AFTER having an MRI scan for a suspected ear infection, Rosie Kavanagh was stun-ned to be told she had a brain tumour.
As she sat in the waiting room, her doctor said: “You won’t be leaving hospital again.”
The tumour was the size of an orange.
But four years later Rosie, 29, has confounded the medics after five rounds of brain surgery.
In March her boyfriend Justin, 30 — who she had been seeing for only six months before the diagnosis — asked her to marry him.
And the couple are now expecting their first baby.
Rosie says: “Life really is full of surprises. I would never have thought, when I got that diagnosis, that I’d be engaged.
“I’m just thankful I’m here to tell the story.”
Rosie had been feeling unwell for months before getting the MRI scan.
The accountant, from Croydon, South London, says: “In March 2015 my head started to pound with intense pain. It started off intermittently but after a couple of months I could hardly stand. One day I even blacked out while making a cup of tea.”
Despite six GP appointments, doctors insisted she had labyrinthitis, an inner ear infection and she was given antibiotics.
She says: “My sister Laura is a GP and she persuaded me to get an MRI scan at A&E. It was four hours after this scan on May 13, 2015 that I was given the news that would change my life completely.
“I remember sitting in a little room and being told by the doctor that I had a brain tumour. In the next breath, he said it was really big, the size of an orange, and I wouldn’t leave hospital again.
“I felt numb. The implication was clear, I was going to die.”
Her dad Gerry, 68, who was with her, rang her step mum and four sisters.
'I FELT NUMB'
Rosie says: “Within half an hour, they were all by my side.
“I’d met a new boyfriend only six months earlier on a dating app, and I then had to break the news to him. I told him I wouldn’t be offended if it was too much to take on.
“He was so unfazed by it all and told me he’d help get it sorted.”
Rosie was referred to The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London. She says: “I had an operation to remove the bulk of the tumour. It was non-cancerous.
Although I was scared that part of my skull would be removed to reach the tumour, I had total faith in my surgeon. My biggest worry was how my face would look after the surgery, as a droopy face was a possible side-affect.
“When I came round from surgery, the first thing I asked was to see my face in a mirror and was pleased the after-effects haven’t been too bad. I was so relieved to be alive I didn’t mind the scar.” Rosie had more surgery in 2016 following a re-growth of the tumour.
Then in 2017 she had a silicone implant where part of her skull had been removed. And last year there were two surgeries to shrink a new re-growth.
Rosie, now a mentor helping The National Brain Appeal, says: “Justin has been with me every step of the way and in March he presented me with a ring, asking: ‘Will you marry me?’ I blurted out ‘yes’ without hesitation. It was a perfect moment after everything we’d been through.”
Weeks later, Rosie discovered she was going to be a mum. She says: “It was another massive shock, but a nice one this time.
“It really does feel like the baby is meant to be. The tumour is still there, it’s not getting any bigger, but may enlarge during pregnancy. They’ll keep a close eye on it.”
This year Rosie and accountant Justin both completed the London Marathon, raising £7,000 for The National Brain Appeal.
Justin says: “I’m so proud of Rosie, we can face anything together.”
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