Patients can find themselves in peculiarly challenging situations when facing health issues. They usually lack the technical information of physicians.
However, doctors also find themselves without a kind of knowledge that only patients have: understanding of their own bodies. Such understanding ended up saving the life of a Birmingham, England, woman — but only after doctors ignored her numerous times.
Sophie Wardle’s initial symptoms seemed brought on by simple stress, according to Metro. It wouldn’t have been much of a stretch to make such a diagnosis.
For one thing, she was a mother of five, an intense enough job all on its own. But Wardle was also studying to become a nurse.
She began to experience seizures, and the episodes went on for month after month. However, medical professionals believed she was suffering from panic attacks.
How could they have made the mistake? Well, concomitant with the seizures were difficulty breathing and shakiness, which are also symptoms of panic attacks.
Doctors only began to take her account of things seriously when she had a seizure in the middle of a doctor’s office, the Daily Mail reported. One MRI later, they had the correct diagnosis.
Wardle had a giant, malignant brain tumor.
“The person you are dies on the day you are diagnosed,” she wrote on Facebook.
“Whether it be low grade high grade, if you have a good chance of survival or none at all, brain, breast, anywhere in your body, the person you were is gone in those few words, ‘You have cancer.’”
Sadly, Wardle had to hear those words more than once.
In 2014, she brain surgery, her skull sawed open so that surgeons could excise the orange-sized tumor. But the cancer returned in 2018 and she needed to have an awake craniotomy.
“I was told I would need to be awake as surgeons removed it, which was terrifying,” Wardle said. “Having to be awake during the second surgery was the worst experience of my life, but the team were amazing.
“It was knowing that one wrong move could cause a stroke or a brain bleed.”
Though she survived both procedures, Wardle was permanently impacted by the surgeries; she struggles moving and speaking.
However, Wardle has refused to give in to despair.
“I know I’ll never be completely free of my tumor, who I have named Timmy, but I intend to enjoy every moment with my kids,” she said.
“My mum always said this quote to me to make me feel braver, about how I was having to withstand a storm. These experiences have made me become the storm. I’m determined, and I’ll enjoy the life I have.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.