Washington woman shares brave journey after brain tumour surgery on Halloween
A 27-year-old supernatural lover has opened up about her brain tumour diagnosis, a year after her surgery.
Maria Watson, a health food shop supervisor, is raising awareness with charity Brain Tumour Research after surviving her brain tumour.
In 2013, she was diagnosed with a low-grade epidermoid tumour, a rare type that affects 0.02% of brain tumour patients.
Maria, originally from Crete but now living in Washington, said: “In 2010 my grandfather died from an aggressive, grade 4 brain tumour within a month of being diagnosed and so I was relieved to hear my tumour wasn’t high-grade.”
In 2018, Maria began treatment and her neurosurgeon removed 95% of the tumour in a six-hour operation.
Sadly, she developed swelling, infections and was struggling to see throughout treatment so she had to have a third operation on Halloween 2018.
An Aventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt was inserted and a palm-sized piece of her skull was removed to save her eyesight.
Maria said: “Every time I sneeze, I feel the metal rod move in my brain and it hurts. But I’m forever grateful to science for this wonderful invention.”
Maria and her husband share their home with two cats, a dog, two snakes, seven snails and 15 tarantulas. She is a huge fan of Halloween and was devastated to miss the celebrations last year.
She said: “This year, I can’t wait to dress up and take my little neighbour trick-or-treating.”
“I’m grateful to be alive and try to live life to the full every single day.
“Raising awareness for Brain Tumour Research and the amazing work they’re doing to help find a cure, is really cathartic.”
Brain Tumour Research is calling for an annual spend of £35m to improve survival rates and patient outcomes.
Matthew Price, community fundraising manager at Brain Tumour Research for the North, said: “We can’t thank Maria enough for her support and helping to raise awareness.
“Her story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age.
“Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers, and we cannot allow this desperate situation to continue.”
You can donate at www.braintumourresearch.org/donation.