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In Hope Stories

Just 1% of the national research spend has been allocated to this devastating disease

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Historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research 
has been allocated to this devastating disease.

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Plymouth University Brain Tumour Research Team

Faith Speakes

Aged 26, Faith Speakes’ life was on the way up. She was looking forward to marrying her fiancé Luke and starting a family soon after, but things were thrown off track when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Just weeks after walking down the aisle, Faith was in theatre to have a meningioma removed and a few months later she was found to have a second tumour. Despite it all, she is excited for what’s to come and feels her life has changed for the better.

 

Faith tells her story…

For my fiancé Luke and I, 2018 was going to be one of the most life-changing years of our lives. 

"We were getting married, going on honeymoon to Mexico and looking forward to starting a family together. It was going to be a momentous year and we were so excited."

In April, two weeks before our big day, the excitement was mounting as a group of my nearest and dearest headed to Manchester to paint the town red for my hen do. We had an incredible time – so much so that I needed a nap as soon as I got home to Preston!

Faith Speakes hen do

This is when our year took an unexpected turn. 
 

While I was asleep, recovering from the hen, my fiancé Luke found me having a seizure in bed and when I came around, I was horrified to see paramedics in our bedroom leaning over me. My memory goes hazy here but I remember going to hospital for a CT scan and Luke and I decided not to contact family until we had a clearer idea of what was happening. When they told us they’d found a mass on my brain, we knew it was time to start phoning around. Consultants were confident that whatever it was, it wasn’t cancer but due to the size of it, they wanted to operate. 

"Imagine being two weeks away from your wedding and being told you need brain surgery."

Thankfully, we were able to schedule my operation for after our big day and I distracted myself with the wedding which took place on Saturday 12 May. It was a beautiful day and although all our guests knew about my situation, we were able to enjoy ourselves and not worry about what was to come. 

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I had an endovascular embolisation (to treat abnormal blood vessels in my brain) a few weeks later which terrified me as I’d never been put under before. However, when it came to my operation on 13 June, I told myself: “If I don’t make it through this surgery, I at least want to go in happy.”

Faith Speakes scan

It was confirmed that I had a meningioma brain tumour but the operation went as well as could be and I started a course of steroids but didn’t need any radiotherapy or chemo.

Recovery seemed to go smoothly the week after surgery and I even felt well enough to attend a friend’s wedding. When Luke and I got back to our hotel room that night, however, I had a painful sensation in my arms and legs and eventually went numb. It was a seizure and I had to stay in hospital for five days after that. It seemed weddings were bad luck for me!

"By October, I felt fit and well and was ready to return to work as a trainee accountant. Around this time, I also had a scan to double check the tumour wasn’t growing again. It wasn’t, but I was devastated to hear that they’d found a second meningioma tumour."

It was an awful thing to hear just as I was getting my life back on track and for a while I was in limbo as the consultants decided if I needed more surgery or not. I now know that I will need a further operation one day but the second tumour is much smaller so I can afford to watch and wait. 
 
It certainly was a life-changing year, in more ways than one, but I believe it’s made me a better person. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced but I feel stronger, calmer and much more prepared to take on whatever life may throw at me.
 

For now, we’re looking forward to going on honeymoon and, provided my scan in September is all-clear, we’re going to start a family. My diagnosis was a blip in the road but for now I’m concentrating on enjoying our happily ever after.

Faith Speakes wedding day

Faith Speakes
February 2019

 

The views or opinions expressed within are not necessarily those of Brain Tumour Research. This content has been shared for information purposes only. Brain Tumour Research does not recommend or endorse any particular treatment. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your doctor or other suitably qualified medical professional. Our member charity brainstrust can provide additional information on treatment options.

Faith Speakes

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