A Soulbury mum who thought she’d beaten brain cancer only to discover the tumour had grown again is determined to raise awareness of this devastating disease.
Nicole Phillips, 44, of The Green said: “I want people to know how poorly funded research is into this cancer which kills more people under 40 than any other form. It’s sometimes described as the ‘orphan disease’ because so little is known about it.”
The former Cedars Upper student also wants to make everyone aware of the symptoms because GPs don’t always recognise the signs, as she sadly found out.
Nicole, a former beauty company area manager, thought she was suffering from hearing loss when she initially went to her doctor in 2007.
Grommets were prescribed but didn’t help and when she started hearing whining noises in her head, she was given a nasal spray for supposed sinusitis.
It was the start of a depressing cycles of wrong diagnoses: Nicole was told she had everything from post-natal depression (headaches) to being laughingly asked if she were on drink or drugs (noises in her head).
The mother-of-two recalled: “I thought I was going mad. A few weeks later I was talking to a friend and couldn’t get my words out. They were all jumbled up.”
She subsequently suffered a major fit and was rushed to hospital where scans revealed a massive tumour over her left ear. She was taken to the Royal Free in London and underwent a nine-hour operation. She remembered: “I was so frightened – not for me, but for my kids who were just four and eight months old.”
But from that terrifying experience came her passionate commitment to Head 1st, the charity she created in 2010 under the Brain Tumour Trust umbrella. It has already raised more than £25,000 for research.
Sadly Nicole’s marriage collapsed and in 2014 it was discovered the tumour was growing again. But things started to look up last year when she married Milton Keynes engineer Phil Phillips.
And although she has to take lots of medication, she feels her condition is now stable. “I’m thankful to be alive to be a mum, but I want to ensure this doesn’t happen to anyone else,” she explained.
> More info at www.braintumourresearch.org