POST 26: WELL, IT IS AWARDS SEASON…

It’s official folks, I WON!

 

I am delighted and so proud to announce that I have won a RIBI (Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland) Young Citizen of the Year Award! I can’t quite believe it!

Launched in 2007 in association with the BBC News Channel, the awards recognise young people under the age of 25, who have demonstrated their commitment to citizenship through various activities.  The awards can be for individuals or groups, for projects that showcase and celebrate the positive citizenship and important responsibilities assumed by many young people in Great Britain and Ireland. Rotary

RIBI Young Citizen winners receive trophies and a prize of £500 at the RIBI Annual Conference, where the awards are presented live on the BBC News Channel. Later in the year, the winners visit the BBC News TV studios in London and the Houses of Parliament.”

 

The Annual Conference is to be held in Bournemouth at the BIC in April. I am gutted as the conference just so happens to fall on the same weekend as the Paris Marathon 😦 . Bloomin’ typical! So I am awaiting to hear how I will receive mine. Clearly, my £500 prize will be going straight in to my fundraising pot for The Brain Tumour Research Campaign.

 

Words cannot express how shocked I am! I feel that this is the only thing that can be done; someone needs to help, so why on earth should it not be me?! Whereas others seem to think that my actions deserve such lovely recognition…it’s pretty amazing!

 

I must write this blog post in typical awards season style and thank a few people…

First of all, I must thank every member of the Newton Aycliffe Rotary Club who decided that I was worthy enough of a nomination. Having this new group of friends who believe in me is truly an honour. A special mention must go to Ron who submitted a wonderful piece of writing in addition to my nomination form; he truly does write so beautifully (I think that’s why I have won, as he made me sound better than I am!!). I’d also like to thank Michael for inviting me into the world of Rotary in the first instance by inviting me to talk to the Club.

Finally, I need to thank everyone who has helped me during this mad year, during the highs and the lows. I wouldn’t be able to keep in such a positive frame of mind without you all and I certainly wouldn’t be able to keep the ball rolling on my campaign to raise awareness and funds for research. Every person who reads my posts, or makes a donation off the back of my efforts, are helping my goals become a reality. Slowly, but surely we are helping to save lives.

I AM SO HAPPY!!!

IMG_0637

 

 

POST 25: IS IT TOO LATE NOW TO SAY ‘desolé’ ?!

It is with such a heavy heart that I have to write this post. I have some disappointing news, news of which took a lot of deliberation and, indeed, tears.

Last week my parents held, what I can only describe as, an intervention with regards to my Paris Marathon Mission. We came to an agreement that I could be risking a stay in a French hospital if I attempt to run the marathon myself.

Unfortunately, I simply haven’t had enough energy to do the amount of training required to ensure I will be taking on this challenge in the safest way possible, as advised by my consultant. I was told I should only consider this marathon if I completed steady, progressive training, and truth be told, I get tired even from showering.

I considered walking; but even this option was quickly ruled out. 26.2 miles is hardly a stroll in the park or a walk with Enid!

Dog walking

My parents even highlighted that due to me still being on chemo, thus my immune system is a lot weaker, if I were to get blisters (which would be inevitable) and these got infected, the risk is high for me.

My parents told me the prospect of me powering on through and attempting to do this really scared them; it was hard to take, but the sensible decision really was obvious.

 

I feel as though I am letting so many people down, including myself, and I would like to apologise for agreeing to do it in the first place – I think I am kind of in denial over how tired and, more to the point, how ill I am in terms of the treatments I am having to endure.

Those who know me well will realise it has taken a lot for me to give into this; I hate to be defeated, but at the end of the day my health needs to come first.

The imminence of the marathon and my clear lack of preparation was obviously getting to me more than I realised, in my subconscious perhaps? Once we had reached the decision it literally felt as though a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

 

I informed all of my team separately on the day I made my mind up, and their support and understanding has been incredible. Incredible, just like them! My team are still busy training and getting not only physically but mentally prepared for April 3rd.

