Chapelton woman's headaches turned out to be tumour

A mum-of-two from Chapelton who was told she had just a year to live because of a terminal brain tumour is defying the odds, eight years on.

Suzanne Davies, 44, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour in 2014.

Suzanne, mum to Lauren, 12, and Max, 15, first realised something was wrong in April 2014 when she was very busy in her role as a treasury assistant at a consulting and engineering firm.

She said: “I thought I had fatigue, but then my speech began to deteriorate, and I started to get headaches.

Suzanne with children Lauren and Max and husband Owen.

“I went to see my GP because I was having really strange moments and bad headaches, and he thought it might be to do with my hay fever, or that I was just stressed. But things just got worse and worse, and I would wake up in the middle of the night losing my breath.

"That weekend, I had a permanent headache, and I couldn’t even move.”

She went to see another GP, who immediately sent her to Accident and Emergency at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. She had a CT scan which revealed a mass on her brain the size of a golf ball.

On April 30, 2014, Suzanne chose to have an awake craniotomy - an operation in which the patient is given a general anaesthetic, so they are completely unconscious whilst the neurosurgeon gains access to the brain through the skull.

Suzanne says she is determined to fight the disease.

Once the neurosurgeon is ready to operate on the tumour, the patient is woken up and asked to perform simple tasks such as speaking, moving their hands, feet and other basic neurological tests.

Throughout the procedure, a speech therapist spoke to Suzanne to monitor her cognitive function. The operation went well, and surgeons managed to remove 95% of the tumour.

She said: “After the surgery, most of the problems had gone. My speech was better, and I felt almost back to normal, it was crazy. I didn’t want to know how long I had to live, but the consultant didn’t give me a chance to speak and just came out with the fact that I only had a year to live. It was horrible and I was in total shock. The whole family and I were broken.”

Suzanne underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which resulted in her losing patches of her hair, so she decided to shave it all off. She now has an MRI scan every six months, and the most recent scan in June was stable.

She has also been putting collection pots in shops to help raise money for Brain Tumour Research, and she plans to do more fundraising.

She said: “I get frustrated that there isn’t currently a cure for brain tumours, so more money is needed so more research can be done.

"I’ve lost three friends to brain tumours, but I’m staying positive, and I’m determined to beat this.”

To donate to Suzanne’s JustGiving page, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Suzanne-Davies25