When I was a schoolgirl I began feeling disorientated, nauseous and having a lot of headaches. I suffered with headaches and sickness throughout my early school years, and also when riding – for instance, sometimes I fell off my pony for no reason, even when it was standing still.
My mum noticed that when we walked down the road side by side I used to veer into her without realising, so she took me to the doctor when I was 16 or 17. He sent me off for a CT scan, which showed a tumour, and then my GP sent me to a neurosurgeon.
We came to Mr Bullock eight years later, thinking everything was fine. I’d begun having similar problems to those I’d had earlier, and my previous neurosurgeon had retired and Mr Bullock had taken over.
I’ve had two surgeries to remove the recent growth of the tumour and another couple of surgeries for shunts to be fitted into the brain to relieve pressure: I have one shunt for the tumour and another for the cyst next to the tumour. Also I have had GammaKnife® surgery at the Cromwell Hospital. They think this has halted the growth of the tumour.
The follow-up treatment has been an annual MRI scan to check on the tumour and to make sure the shunts are working, but Mr Bullock has always been at the end of a phone if I’ve been worried.
I’m less sensitive to heat or pain in my left-hand side and I’m deaf in my right ear – these are minor things resulting from the operations. But then this year, I began having a numb feeling in my left leg. I had a scan and was told I had a slipped disc pressing on a nerve and needed an operation.
I got in touch with Mr Bullock to see if he could operate, but when he saw the scan, he wasn’t impressed with the quality of it, so he sent me for another one, and that showed that rather than a slipped disc, I had another tumour.
I had an operation to remove this in July and am now awaiting radiotherapy as unfortunately it was malignant.
Mr Bullock has been there for me, even phoning me after a busy day – I haven’t been forgotten. He can be bossy but for all the right reasons – he knows what has to be done and he gets on with it. He is the most brilliant man I know.
I also named my firstborn son after him as I’m sure that if I hadn’t met Mr Bullock, I wouldn’t be here and nor would my children. Even through my pregnancies he was there, because they weren’t straightforward: I had to have C-sections under general anesthetic and the obstetrician was picked by him and they worked closely together.I couldn’t be in better hands: I feel safe and whatever he says I’m happy to go along with it, no questions.