I am delighted that I will now be there as chief supporter…banners and all! I cannot express how much it means to me that all these people are putting their bodies through such a feat to help me and my cause!

 

So I extend my apologies (Je suis desolée) out to all of you lovely lot as well, and plead for you to still back the rest of my team! All money goes to the amazing cause of BTRC; all money goes towards finding a cure!

 

ALLEZ, ALLEZ, ALLEZ!!!

 

P.S Sorry for the Bieber reference in the title of this post too – another thing that is hard to admit is that I think I’m a bit of a Belieber now! AHHHHH!!! monkey

 

POST 24: ALL PUBLICITY IS GOOD PUBLICITY

For those of you who didn’t know, I was in the Daily Mail Health Section on Tuesday.

Daily Mail Shot

I was absolutely delighted when I found out my story would be covered in the national press in the Daily Mail’s “My Operation and Me” section. I knew that, with their readership, awareness of brain tumours and the urgent need for funding would be spread rather rapidly.

Yet, I wanted to just clarify a few things as, when reading the article, myself, I felt as though I was reading about someone else in parts. I did not want to confuse people, as in places it is quite contradictory to what I have posted on here.

*******

I have never been told that the operation I had back in March 2015 at Charing Cross Hospital would save my life. When speaking with Dr Kevin O’Neill I was informed that by removing part of the tumour in the front right of my brain it would enable the proceeding radiotherapy and chemotherapy to be more effective in those places as there would be less tumour tissue. Through use of the incredible technology The Core, that is described in the article, the surgeons were able to remove more than would normally be possible without such technological advancements. What I wasn’t told however, is that they had successfully removed ALL of my tumour in that location of my brain; I was told that roughly 3cm by 4cm was removed, still great considering the original outlook of ‘inoperable’.

In terms of my further treatment, I have also been told that I underwent radio/chemo therapy and my continuing radiotherapy to stunt the growth of my tumours. I have been told not to think that this treatment will ever shrink the remaining tumour in either location, due to the nature of the tumour I have. I continue to endure this treatment in the hope that my average prognosis of three years to live can be extended as long as possible. As with any average figure, unfortunately people do die before three years, but similarly, people live longer also; I am determined to up this average!

I’ll take this moment to thank everyone for their ongoing support, and if anybody ever has any questions about what I have been through or about what I am currently enduring, please do not hesitate to leave a comment on the post, or message me on the Inside My Head Facebook page…it is what this blog is all about!

POST 23: BRAIN TUMOUR RESEARCH FUNDING TO BE DEBATED IN PARLIAMENT

WOOOOOHOOOOOOO! WE DID IT!!!!!!!

I have to start this post with a HUGEEEEE heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you who took the time to sign the brain tumour research funding petition. I have been hammering on about this petition and its importance for the past six months; pleading with you all for signatures, informing you about my trip to the Houses of Parliament, and then pleading some more! But I am so delighted to inform you that it was all worthwhile!

On Friday morning, 29th January, indeed sooner than the February 3rd deadline, the petition reached that all important ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND signatures mark!

Petition over 100k

Reaching this target was a massive team effort from many in the ‘brain tumour community’ as I call it. But I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Maria Lester who launched the petition in memory of her late brother Stephen. You so deserved this result, Maria, and as a brain tumour patient, I thank you for taking that first bold step! Stephen, I also thank you for the inspiration – what a fitting tribute.

The petition has now reached almost 120,000 signatures – simply incredible!

 

Even better, it has now been confirmed that, once the report from the Petitions Committee (the inquiry I attended) has been published, a date will be set for the issue to be debated in Parliament!

 Confirmation of debate

I reiterate my huge amount of gratitude and promise to keep you in the loop with future developments.

 

Much love,

Anna x

 

POST 22: SUPPORT FROM SENEGAL

As I have told you before, I studied Languages and European Studies at the University of Portsmouth; I majored in French. During my studies at uni I had a conversational tutor called Aba/ M.Bodian. I always struggled with my spoken French, well, I least preferred it out of all my other language disciplines, so I always saw myself as a bit of a poor student in his class!

