Doctors were astonished mum was still alive after shock brain tumour diagnosis

A mum who had a brain tumour the size of a golf ball for over six months and was told that she could have just weeks to live, battled through her illness with the help of a Sheffield-based neuro charity.

Tuesday, 20th August 2019, 16:18 pm
Updated Friday, 23rd August 2019, 12:12 pm
In hospital with family

Bridgette Chandley, aged 58, from Rotherham, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in August 2018 after being convinced it was spondylosis or arthritis.

The brain tumour was discovered after an MRI scan on the same day that Bridgette found out the amazing news that her daughter Kate was pregnant.

Dr Zaki, a consultant neurosurgeon at The Royal Hallamshire Hospital explained that the tumour was the size of a golf ball and was located on the nape of the neck, pushing down on her brain stems which explained why she had been suffering with severe neck pain as well as struggling to walk, he was astonished that she was still alive.

The stitches from after surgery

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Bridgette said: “The entire thing was simply awful, my whole life changed in the blink of an eye. I was in constant pain, I couldn’t walk but it was too painful to lie down, I couldn’t even see my grandchildren because it would have been too upsetting for them.

““The worst pain was at night when I tried to lay in bed, on the pain scale it was 10/10. It couldn’t have been any worse. It turned out that everyone has a pipeline of fluid from their brain to their stomach and so when I tried to lie down the tumour was pressing down and preventing the flow of that fluid.

“If it had stopped the flow completely I’d have died instantly.

“When I finally got the diagnosis that I had a brain tumour, everything just stopped. I think deep down I knew something was badly wrong but for someone to turn around and say I had a brain tumour was the worst thing ever, no one ever wants to hear those words.

Image of the tumour on a scan

“Before the operation I had a decision to make, the location of the tumour was pressing down on my brain stems which control your ability to walk, talk and swallow, Dr Zaki asked if I wanted to have the entire tumour removed, or remove some of it and have radiotherapy to get rid of the rest.

“Straight away I said I wanted it gone, I didn’t even consider losing all those abilities because well, I can just relearn them, whereas I knew I wouldn’t be able to live knowing there was still a tumour inside me."

Throughout Bridgette’s time in hospital, her daughters would not leave her side and were therr 12 hours s day to support their mum.

She said: “They would have come into theatre with me if they could, they came in and pampered me, they did my hair, make-up, nails anything to keep a smile on my face.”

Her daughters have now raised thousands for Sheffield-based Neurocare to say thank you for saving their mum’s life.

Bridgette’s daughter, Rebecca said: “The whole thing was so surreal, it all happened so quickly and I still to this day can’t believe what happened. Everyone in the Hallamshire was lovely, even the cleaner and the tea ladies, they always made conversations with you and asked if you were okay and took a genuine interest in you.”

Bridgette expressed her gratitude for the support that she received:

“I can’t even put into words how thankful I am, I could thank them a million times and it still wouldn’t be enough, they saved my life, they are simply amazing, which is why as a family we wanted to give something back. “

Neurocare supports the neurological centre of excellence at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which treats patients with a range of neurological conditions including brain tumours, head injuries, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, cancers of the nervous system and stroke.

The charity works with neurosurgeons, scientists, nursing staff, patients and their families by funding state-of-the-art equipment, world-class research, training, support and ward facilities.