybody who can to go for it, you’ve got nothing to lose. After the operation I learnt to drive. Which was the main thing. Living here in rural Wales, I’d have never been able to move, and live here, without being able to drive because of the practicalities of it. It gave me that additional independence, and with the independence comes the confidence. It just gives you that added confidence to try new things, and to just do it.