16. Brain surgery: my biggest pit stop ever…


So it’s Monday August 27th, 2018 and I’m back in the VUmc in Amsterdam, about to put my life in the hands of experts I can only hope have practiced enough to get it right when it matters!

A quick recap – what are they doing and why?

Tomorrow I’m having surgery to attempt to remove a lesion from my brain. The lesion is a matestation (spread) of the breast cancer I had two years ago, which has now appeared in the right (non-dominant) side of my brain, close to the area which controls my motor system.

The lesion is growing and attracting a large amount of Oedema (fluid) to the area, which is putting increasing pressure on my motor system and gradually paralysing the left side of my body. This started six weeks ago in my fingers, and is now affecting my left hand, wrist, arm, foot and leg. I can’t move or use my left left limbs and am having full time care from my incredibly patient and supportive parents, and a team of doctors here in Amsterdam.

There is also a second lesion in my left lung, but whilst the one in my brain is growing and damaging my motor system, removing that is the priority, before further damage is done.

Preparing for surgery… remember the old CT scan that just kept on giving?!

So last week, during a biopsy to diagnose my condition, my left lung partially collapsed (see 8. The CT scan – that just kept on giving) This allowed excess air to get in between my lung and chest wall, leaving me short of breath as my lung is currently not inflating to full capacity.

During surgery, I’ll need to be on a ventilator to help control my breathing. But this can only happen if my lung is able to inflate properly. So today, I’m having a drain inserted into my chest to remove the excess air, and allow my lung to fully inflate agin. Once the drain is in place, the ventilator will work and I can go into surgery on Tuesday.

Surgery tomorrow… what to expect

Well, aside from the discomfort of a drain in my left lung, another two canullas in the pin cushion that is now my right arm (they can’t use my left as it’s, well, buggered!) and a delightful lady catheter so I don’t have to worry about peeing, I’m not really going to know what else is going on?!

They’ll partially shave my head to get access – so another crazy Boxy haircut to come folks! – and I’ll wake up with a big bandage around my head and lots of bruising – I’m a Yorkshire-drinking hockey lass, so nothing new there then! The procedure will take a few hours and it’ll probably take them a while to wake and warm me up again afterwards – it did after my breast surgery and the lung incident, so I’m expecting lots of warm green blankets and tin foil!

In the meantime, I’ve had a pedicure, a wax and shaved my legs… Mum’s washed my hair and plucked my eyebrows… Dad’s put fuel in the car been to Albert Heijn to stock-up on supplies, and for now, that’s about all we can do! The rest is over to my pit crew – the surgical team…

So for now…


And in the meantime…

(Or just think of stuff to go in mine for when I wake up! xx)

9 thoughts on “16. Brain surgery: my biggest pit stop ever…

Add yours

  1. Best of luck Bok from all here in Warwick and we have Stevie, Charlie and Isla with us. Hanxy, James and Frankie will be forwarding their love as will Kate, Dean, Daisy-Mai and Ronnie. Also lots of love to Dave and Dianne who are providing wonderful parental support. Take care and very much love to you in particular and your superb back up team who will have you on the road to recovery xx

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