BEING A MOTHER WITH A BRAIN TUMOUR

HEALTH, MOTHERHOOD, MUST READ, THOUGHT-PROVOKING, Uncategorized

Life really can go from one extreme to the other can’t it? One minute it’s pretty mundane, the next everything ‘you thought you knew’ is thrown into question.

That’s the case with Cordelia who found out that she had a massive brain tumour in September:


  • My name is Cordelia, I’m 36, I have a 2 yr old daughter, 2 step children aged 7 and 11 and an extremely large brain tumour living inside my small head.

  • On the 19th September 2018 I woke up completely fine as I have done all my life, went to a toddler class, went shopping then went back home to get ready for a flight for a work trip when suddenly I had a very very strange feeling around me.

  • Within minutes I had collapsed, was having epileptic seizures in front of my baby and thankfully my mum who called 999. I was rushed to hospital in an ambulance where I continued to have seizures until they put me under heavy medication.

  • Over the next 2 days and after many CT and MRI scans I was told I had a brain tumour.

  • A week later I was told it was extremely large, was in my right frontal temporal lobe where your memory and emotions are, was crushing everything else in my head and I needed brain surgery to remove it which has now been scheduled for next week.

  • Until they analyse it under a microscope they can’t tell whether it’s benign or malignant although the key indicators they look for with cancer thankfully aren’t there.

  • Due to its size they think it’s been there for many years yet to the best of my medical team’s knowledge I have never had any known symptoms until that one day in September.

  • Overnight my and my family’s life was turned upside down. It will now forever be ‘before’ and ‘after’.

  • Aside from the diagnosis what has been the most crazy part of all this has been how everything around me has changed.

  • We got home from the hospital and I hardly recognised it. It wasn’t completely new but it was totally different.

  • When I finally got to see my daughter I was astounded at how different she was to me. Like a completely and utterly different child. Her face had totally transformed and she seemed so much older in a physical and developmental way than I remembered.

  • Everything else was unfamiliar too. Myself in the mirror, my husband, our house, our street, our city, everything just looked like I was in a different matrix but in the same life from just 3 days before.

  • When I was allowed out I had no sense of where anything was, I often wouldn’t know whether to turn left or right out of my house, parks I’d walked in every week were utterly confusing and on a few occasions I would suddenly not remember where exactly I was.

  • My care and identity changes have been dramatic to what I have always been used to. I am fiercely independent, had an extremely active social life even as a mum and loved my own space. I now can’t really look after my child alone, have to have almost constant monitoring of where I am in case anything happens and can only handle small groups of people in calm environments.

  • This all sounds devastatingly horrific and I won’t lie and say it isn’t, but the most surprising thing of all has been just how extraordinarily lucky and often euphoric I feel too.

  • Yes I’m facing high risk surgery, potential life changing affects after and maybe even cancer which means I’ve had the most scariest time of my life but what I have also experienced over the last 6 weeks without a shadow of a doubt has been nothing short of the most amazing, positive and beautiful experience too.

  • I had an overwhelming urge to write what was happening in my crazy head so I set up a blog www.bottlemeupbuttercup.com and the outpouring of love, memories and comments from my family, friends, strangers and even people I never in a million years thought would contact me is utterly mind blowing.

  • I used to find what was happening in the world, predominately politically, so bleak and overwhelming yet now I have never seen how much love there actually is if people really need it despite what difference in views they have.

  • The intensity of beauty in everything has been amplified to such extreme levels that I am in awe of looking at everything in this new light and focus. Studying my daughter Lolita is beyond amazing. I find her fascinating and it is blowing my mind watching her all day everyday.

  • The laughter I’ve had with my friends and family has been side-splittingly hilarious too. My mum is bonkers anyway and we spend every day laughing at the ridiculous things I now do. The best was when I had an Uber driver make me stand out of the car so he could put his hands on my head, chant and heal me. He was a lovely guy but still..

  • It has made me absolutely determined to make something good come out of this and to be able to turn around and say that getting a brain tumour was the best thing that ever happened to me and show people that anything is achievable.

  • I have spent the last few weeks in this incredible bubble of love and support and at the same time telling everyone around me how much I appreciate what they do, even the strangers who serve me in shops or the milkman who delivers our milk. I feel like I have a new sense of being able to really look into their eyes and mean it with such force that they almost exclusively project the same gratitude and understanding back.

  • So yes right now, before my surgery and hopefully after, my mission is to try and get as many people as I can to realise that it shouldn’t take a brain tumour to give and receive this level of gratitude, love and happiness.

  • And this is why my tumour is called Buttercup because it’s made me feel alive, lucky, privileged and basked in glorious sunlight so why wouldn’t I want to bottle that up keep it forever and ever.

  • Danny, my long-term partner and Lolita’s daddy, decided to get married in a shotgun wedding organised in 2 weeks which I can honestly say was the best day of my life in addition to Loli’s birth. Of course it was sad we didn’t have the time to organise something bigger but I never realised small weddings meant I could actually look every person in the eye during my speech and express how much I love them.

  • On the flip side with the surgery less than a week away I go through some pretty extreme mixed emotions, obviously the biggest is the most horrendous thought of leaving my baby without her mummy.

  • However I’ve processed and dealt with this by recording videos telling her everything from how much I love her, to what it felt like giving birth and holding her for the first time, to how strong, fierce and determined she should be when she’s older, to what team she has of my incredible friends to support her and aspire to.

  • Hopefully we’ll watch these together when she’s older and it will be a moment in time captured to reflect on so instead of being sad this is really something every parent should be doing, tumour or the healthiest living souls there are.

  • So please if there’s one thing, as a stranger you can do for me today it’s to ring, message, video or see someone that’s had an impact on you and tell them how much that impact has meant. There are even studies that show how it increases your own happiness. You see, I really am that lucky.

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3 Comments

  • Reply Lindsey November 9, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    Sending you lots of love and hoping that your surgery is a huge success. You are a brave , strong Lady xxx

  • Reply samantha November 11, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. I wish you all the luck for your surgery and a good recovery afterwards. Lots of love to you and your family X

  • Reply Linda Brown November 11, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    I will pray for an amazing mum n a strong woman. The lord is your Strength

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