To my surprise, Aba, who originates from Senegal, contacted me with well wishes after he came across my blog. It was lovely to hear from him last year just after I was diagnosed, and it certainly brought back some fond memories of uni days!

Even lovelier, was the message I received from him last month. He informed me he was now teaching GCSE level students in Senegal and wrote to seek my approval to share my story with his class. I felt extremely honoured and of course I approved!

A few days later I received a document containing messages of support from his GCSE students in this class. As I sat reading all of these, I cried; it felt so incredible to know that even these great kids in Senegal were backing me in my fight against my brain tumour.

 

I wanted to dedicate this blog to them; Coraline, Thierno, Isatou, Mariama, Aya, Moctar, Malick, Fatou, Issa, Sokhna, Jean Louis, Muhammed, Ousseynou, Lamine, Fama, Ababacar, and Kenny. Not forgetting, of course, your wonderful teacher, Aba Bodinski. I wanted to make sure you wonderful students knew just how much of a smile (as well as happy tears) your letters put on my face! It was such a kind thing to do and I thank you for writing them so beautifully! (As a linguist, I can say your English writing skills are impressive!!).

Senegal Support

I hope you don’t mind, but I wanted to share them on my blog:

 

To Anna Swabey by the 9th grade students in Le College Bilingue Dakar, Senegal

 

Dear Anna,

My name is Coraline, I am a student in College Bilingue in Dakar, and I am 14. With my English teacher we had read a text about you and your Brain Tumor.

I find you very courageous to fight such a disease. You are very determined and you help other people who are in the same situation as you and it is very cool. You are a model for me because of your bravery and your determination. You inspired me to fight and to succeed in life.

I advise you to carry on and you will succeed to fight against this Brain Tumor. I also congratulate you on your engagement and upcoming wedding. I wish you the best of the world.

Coraline

Hello Anna,

My name is Thierno Noba, I am in 9th grade at LCB, and live in Senegal.

I’m writing to express my support. I find you brave, bubbly and amazing. For me, you are inspirational because what you did is something someone else would not surely do. You are inspirational because you managed to turn your negative experiences into positive actions and I find it very fascinating.

I support you because I appreciate all the activities you established to fight Brain Tumor and encourage you to keep fighting because I know that you can make it.

I also want to congratulate you on your engagement and upcoming wedding. I wish you the best.

Thierno

 

Dearest Anna,

My name is Isatou KA and I am in 9th grade, in a school called College Bilingue in Senegal.

The reason why I am writing is to show my support. You are bright, intelligent and bubbly. You are very brave and I admire you because you turned your negative experiences into positive actions and I find it really fascinating. You are an inspiration because you really try to help other people in the same condition.

I support you to keep fighting because I know that you can make it. Never give up, keep moving forward because I am positive that you can win the battle.

I also want to congratulate you on your engagement and upcoming wedding. I wish you the best and hope that Andrew will make you happy.

Yours faithfully,

Isatou KA          

                    

Hello Anna

I am writing to you, to support you because what you are living is very difficult. You are very brave, intelligent and courageous. I hope that you will feel well after reading this message. Congratulation on your engagement. I hope that you will have a lot of happiness in your couple. You are a person who inspires me because you fight for the others who have the same disease as you.

Yours faithfully,

Mariama Bharati Fall 

 

Hello Anna

My name is Aya Dia I’m in 9th grade I live in Dakar. You are really courageous and brave. You are an inspiration because you took your illness positively. And you created a blog to help the people who had the same illness as you. 

I support you to keep fighting because you help a lot of people and I know that you can make it. So keep fighting for the people who have brain tumor.

Aya

 

Dearest Anna,

My name is Moctar Abbott, I am 15 and in 9th grade.  I am currently in a middle school called LCB that is located in Dakar, Senegal.

This week in class we have been talking about you and your amazing story. I understood that you are a person full of life which, considering your situation is extremely inspiring. As a result, I believe everyone should know about what you are currently going through. I believe that I am very privileged to be writing to you today.

