Life looks beautiful
By Jane Ross
TAMMY Rowley’s life turned upside down.
After two years of crippling migraines, she woke one recent weekend, her vision impaired.
It had happened before, although it had never been as bad.
Her right eye was blind and her left going fuzzy.
“It was very scary.”
Nevertheless, she went to work at the start of that week, at the Kongwak Primary School where she is a part time integration aide.
“You don’t look well,” her colleagues told her, packing her off to her doctor in Leongatha.
A CT scan showed a tumour on her brain and by the Wednesday of that week, Tammy was in the Monash Medical Centre awaiting surgery.
At 36 and the devoted mother of three children Nathan 10, James eight and Amanda seven, Tammy was terrified that her youngsters would be growing up without her being able to see them.
Enter modern medicine.
Two surgeons operated on Tammy on the Saturday.
One poked a surgical camera up one of her nostrils, of the type used for knee surgery but modified for the brain. The other surgeon used her other nostril to get surgical instruments into her head, removing the larger-than-golf-ball-sized tumour piece by piece through her nostril.
She and her husband Trevor had had the procedure explained to them and were amazed that it could be done.
That Saturday was a hectic one for Trevor.
Not only was his beloved wife of 13 years undergoing surgery that held the promise of restoring her sight, he was due at a family wedding as well!
His sister Allison, a nurse at Monash Medical Centre, was being married. With Tammy successfully out of the operating theatre, he went off to the wedding, arriving in time for the photographs and a couple of beers at the reception to help settle his nerves.
As his wife was coming round after the operation, one of the surgeons leant over her to tell her it had been a success.
She looked up at him and exclaimed, “Ooo, I can see!”
Her recovery has continued to be remarkable.
“I wake up full of energy.”
The migraines have gone because they were caused by the tumour. It was pressing on her optical nerve, which is why her sight was so severely impaired.
Her neurosurgeon Dr Michael Pullar, said her vision was in peril and she had been in danger of losing her sight all together.
Now, she is looking forward to seeing him again in a few weeks, for a post-operative check up.
She will be back at school next term.
But most of all, she is enjoying seeing her children and the husband she has known since they were at primary school in Churchill, and doing ordinary everyday family tasks without the pain and nausea of migraines.
Apparently it’s not unusual for people to have tumours like Tammy’s. What is rare, Dr Pullar explained, is for them to grow large enough to cause problems and extremely rare to grow so large that they render a person blind.
Being a rarity doesn’t faze Tammy. She is grateful for the help she and Trevor have received from family, friends and the medical profession.
Now, it’s time to enjoy life.
Short URL: http://www.thestar.com.au/?p=301