Life beyond a Brain Aneurysm

I’ve always loved cooking, so it very natural thing for me to cook for family and friends. It was five years ago for my birthday I organised a murder mystery dinner party for my birthday. Little did I realise that it was my own health that would creat the biggest mystery. 

Running your own business can be greatly rewarding but it can also by stressful, especially if you have an event like Cheltenham Festival Races looming and a large part of your stock is created by yourself. So in February of 2014 I was burning the midnight oil most days so when I had a headache that just went on and on, no alarm bells rung( probably couldn’t hear them for the pounding in my head) I just kept shallowing the paracetamol. However the headache started to be accompanied with failing vision, at first it just got more difficult to thread a needle. I find it hard to believe I could have been so stupid but still I did nothing about it.

The night of the dinner party arrived all my guest had made an amazing effort with their costumes, we had an American heiress my daughter Kaylie, a black tie and tails lawyer James Hanby, the only gamekeeper I’ve ever met who sounded just like Del Boy Steve, a German wine connoisseur Kate, Chris was type cast as my scientist husband, and two other friends Ally and Pete had scoured charity shops to create 1920s outfits even down to shoes. So the wine flowed and did we get the murderer right I really can’t remember because by 12 o’clock my head hurt so much, I remember thinking please god let them all go home!

The next day we were due to go and have coffee with my stepdaughter and grandchildren. Yes I still had a pounding headache but it wasn’t until I actually couldn’t see well enough in the mirror to do my makeup that I said I’ve got to get this looked at. Being a Saturday I thought I’d have a go at ringing the NHS helpline after a long chat I was knocked sideways when he finished by saying right I’ve made you an appointment they will be expecting you at Cheltenham A&E get there as quick as you can. 

So Chris and I jumped in the car and off we went. I saw a lovely young doctor who didn’t have a clue what to do with me so we had to wait till he either looked it up on his iPad or asked someone senior. Anyway I had a CT scan and I knew I was in trouble when this poor young chap went to so much effort to get me back in to a little private consulting room to tell me the outcome. They had found a brain tumour. 

I was amitted on to a ward, by this time it was late afternoon. The registrar came to see me and said he’d contacted a neurologist in  Frenchay Hospital Mr Porter and he wanted an MRI scan  before he’d give an opinion, but Cheltenham had closed their MRI for the weekend so I was welcome to stay till Monday but if I wanted to go home I could. I considered the noise of that ward for all of a nanosecond and said I’ll go home. My first big mistake.

Chris and I spent a horrible weekend lots of tears as you do really think is this it.

However Monday was a new day and we thought off I’d trot back to Cheltenham for my MRI, oh how wrong was I. 

I rang Cheltenham MRI department only to be told that as I was now an “outpatient “ the wait for a scan was 5-6 weeks! So I rang the ward I been discharged from, they couldn’t find any of my notes. By this time Chris was beyond angry, it was just so frustrating I needed the scan before we could move forward but getting past the jobs worth booking the scan in  just wasn’t happening. In the end we got hold of the Nuffield they’d do it if someone from Cheltenham Hospital would email her my notes,thankfully there was one person that remembered me and she was fantastic she found The registrar who produced my notes so she could pass them on.

We made a  private appointment to see Mr Porter after the MRI had been sent to him. It was then I learnt that it wasn’t a brain tumour hooray, it was in fact a giant Internal Carotid artery aneurysm that was pressing on my optic nerve hence the double vision. Was this better news well not if it ruptured because then I really was a goner. At this stage it felt like I had a ticking time bomb in my head, that could go off at anytime. It was very scary for me but also for all my family. 

How we went on from here will be in my next blog thanks for reading see you soon. 


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