January 15, 2017 4 Comments
Lisbon orange and blue ornate tiles


January 15, 2017 4 Comments

What do you do when you are told you have a brain tumour? It’s quite likely you’ll cry and that’s fine, but what do you do after that?

We went for lunch at Jamie’s Italian. We didn’t really want to go home as we were both off work for the day. On the way there Sinead O’Connor Nothing Compares to You played on the radio and we laughed about the unfortunate timing.  The following day we flew to Lisbon for the weekend. The trip was already planned and it seemed as good a place as any to come to terms with the news.

It was the 7th October when the T-bomb was dropped. The consultant informed me that the MRI scan had identified a brain tumour and I had Symptomatic Epilepsy. I was to start taking anti-seizure medication straight away and a neuro-oncology MDT would decide on appropriate treatment.

I’d been lucky to have had very few symptoms prior to my diagnosis. I’d experienced some weakness on my left side in bed one night which was thought to be caused by a trapped nerve.  It seemed to fit the bill so I carried on as normal.

A couple of months later in August, I had a big seizure in my sleep after a day at York Races and a very late night.  I was rushed to A & E, checked out and advised that I should be referred to a Neurologist. An MRI scan followed.

I don’t think it matters where you go but having some time to process the information helps. I focused on the positives. I was living a normal life and didn’t feel ill. It was expected to be low-grade (non-cancerous).

I thought about what I might put on a bucket list but when I got back home things felt pretty much the same as they had before. Life carries on and that is strangely comforting. I still emptied the dishwasher and put the rubbish out, but I also thought about what I was doing with my life and why. I can’t claim to have found all the answers yet but have learnt a few things…

1. The internet will confirm your worst fears if you let it. Don’t spend too much time looking.

2. Lisbon is a great city. Go for the custard tarts if for nothing else.

3. Get used to waiting. For test results, appointments, news. Waiting is the worst bit.

I love white jeans in the sun – they somehow feel smarter than blue denim. Always a bit risky where food and wine are concerned but I’m pleased to say I left the Time Out Market stain free! I’ve worn the grey H & M ballet pumps non-stop since I bought them in September and they were perfect for the cobbles.  Items linked below (jeans – Topshop, shirt – Zara, shoes – H & M).


  • Anna B September 14, 2017 at 10:18 am

    ohhhh the tiles… takes me right back <3 Anna B.

    • Sarah Gaffney September 14, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      Tiles for days in Lisbon!! 🙂

  • Carrie January 31, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    You should add photography and writing to your cv. Such an honest, thought provoking and inspiring blog and love the ballet pumps😀

    • Sarah Gaffney February 15, 2017 at 11:15 am

      Aww thank you Carrie (sorry for the delayed response…). xx

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