I would also like to take this time to congratulate you on your engagement and wish you and your partner a great wedding.

 

Yours faithfully,

Moctar Abbott

 

Dear Anna,

My name is Malick Ndoye I am from L.C.B (a bilingual school) in Senegal (in Dakar) in 9th grade. I am writing you this letter to show you my happiness about your blog and what you are doing for people who are affected by brain tumour like you. I think that you are generous, courageous, kind and positive in what you are doing. You are an inspiration because if everyone is doing like you, a lot of people will survive to those kinds of diseases. I think you should keep on fighting for it and helping other brain tumour patients. Congratulation on your engagement and your upcoming weeding.      

Yours faithfully,

Malick Ndoye                              

 

Hi Anna,

My name is Fatou Balla Mboup. I come from Senegal. I’m a student in a school called LCB and I’m in 9thgrade.

Anna, you are one of the liveliest people I have ever heard of before. You are also very kind because of your action. Not everyone in the world will do that if they found out they just have 3 months to live. You Anna, you were fighting against the Brain Tumour and you don’t give up. You also think about other people who have the same problem as you and helping by show them they are not alone. That’s why I believe you are an inspiration.                                                  

I just want to tell you, don’t give up, continue to fight and help those people. Be brave.

You have all my support.                                                                               

 I also want to tell you, congratulation for being engaged and soon be married. You have all my wishes and hope this day will be the best for you and your future husband.                                                                                                                       

With all my support,

Fatou Balla MBOUP

 

Hello Anna

My name is Issa Kanji. I am 15 and I am writing to express my support. In my point of view, you are an amazing, courageous, smiling person who is determined to beat brain tumor. You are an inspiration to us because you are suffering from brain tumor and still getting one of the highest grades in the world.

 I support you because I know that your condition does not depend on the doctor but on how you try to fight against the disease. I am telling you this because GOD is the one that created the person that told you that you were going to die in 3 months but look, you lived a year longer and you are still doing amazing! I think it is very brave of you to decide to get married. And I am really impressed by your fiancée. Because even though you are suffering from one of the most dangerous diseases in the world, he still loves you for who you are. And it was really courageous of you to accept.

I encourage you, and hope you live longer because you DESERVE LIFE and LOVE.

Issa

 

Hi Anna!

I’m Sokhna, I’m fifteen and I am in LCB School in Dakar. I am also with your former teacher Mr. Bodian! We talked about you today in class. For me I think that you are strong not because you fight your tumor but because of the marathon of Paris. I can’t already run in sports so I think that you are brave for that. You are positive because you are smiling and staying strong and the key of success is to stay positive. It is the most important thing. I think you are an inspiration because you inspire me in working hard. You need to keep fighting because I think that you are strong and you need to fight for your friends, family and your fiancé but also for you! I think that your family is very proud of you and so are all the people who had read your blog! So congratulations on your upcoming wedding. Anna keep going like this I hope you will win this fight against your brain tumor!

PS: Listen to Stronger by Kanye West and Daft Punk because I believe the song has been written for you

Yours faithfully,

Sokhna Dabo.

 

Dear Anna,

My name is Jean-Louis Jousso, I’m in 9th Grade in a school called LCB and I live in Dakar. After reading the article about you, I can say that you are a determined and strong -minded woman. You are really courageous for fighting against this big disease. By doing that you’re saying: Never give up! You have all my support.

Congratulations on your engagement.

Yours faithfully

Jean Louis

 

 

Dear Anna,

My name is Muhammed and I study at L.C.B (Le College Bilingue). I am in 3e and I live in Senegal, Dakar. I read your story and I think that you are a very nice and courageous woman. I think you are an inspiration because thinking about other people is always a good thing and even if it is about people in the same situation. You are a very smart woman and with all the things you accomplished you don’t deserve such a thing.

But you should keep fighting, a miracle can still happen. Follow your dreams and don’t give up. I also wanted to congratulate you for your upcoming wedding and I wish it to be full of happiness.

