Claire Leonard

Hi I’m Claire

In December 2010 I was told I had a brain tumour. I was 37 at the time. I didn’t have any symptoms, which you think you would with having a tumour. I just had a shaking in my right leg. I went to the G.P and was referred for an MRI. I was told it was a left posterior frontal para sagittal meningioma grade 1.

I had craniotomy excision of the tumour on 12-1-2011. When I woke up I couldn’t move my hand and foot and as the day went on it got worse so I was taken down again.

They did a postop acute extradural haematoma evacuation. When I woke up I still had full right side weakness but it did start coming back and after a few days and with physio my arm and hand was stronger but my leg and foot stayed the same. I was given a foot splint for my foot drop.

By day 8 I was walking with a zimmer frame and I was allowed home on day 11. That’s when the hard work started, when you don’t have the doctors and nurses around you!

Advice:

1. Take all the support and help you can, it’s not a sign of weakness.

2. Your entire experience will feel weird and surreal but it does get better, it just takes time.

3. Push yourself and set yourself goals no matter how small. It will be hard but you will do it.

Hardest things for me:

1. My life changed forever and I struggled to get my head around it!

2. Dealing with having to wear my leg brace for the rest of my life and peoples reactions to me when they saw me walking the way I did and still do.

3. Dealing with the fact that I was never gonna be the old Claire again. It’s like grieving for the person you once were. And learning to like and love the person you are now.