Maggie, 14, had constant headaches that meant something much more sinister.
“When I was 11, I was getting constant headaches. I thought they would go away but after a few months and no change, I started to worry. When I began vomiting in my sleep, mum knew it was time I went to the doctor. After a lot of appointments with doctors, I had an MRI and it showed that I had a tumour in my head the size of a large orange. I was scared and shocked because only a year earlier my fiend died from a brain tumour.
I was sent to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbance where I had a surgical biopsy and they told me they would need two surgeries to get it out. Both were unsuccessful and they couldn’t remove it. Chemotherapy was the next step. I was upset when I heard that because it meant I would lose all my hair and spend the next four months in and out of hospital. I missed out on most of year six and had multiple rounds of chemotherapy through a port inserted in my chest.
My friends and family kept me strong on my bad days when I didn’t think I would make it. My mum took me on shopping trips in my wheelchair to cheer me up. Finally after four months of treatment, the doctor’s did another scan of my brain and the tumour had shrunk enough for them to remove it from my brain. They couldn’t get the entire tumour so I had to have another 35 radiation treatments. I’m now in remissions and my hair has grown back. I’m so happy to be back at school.
I still have check-ups and MRI’s every three months just to make sure that everything is ok. My short-term memory isn’t very good as a result of all the surgery on my brain but I’m learning to cope with that too. I just had to believe in myself and believe that I would get better and make it – and I did!”