In Hope Stories
Just 1% of the national research spend has been allocated to this devastating disease
Vikki Hindley, from Manchester, was suffering from headaches and nausea when she was 16 years old in 1997. She was initially dismissed as being an “attention seeker” by her GP, but when she was finally sent to hospital by a different GP a cancerous polyp was discovered. Vikki had squamous cell carcinoma which had spread to the frontal lobe of her brain. Chemotherapy left Vikki feeling nauseous. Radiotherapy resulted in her losing her right eye and the hearing in her right ear. Vikki is taking on the 10,000 Steps a Day in February challenge to raise money for Brain Tumour Research
Vikki tells her story…
When I was 16, I started having severe headaches and I was suffering from nausea. I couldn’t study or eat and I was losing so much weight.
It was 1997 and my mum and I were living in Cornwall at the time. I went to the GP but I was told I was “fine”.
“I went several times and the GP told my mum I was anorexic and was attention seeking.”
During the summer holiday, I went to stay with my nan in Manchester and she took me to her local GP. He said he couldn’t see anything but he sent me to Wythenshawe Hospital. I had a sinus wash and they found a cancerous polyp.
“I then had an MRI scan; soon after, I was bluntly told I had cancer. I was naïve and I wasn’t worried. I thought I’d be in hospital one day and out the next.”
I was told I had squamous cell carcinoma, but they couldn’t operate because it had spread to the frontal lobe of my brain.
I underwent chemotherapy at the Christie Hospital in Manchester as Mum and I moved back there. It was very intense and I lost my hair.
“I was constantly sick and everything I ate came straight back up. I went down to four stone so I needed to be put on a feeding tube.”
I also needed to have radiotherapy in between the chemotherapy. Just before my first session, a doctor said: “You do know you’re going to lose an eye?” I didn’t know this and it came as a huge shock. I needed to get my head around this so put the treatment back a few days.
Radiotherapy was awful, it burnt the side of my neck and the bottom half of my head. I lost my right eye and I also lost the hearing in my right ear. It was devastating. The older I got, the more the realisation set in just how poorly I was.
The cancer was also in my sinus and glands. The radiotherapy had made my thyroid underactive so I had to go to the endocrinology clinic at Christie’s.
Since then, I have had three rounds of chemotherapy and I had three months’ worth of radiotherapy in 15 days. I’ve never been told I’m in remission and I now have check-up appointments at Christie’s twice a year.
“I’m now 41 and I have a lot of health problems, including Fibromyalgia and osteoporosis. In many ways life feels harder now than when I was going through all of the treatment.”
I’m doing the 10,000 Steps a Day in February challenge to raise vital money for Brain Tumour Research. It’s so important to me because I’m still here and I’m so grateful.
Research has helped me to be here. This challenge will be hard for me, but I’m determined to do it. If I can give back just a little bit, then it’s all worth it.
Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age. What’s more, they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer... yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
Brain Tumour Research is determined to change this.
If you have been inspired by Vikki’s story you may like to make a donation via www.braintumourresearch.org/donate or leave a gift in your will via www.braintumourresearch.org/legacy
Together we will find a cure.