The Choice Was Mine


From: "Judith Marshall" judith@mooremarshall.com
Sent: April 8, 2003

In December 2001 I was diagnosed with a virus until a few days later when my symptoms got worse and I was rushed to hospital as an emergency. I was admitted to a Glasgow Hospital - The Southern General Hospital who specialise in neurological issues. The neurologist diagnosed a cavernoma in the left hand side of the pons in the fourth ventricle. The cavernoma was in such a position that although it had haemorrhaged and had been bleeding slightly for some time no neurosurgeon was willing to perform surgery. I was admitted to hospital on December 12 2001 and was released on Dec 17 2001. Unfortunately my symptoms did not improve and by Jan 3 2002 I was back in hospital. After scans it was confirmed that more bleeding had occurred.

I faced a real dilemma at this stage because the neurologist was doubtful if he could find a neurosurgeon with the confidence or expertise to remove it. However a surgeon who worked at that hospital thought he could maybe perform surgery and on Jan 21 2002 I under went a cerebral angiogram. My surgeon's mane is Mr Papanastassiou who works at the Southern General Hospital and who specialises in vascular malformations.

I was admitted for surgery on March 13 2002 and my surgery was performed on March 14. I left hospital on March 22 2002. Since then I have continued to improve, my balance is back to normal, although I still have a 6th and 7th nerve palsy which are continuing to improve. I returned to work Jan 2003.

I had a baby in August 2000 and I suffered a lot of sickness and some headaches but had a fairly normal pregnancy.

In Scotland we are covered by the National Health Service and cannot have surgery such as this on a private basis. We tend to be referred to hospitals in our area which are specialists in the health issue concerned. I was just very lucky that this one was in my area. All my costs were covered by the NHS. I do however have private medical care that covers my ongoing physiotherapy.

The research I referred to is carried out between my hospital and the Western General Hospital in Edindurgh. It is called SIVMS which stands for Scottish Intracranial Vascular Malformation Study and I think is partly funded by the Stroke Association and the Scottish Executive which is the Scottish Parliament.

I would be more than happy to share my story as the choice for surgery was mine in the end. My surgeon would not recommend what course we should take as the risks were so high. He said he wouldn't like to have made the decision but understood why I had made it. I couldn't risk the thought of another bleed and he assured me he would be conservative in his approach.

It is great to be in contact with other people like myself as it is very very rare in Scotland.

Judith Marshall