After returning from the hospital we agreed with my parents that it would be best if I returned to uni and continued with my life as normal as possible. At that time it was unclear whether my tumour was malignant and I needed further tests and close observation. I was so grateful for their approach. The ‘normal’ was exactly what I needed.
Before leaving for the UK, I had an appointment with a psychiatrist to discuss my mental health. I don’t know if I was still in a state of shock but I recall being very positive and hopeful. Even the psychiatrist noted that she had expected me to be in a much worse condition.
I got my first antidepressants prescription and was told to use Xanax until my sleep gets back to normal.
With a luggage full of drugs and life turned upside down, I returned to the UK.
At that time, apart from my family, only 4 of my very close friends knew and I wanted to keep it that way for reasons mentioned in the first article.
I remember that during the first few months after my diagnosis, I had a few weak moments when I was pitying myself but beside that I was pretty high on life.
In February 2013 (two months after my diagnosis), I went to Prague during my reading week for a PET scan. PET scan is basically like a MRI that is used to observe metabolic processes in the body. Prior to the scan, I had to drink a liquid with traces of radioactive material that serves as a contrast agent.
The PET scan did not show anything of significance. There was no activity in my brain, meaning my glioma was benign. It was great news.
It was recommended that the next follow-up MRI would be in 6 months time. I was delighted and didn’t think a lot about my tumour. It did pop up in my mind from time to time but it was not affecting my greatly. I took antidepressants for about 3-4 months. After that I decided to discontinue the pills. I was feeling very strong and confident. Still up to this date, I’m not sure if it was thanks to the antidepressants or the strength of my mind – I believe combination of the two.
It was just a beginning of a long journey that I’m on up until now. A lot of things have changed since my diagnosis. Myself, in particular.
In my next post, I would like to talk about my mental health and how it evolved over the years.