“I’ve been living with a brain tumor for eight years – the doctors told me I had 12 months”

Suzanne Davies was first diagnosed with stage 4 end-stage glioblastoma in 2014 when she was just 35 years old.

This particularly aggressive type of tumor typically comes with a prognosis of only 12 to 18 months. Against all odds, however, the mother of two will have received her diagnosis a full eight years ago this April.

“Glass Half Full” Suzanne credits her husband Owen with keeping her positive, while her supportive spouse helps her make the most of each day with hers Children, Max and Lauren.

This story follows the recent tragic death of The Wanted tom parker, who died at the age of 33 after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Suzanne was first diagnosed in 2014 when she was just 35 years old

Husband Owen has been a fantastic source of support

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Suzanne first realized something was wrong when she started having speech difficulties and lost speech entirely at work meetings.

She soon began to feel worse, and subsequent CT scan results showed a brain tumor the size of a golf ball. After undergoing a craniotomy while she was awake, Suzanne’s advisor gave her a devastating prognosis.

Suzanne said, “He literally turned around and said, ‘You’ve got a year to live, and if you have chemo you’ve got eight more weeks.’ I was petrified then. The kids were small and honestly, at that point it was like we were hit by a bus.

“They never got it all out. It was about ninety-five percent. So we had no idea what to do after that.”

Doctors were able to remove 95% of Suzanne’s tumor

Suzanne first realized something was wrong when she started having speech difficulties

At her mother’s suggestion, Suzanne answered Cancer Link Aberdeen Network (CLAN)a local charity in her hometown of Aberdeen, and found the staff very helpful and understanding.

Resolutely, Suzanne devotes herself now fundraiser, after raising £38,311 the brain tumor charity, and a further £10,000 for CLAN through events such as Easter Bunny Hunts, Tea Mornings and Horse Racing Nights.

Suzanne recalled: “For my 40th, people would pay a certain amount of money to go into games and other things, and whatever money we had from there we would transfer.”

Since her diagnosis, Suzanne has had memory problems that have worsened over the past year. However, she is grateful for Owen’s continued support.

Recalling times when she couldn’t drive, Suzanne said: “So you can’t do things like take the kids to groups or teams if they’re doing sporty things and things like that.

“You know, he never once said, ‘That’s going to cause a problem’ or ‘For God’s sake I have to do this’ or whatever. He just did it. You know, he’s just a very supportive man, always there for me.

“He’s there to hug me when I’m a little down. He’s just a great guy.”

Suzanne has raised almost £50,000 for cancer charities

Giving advice to other couples in similar situations, Suzanne said: “Stick together if you can and keep talking about it. It’s easy to try to bury it under the sand, but you know, just support each other and be there.”

Reflecting on how positive she’s remained, Suzanne added, “So it’s funny because people say to me, ‘Why am I saying that to you? You got it a lot worse than me’.

“I’ll tell them, ‘My problem doesn’t make yours any smaller.’ So that’s how I stay positive. Also, there is a book I would recommend called The secret.

“It’s all about the half glass, the full glass view, all of that. It’s a case of waking up in the morning and getting out of your bed, stubbing your toe, or buying some things for tea and the bag of splits, you think.” ‘Oh my god, this is going to be a horrible day’.

“But that’s how you think. You’re like, ‘Well, okay, that’s done. That doesn’t mean it will make the rest bad’ doesn’t always mean it will be a problem all day.”

She continued, “My parents say, ‘You’re amazing, you never try to think badly about it.’ And that’s where this positive attitude and the way I deal with it came from.”

Suzanne’s family thinks her positive attitude is ‘amazing’

In England alone, about 2,200 people are diagnosed with glioblastoma each year, and almost all glioblastomas recur even after intensive treatment, including surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Eve Kelleher, director of services at The Brain Tumor Charity, said: “As Suzanne also learned, we know that being diagnosed with a brain tumor can have significant physical and emotional implications. This can easily affect people’s mental well-being.

“Some people may find that fatigue makes it harder for them to work, or they may have to give up their driver’s license, which can leave them feeling robbed of their independence. Others may have concerns about being able to adequately care for their families.

“That’s why The Brain Tumor Charity provides specialized support services for anyone affected by a brain tumor to ensure they receive accurate information, emotional help and support, and expert advice to guide their diagnosis whenever they need it.

“This includes a unique app, brian, where anyone affected by a brain tumor can log their thoughts, feelings and emotions to get a picture of how it is affecting their daily lives”.

You can donate to The Brain Tumor Charity yourself here

Do you have an extraordinary story about overcoming adversity? Email us at julia.banim@reachplc.com

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