Muhammed

 

Dear Anna,

My name is Ousseynou Ndoye. I study at L.C.B, in 9th grade. I live in Senegal. I decided to send you this message because of your act of braveness and courage. After I read your story, I was speechless! The way you reacted was just exceptional and very inspirational. You are no ordinary person but a new figure in history! A lot of people in your situation would have only thought about themselves but you did not! You decided to help others. I believe your acts of kindness can beat the Brain tumor and because you are never alone, even from Africa you have support! Congratulations on your engagement! I hope you have a peaceful and successful life!

Ousseynou

 

Dear Anna

My name is Lamine Sidy Diouf I am in 9th grade. I am in a school called LCB. I am 15 years old and I live in Dakar, Senegal. We have been talking about you and for me you are a really brave woman because if I was at your place I would be crying for three months. The way you deal with your illness really impressed me. You are positive and it is really cool!! Continue to live your life like you want and don’t give up I am your number 1 fan in Senegal. And also congratulations and good wishes for you and your partner. Happy wedding.

Yours faithfully                                                  

Lamine

 

Dear Anna

My name is Fama Mbacke. I’m 14 years old. I’m studying in LCB Dakar (Senegal). I found you really courageous and inspirational. Because I think that if it was me, I wouldn’t be that strong and positive minded. You inspire me because I really like what you are doing “showing to people in the same case of you that they are not alone”. I find this great, because I think that many people need that support that you give. I find this fascinating and encourage you to continue! I wish that you will continue fighting as you have always done.  Please never give up! Congratulation on your engagement and all the best for the future.

Yours faithfully,

Fama.

 

Dearest Anna,

My name is Ababacar Ba, I am in 9th grade, and I am from Dakar. I am writing this letter to show my support and all the attention that I carry to your situation.

You are a courageous woman and even though I have never met you, I am sure you are always merry, because you never give up and you stay positive.  I really appreciate what you did when you created a blog to show others that are in the same position that they are not alone. I wish you all the happiness in the world and that you spend a beautiful wedding with your fiancé.

Yours faithfully,

Ababacar

 

Hello Anna, my name is Kenny Araujo, I am fifteen years old and I go to school at le college bilingual de Dakar. I am in the 9th grade. I think you are a very courageous and inspiring person for not getting affected by your disease.

I encourage you to keep doing what you do because it helps people in the same situation as you are but that are not as brave as you are. And I also encourage you to keep up your fund raising activities because there are people with the same disease but can’t get treatment because they are poor. Congratulations for your upcoming wedding.                             

Kenny Araujo

************

 

Thanks again!

All my love,

Anna xxxx

POST 21: LEICESTER TIGERS HELP KICK BRAIN TUMOURS IN TO TOUCH

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As I have told you guys from POST 1 on this blog, I am a massive rugby union addict, and you all know by now, my team is the Leicester Tigers. I have been going to Tigers games home, away, and abroad since I was eight years old, and even with Trev in tow, that is not set to change anytime soon!

 

 

So you can imagine my delight when I saw this article crop up on their website this week: Show Support for Brain Tumour Campaign. Although, upsetting to hear the loss of Michael, another Tigers fan, who sadly passed away at the mere age of 27, what his family are doing to help this campaign in his memory is remarkable.

If you have been following my blog, particularly over the past few months, you might be aware that I have heavily backed the online e-petition calling for more funds for brain tumour research that was launched by Maria Lester in memory of her brother Stephen, who sadly lost his life to the disease in 2014. Months ago I signed this petition and after reaching 10,000 signatures, the petition gained a response from government, unfortunately, not the one we were looking for (this response can be found on the petition page).

Thankfully, the newly formed Petitions Committee decided that this cause was worth looking into further – particularly as it was not on the agenda for the Health Committee. They wanted to gain perspectives and evidence from charity campaigners, clinicians, and patients alike to best decide if this issue should be debated in Parliament.

