The Fight of My Life

By Nadine Kennedy

A very special friend encouraged me to share my story…

This part on my journey begins in November 2017. I am a pharmaceutical rep so my job is on the road all day. I presented with vertigo and it seemed worse when I turned my head. Initially, I went to a GP who gave me some meds for an inner ear issue, (as she thought my crystals were out and hence causing the dizziness /vertigo)…

In short, I was referred to a second ENT (at this time the vertigo was so bad it would wake me at night by just turning my head, it felt like I was on a Rollercoaster!!)

Dr Hofmeyer the ENT tried everything, eventually he sent me for an MRI. On the 1st December 2017 at 20h00 the MRI revealed that I had a brain tumour the size of a golf ball at the base of my skull by the Pons between the Cerebellum. The official term is a Medullablastoma usually seen in children.

I had my first brain operation that Sunday the 3rd December 2017, to relieve pressure as my cerebral fluid was being blocked by the tumour and hence the increase in build-up resulting in terrible headaches. Dr Roytowski my neurosurgeon was absolutely remarkable, he then had to rally a team to do the main extraction. The big op was on the 12th December 2017. So much could have gone wrong as you can imagine with brain surgery. Many children end up mute due to the location of the tumour.

My Heavenly Father and my Saviour were carrying me, what should have been an 8 hour operation took 4.5hrs, and guess what, I could speak!!

The only problem I had initially was double vision and light sensitivity, I spent a week in ICU. The pain was severe and unfortunately I respond badly to opiods so it was a challenge. My Saviour carried me, as I could not have done it without Him and my incredible neurosurgeon who visited me every day sometimes even twice a day.

The weeks progressed and my doctor confirmed that it was category 3 subtype which has a poor prognosis and high reoccurrence. The six weeks of radiation to my brain and spine started in February 2018 …every day for six long weeks, Monday to Friday.

It was challenging as you have a mask that clips tightly over your face and shoulders into the bed behind you to ensure that you don’t move! They had to radiate my full brain and spine. Once again my Saviour carried me, some days were awful, others easier.

Then Chemo started, that was the next level in the agony my body experienced. Unfortunately there is less than 1% clinical data with treatment in adults with this particular tumour, radiation was essential and ideally chemo to follow but after my second chemo, which nearly killed me, I made the decision to not do it again.

With this came a peaceful feeling, yet I never thought it would result in such mixed opinions from some of my Doctors that I call on. At times I feared I had done the wrong thing in stopping but had to consider the extreme effect the chemo had on me, side effects can last a lifetime, so I opted to have quality of life!

This is the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to experience.

Each day is still a challenge as I still get dizzy and my balance is off, but I’m grateful to be alive, grateful to have the blessing of living each day, to be able to see my beautiful children and husband. Grateful for those who rallied their prayer groups and prayed endlessly for my healing. Grateful to my parents and in-laws, friends and family for all their prayers and support.

I’ve had my latest MRI and I’m all clear.

Each day is a gift, live it!

No matter my future, I pray I will be able to embrace whatever it may or may not be with strength and power that only comes through He who loves us perfectly. Our Saviour.

Lots of love and strength to those fighting similar battles.

Don’t quit, don’t give up, pray, get closer to our Saviour (He has felt every pain you’ve ever experienced) and closer to our Heavenly Father. They will uplift you and give you strength in your time of need.

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