A grandma whose headache turned out to be cancer struck after her surgery to remove a brain tumor, which was postponed four times because of Covid.
June Oakley, 57, said golf ball size growth goes untreated due to delays.
The grandmother of four was diagnosed with a meningioma brain tumor last December, but felt “gross” about her treatment.
A meningioma is a tumor of the meninges, the tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord and affects around 32,000 people each year in the UK.
Her diagnosis came after months of going back and forth to the doctors to investigate her painful headache.
Now leading charity, Brain Tumor Research, is calling for more help for cancer patients whose care has been disrupted by the pandemic.
June of Bradford, West Yorks said, “All of my family and friends are disgusted with the way I have been treated.
“My life has been completely put on hold, not only because of my brain tumor, but also because of the delayed diagnosis and now the chaos surrounding my life-saving treatment.
“I usually like to go out, but I have to stay indoors all the time because my headache is so bad.
“I’ve lost confidence in the system and it’s difficult for me to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“I have another grandchild on the way due in November and I just hope I’ve had my surgery and be on my way to recovery by then so I can enjoy being a ‘nanny’.”
June said when she first told her family doctor about her painful headache in early 2020, they “didn’t seem concerned”.
She was initially asked to book an eye test in March 2020, but when her symptoms persisted for months, she was booked for a CT scan that showed the 4 cm tumor.
But in the first of a series of delays, she wasn’t able to get a scan until October 31 of that year.
When the test results came back, her neurosurgeon told her the tumor was “very large” and could not be left untreated.
June said, “When I started having a headache over a year ago, I called my doctor, but he didn’t seem concerned and didn’t offer me an appointment.
“The headache stayed. It hurt especially when I coughed and I knew something was wrong. “
After her diagnosis, she was told that she would be treated as a “priority” and that her surgery to remove the tumor would take place in late February this year.
But in mid-March she received a call to inform her that her operation was rescheduled for April 15 and that she would have to undergo another pre-operation exam.
She said, “You said I was second on the list and should expect to go to the theater around noon.
“I spent the morning preparing for my surgery and had gotten to the point where the surgeon drew a line on my head to indicate where the cuts would be made when, to my horror, told me just after noon became that it was. ”no bed was available and I was supposed to go home. It was a heavy blow. “
June works as a nursing assistant for a severely disabled man in his home and had to train someone for her job while she was off.
But earlier this month, after another series of scans, she was dealt another blow after being told that her operation had again been canceled.
She said, “While I was waiting, I was told that they had to draw blood, which they did.
“Then, to my absolute horror, I received a call from the surgeon’s secretary to tell me that my operation had been canceled.
“I was so angry that I hung up. I have been unable to work since June 1st because my headache was so severe and I was expecting to finally have an operation this week. I’m so sick of it. “
Hugh Adams of Brain Tumor Research said, “We are so sorry to hear about June’s brain tumor and the problems she had when diagnosed.
“It is very worrying to hear about the major disruption to your treatment plan and we sincerely hope that your operation can be completed as soon as possible.
“We know that many brain tumor patients have been affected by an interruption in their treatment since the beginning of the pandemic and we cannot allow this to happen.
“The effects of postponing brain surgery can be enormous, rendering once-treatable tumors inoperable.
“We must do everything in our power to ensure that Covid does not completely disrupt care for brain cancer patients and that the research and clinical trials that will improve options and outcomes for patients who have been at risk for the past year and a half. Half, can go on. “
Dr. Phil Wood, Chief Medical Officer of Leeds Teaching Hospital, said, “We are very sorry that Ms. Oakley has had such a bad experience.
“We continue to strive to have her operation done as quickly and safely as possible, and in the two cases where the operation was canceled, she was either unsafe or could not continue. We are very sorry.
“The health and well-being of our patients is important to us and our doctors feel very sad when they are unable to provide the care they need.
“This is partly because of how incredibly busy our services are right now, and we are busier now than at any point during the pandemic.
“Ms. Oakley has been re-admitted for surgery and we hope that she will be on her way to better health as soon as possible.”