The Committee launched an online web forum for people to share their experiences and to show their support for more funding into research. This closed on the 30th October 2015 with over 1100 comments left on the chat; one of those comments being my own:

“In January 2015, at 23 years of age, I was diagnosed with a Grade 3 glioma anaplastic astrocytoma and was told I had, on average, 3 years to live. My whole world changed. Although I have been offered treatment and have undergone radio/chemotherapy and I am on chemotherapy again for a further 12 months, the future looks bleak. Unavoidably, this awful disease will not only take my life, but will destroy the lives of my mother, father, sister, brother, partner, niece, nephews, aunties, friends….my, the list goes on! And since being diagnosed, I have unfortunately come across and met younger, young and older people in the exact same situation; who too worry what they will be leaving their families to deal with when they are gone. I chose to try and not dwell too much on this horrific news and to turn it into some form of positive; I want to make a difference to lives like mine, and to those who are yet to be diagnosed. I decided to start writing a blog called Inside My Head (www.annaswabey.wordpress.com) detailing my life with a terminal brain tumour – I saw this as a way of helping myself, others alike, and to raise awareness of this severely underfunded cancer (of which I knew nothing about until my diagnosis). Off the back of its popularity, I began fundraising for Brain Tumour Research Campaign (to date I have raised £35k). Research into brain tumours is my only hope of living. I will not stop fighting for more funding into research until my last breath! Forgive me, for I am not a doctor, a scientist, and I by no means profess to be an expert in the field at all, but if brain tumours kill more people under the age of 40 than any other cancer – why does research into brain tumours receive a mere 1% of national cancer research funding?! …It does baffle me. My diagnosis has changed my life forever. The only change I wish for the future is that there will be a new found hope; different treatments, and ultimately, the best ‘C’ word I will have ever heard – A CURE.”

 

Consequently the Committee invited 20 of the people who commented on the web forum to a roundtable discussion at Westminster. I was delighted to be one of those people. On the 17th November I went to the Houses of Parliament to share my experiences with the MPs on the Committee. I thought the day went very well and the MPs seemed keen to listen and were extremely empathetic. I sincerely believe this is a huge move forward for not only brain tumours on the political agenda, but also for democracy in general; obviously I feel very honoured to have been given the opportunity to be a part of that. We now await the decision of the Committee…

 

What will give us added strength however, is the more signatures we can accumulate on the e petition.

We have until February 3rd to try and reach 100,000 signatures, which will guarantee the issue of brain tumour research funding to be debated in Parliament.

 

This is my final plea to ALL who read this to sign the petition. Share it with the person you are sat next to perhaps, or a family member? Let’s get over this final hurdle!

Whatever comes of this petition  it will more than likely be too late to make a difference to my prognosis however, I am almost certain it will change lives of so many others!

This is why I sincerely want to thank my rugby club, Leicester Tigers for getting on board this campaign – it means so much! #TigersFamily

 176c982b44772753b55402e3c27b1e78

 

POST 20: “STABILITY IS EVERYTHING”

First of all, I find myself needing to apologise to those of you who do not follow my Facebook Page Inside My Head, as my Facebook followers have already been made aware of the results I received from my scan that was carried out on January 4th.

The sickness I developed through fear when waiting for the results absolutely consumed me. I think I was so used to continuously being knocked back by bad news that I struggled to remain hopeful for good news this time round.

As I have mentioned before, I have been told that treatment will not shrink Trev the tumour in either location. I am undergoing this lengthy treatment with the slight hope that it may halt or at least slow the growth of Trev. It is with this hope that I continue to battle on through.

The call came; I cried.

Tears filled my eyes; tears of joy. I turned to my Mum and managed to say,

 “I am okay! I am okay, Mum! It hasn’t grown!”

Stable scan results – WOW! After sixth months of chemotherapy, let alone casting my mind back to the seven weeks of radio/chemotherapy, it all felt worthwhile. I have now completed my seventh month of this chemotherapy cycle and have more UMPFF than ever to remain strong and healthy through the final stages of the twelve month course.

The year has well and truly began with a BANG! Anna 1 – Trev 0.

