My only symptoms in august 1996 were the third finger of my left hand itching constantly. After tests for carpel tunnel proved negative I was referred to an orthopaedic surgeon this took until March 1997. By this time the last three fingers and wrist on my left hand were tingling, burning and aching.
After various x-rays and an M.R.I I was referred to The Walton centre Liverpool to see a neurologist in September 1997. He thought it was either a tumour on my spinal cord or a cluster of abnormal blood vessels. I had eye tests an angiogram, kidney x-rays and an M.R.I scan; it proved to be a tumour on my spinal cord in my neck. He told me that if I did not have an operation I would be paralysed from the neck down within two years.
I was so shocked I did not ask what sort of tumour it was nor have I since. I did ask if he had successfully performed this operation before he said yes but they were rare. I had a laminectomy in November after surgery he said neither he nor his colleagues had seen anything like it before and were sending it away to be analysed. He kindly phoned me at home to say they did not think it would grow again.
After the operation I had M.R.Is three monthly then yearly and now 10.5 years on two yearly. A few months after the operation I had six weeks of radio therapy to make sure there were no tumour cells left. The operation left me numb down my left side this has gradually lessened, but as he warned me the damaged nerves do not grow back so I still need to take pain killers. My neck was left leaning to the front and it is gradually getting worse I get a lot of pain in my neck and shoulders especially when walking. I get jabbing pains in my upper arms and I am also unable to sit in a straight backed chair if I have to for some reason I faint.
I sometimes feel down but am thankful for such a skilful surgeon also my husband and son who keep me positive. The Walton centre in Liverpool is a wonderful place I feel fortunate to have been sent there.