My Story – RE

When I was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2011, I didn’t realise then, the effect it would have
on my personal/working life in years to come.

I had three major operations, a course of radiotherapy and recovery time. Since then I have noticed various traits which are different.The problem is known as Executive Dysfunction and this is caused by damage to the frontal lobe areas of the brain. In my case, a benign tumour was the cause of this dysfunction, which I am glad to say, has improved greatly since joining Headway Salisbury and South Wiltshire in October 2015. Cognitive therapy has been a great medicine.

Another thing is that I have become short tempered. This is not a regular occurrence but happens from time to time. I put this down to general frustration at not realising how a brain tumour could change the way I act both physically and mentally.Having accepted this condition, I have learned to mediate with myself i.e. the way I behave in both a professional and social environment. A case of, think first, assess the situation and engage the problem differently.Frustration versus common sense – I had to find a way around certain scenarios and mentally defuse the problem.

Tiredness has been a common factor since my operations. Fatigue at the end of a day is not
unusual. As my pituitary gland was destroyed by the tumour, medical alternatives i.e. drugs
have to replicate what the gland originally did. I have come to terms with this condition, but late nights have sadly become a thing of the past. If for any reason I do have a late night, my alert state is not so good the next day.

Vision has also been affected – damage to both eyes, but luckily the visual pathways leading to
the brain are not affected greatly. One eye balances the sight for the other. Luckily I can still drive, read and watch TV. My optometrist is pleased with my current results – no change for over a year. Thankfully, I have come to accept this loss and hopefully my eyes will maintain a balanced approach.

However former work colleagues who I thought of as friends have sadly disappeared. Again,
why? I believe that if you mention the words “brain injury” they naturally assume avoid at all
costs. “He’s a vegetable and not worth knowing”. At the time this upset me, but thankfully I have got over this with help and support from other areas.

My mother, her family and friends on the other hand have been very supportive and helpful.
They seem to understand the situation, how to deal with it and more importantly react in a
positive, mature and thoughtful manner.Maturity brings with it a better understanding of the situation to hand.

How do I feel? At times I have feelings of isolation and regret. I’ve put this down to my condition and overcoming a barrier I never expected.

Well to sum up I have good and bad days. I’m glad that a few close friends have understood the
situation and dealt with it in a professional and adult way.However I get cross with the lack of understanding in my working environment.

Better education on the subject of brain injury is required; and its effects on people in both a
working and personal environment. The healing process takes time and I for one better
understand my situation. It’s sad to think however that not everyone has the same courage and
resilience to understand brain injuries better. If they were in my shoes would they see things
differently?

A mirror image of life is not always as clear as it seems. From the outside things look OK.
Until people understand the inner workings of a person with this injury, will they come to
understand not only the person, but themselves better as well.

In conclusion, they say that time is a great healer and since my injury, I am coming around to
believing this. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but building work is going well. A new foundation is now making way for a solid road to recovery.

Thank you HEADWAY!