Thank you to everyone who has contacted me before my scan, in the build up to my results and since the good news has been delivered. Over a year on from this journey beginning, I am still left in awe of the support and love I receive from not only my incredible fiancé, family and friends, but from people who would otherwise be complete strangers. It really does make a difference, and make me feel as though sharing this journey with you all is totally worthwhile, particularly when I hear it gives hope to others.

Stability really does feel like everything; with ‘everything’ I am very content!

POST 19: LIFE WITH A BRAIN TUMOUR PART II

 

To wrap up 2015, and the mad year I have had, I want to briefly replicate the first post I wrote at the beginning of last year (where did that time go?!). I want to give you an insight into the updated version; who I was, who I am, who I will be.

Anna Swabey

Who I was:

  • I was a 23 year old girl, dealt the worst of hands; told that I had roughly 3 years to live.post op
  • I didn’t know where to turn, what to say, what to do.
  • I had no idea why cancer had chosen me; a young, fit, healthy girl?!
  • I was heartbroken – not set to ever marry or have children; not set to live my dreams.
  • I was trying to hold it all together for my family.
  • I was determined to live; I had to fight.
  • I had two brain operations.Mask 1
  • I was sick, exhausted, and experiencing gruelling treatment.
  • I needed a focus; I had to help others, and I needed to fundraise in order to help find more treatments and, ultimately, a cure.

 

Who I am now:

  • I am Anna Swabey, a 24 year old woman, campaigning to obtain more funding for brain tumour research.
  • I am engaged to be married to my dream man; a mummy to a gorgeous puppy.
  • Together, since March, we have raised almost £37,000 for Brain Tumour Research Campaign.
  • I have attended the Houses of Parliament to share my experiences with the Petitions Committee.
  • I have met and spoken to the most incredibly inspiring young people, experiencing a similar, if not identical, illness.
  • I am still undergoing chemotherapy treatment; still determined to fight Trev.
  • I am training to run the Paris marathon.
  • I am in awe that I have over 86,000 views of my blog!

 

Who I want to be:

  • I want to be alive for many more years to come.
  • I want to be a wife.
  • I want to raise £100,000 for BTRC.
  • I want to continue to share my journey, in the hope of making a difference to people and families who are yet to be dealt the blow we have.
  • I want to remain tough and keep fighting.
  • I want to complete the Paris Marathon.
  • I want to keep positive, keep smiling, and keep being ME (i.e. a bit of a nutter 😛 ) !

 

I am determined that 2016 will be a good year for my entire family and I. I can’t wait to see what this year holds for my new little family unit; Anna, Andrew and Enid. I can’t wait to see, with your help, how much of a difference we can make to brain tumour research and to patients lives, just like mine.

I thank you all for supporting me throughout 2015, and I hope you continue to follow my progress and campaigning in 2016.

Finally, I wish you all….

A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

 

 

 

POST 18: ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS MY SCAN TO BE STABLE

As much as I am looking forward to Christmas with my family, new family and fiancé, at the moment, my thoughts are mainly focussed on the looming appointment I have in the New Year, and the results this appointment will, soon after, bring with it.

If I take you back to my post radiotherapy scan that I had in July, the results were, to begin with at least, heartbreaking. Despite 7 gruelling weeks of treatment, Trev had appeared to have grown; grown significantly. A more detailed perfusion scan however, revealed to the radiographers that it was actually just swelling caused by the treatment, and the initial worry was indeed unnecessary; which I suppose, should have been a relief. Yet, personally, I don’t think the latter news ever really sank in for me. I was always kind of waiting for the next scan for complete reassurance; this scan is on January 4th…..waiting for the result is going to be a bugger for sure!

But if you are out there Santa, I have been a very good girl this year and I have tried my hardest to handle this tumour rubbish as best as I can. I hope you have also seen that I have raised a lot money for BTRC and I continue to tirelessly raise awareness of this awful disease that has taken and continues to take the lives of so many.

Please, Santa, all I want for Christmas is my scan to be stable.

Dear santa blog

 

Most importantly of all, I would like to wish every single one of you who has supported me this year, read a post on my blog, donated some money to BTRC…

A VERY Merry Christmas!

And for those families who are dealing with celebrating Christmas without a loved one who has sadly lost their fight against brain cancer; for those people, like me, who are unsure if this may be their last Christmas; you are all in my thoughts – stay strong my brain tumour buddies.

 

Lots of love and Christmas kisses from the Swabey-Bells!

Swabey- Bells

 

POST 17: I SAID YES!!!

I want to take you all back to the beginning of this year when I was dealt the devastating blow that has led to me writing this blog – Trev the tw*t! I also want to give you further insight into my private life, so here we go…

This year could not have begun any worse. At 23 years of age, with supposedly my whole life in front of me, I was told I am dying. As I began to (excuse the pun) get my head around everything, I have a vivid recollection of a specific conversation I had with my Mum that led to me having tears streaming down my face. It all of a sudden hit me that I would never fall in love; I would never get married and have my own family. And to put it bluntly, in that moment my heart broke.

My thinking was, even if I did ever get the chance to meet someone, what was going to be the scenario? … “Hi, I’m Anna and I have a terminal brain tumour, nice to meet you!” …ummm, I couldn’t quite see that working! I didn’t have the best of flirting skills before, and didn’t think this would add to my talents!

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Twelve months later, however, where do I find myself? I am sat on my sofa surrounded by “Congratulations On your Engagement” banners, balloons, flowers, and cards. How the bloomin’ hell did this happen you may ask?! (I sure am!)

decorations

decorations2

 

ENTER ANDREW.

(For those of you who are easily nauseous, be warned, soppy stuff approaching…)

Where do I begin with this guy? I reckon perfection is pretty darn close! When the darkest days of my life were bearing down on me, Andrew came and brought the brightest sunshine. He knew from day one that I was Anna and Andy rugbybattling a terminal illness, and yet did not let this, in any way, shape or form cloud any of our time together. It’s so cliché to say I knew from day one, but, personally I knew he was more than special. I most definitely do not know where I would be mentally, in terms of dealing with this illness without him. I’m sure I would be battling on through with all of my family support. But with this massive smile on my face? I am not so sure! The most beautiful thing for me, is that Andy sees me, just for me, not ‘Anna with a brain tumour’. He is obviously there for me to talk to about Trev and all the emotions and physical pain Trev brings with him, and vice versa whenever either of us need, and he has accompanied me to as many hospital visits as possible.

To sum him up, he is my best friend and love of my life and our relationship is SO FUN! Considering all that has been going on, I don’tBall ready think, out of all my 24 years, that I have laughed so much. Regardless of this illness, I am positive, that one way or another, we would have found each other; this would have been too good to have missed. And in Andy’s (maybe slightly corny) words, when we do have to consider Trev, he would rather have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all. What I do have to remind myself is that three years is only an average diagnosis and I am my own person, different to all other brain tumour patients who have sadly passed before me; this could mean I live for many, many years longer than this average figure – and as I regularly say, game on Trev! I cannot halt living my life, and my oh my, how I’m blessed to be living the rest of my life, however long it may be, with Andy right by my side!

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On Saturday December 5th 2015, Andy got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. OF COURSE I SAID YES!!!!!! I am still buzzing with excitement and I have permanent butterflies. He has made me the happiest woman alive! And I am delighted to share the happiest moment of my life with you all –

 

Other than showing off my ring, the real reason I wanted to share this special moment with you all is to help others who may have been given a similar diagnosis and have experienced some of my previous fears and might feel as though this means you have to stop living ‘normally’. I am aware I am fortunate that, to date, I have no severe or consistent side effects; however I know that Andy will be by my side if ever that were the case. There are, evidently, truly incredible people out there; Andy topping that list (not that I am biased!! 😛 ). We all deserve happiness and we need to embrace it, despite illness.

ROLL ON THE WEDDING!!!! 😀

Much like our house warming…you are all invited! 😛