By Katie Vullo
James and I met and fell in love when he was 19 and I was 18, I knew he was the one then and we married in Fiji eight years later.
Just after our second wedding anniversary James starting getting headaches, his vision got blurry and he was not himself. He was completing his final year of his law degree at the time but James knew something was wrong so he went to the GP.
I was at work when I got a call from James to come straight to the GP’s office. He wouldn’t tell me what was wrong until I got there and when I walked in he told me that he had a brain tumour, most likely malignant, about the size of a golf ball on the left hand side of his brain.
I’ll never forget what the doctor said to us, “this is a life changing day for both of you.” from the moment of that diagnosis, our normal life as we knew it was effectively over and we started on a terrifying journey from which we could not escape.
The surgery was a success but the news could not have been worse. The pathology showed that it was a grade 4 tumour called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most malignant form of brain cancer and the prognosis was dismal.
It was devastating news but James remained ever positive. He was going to beat this, we would find a way. Just two weeks after surgery, James completed writing his law honours dissertation and went on to graduate with honours first class. I could not have been prouder of him. He began a six week course of radiotherapy and joined a chemotherapy clinical trial which involved taking both oral chemo and going into hospital for an IV infusion twice a week. Our lives became all about endless hospital visits, doctors, drugs and researching treatments.
James began a strict ketogenic diet and began exercising every day. When his first post-radiotherapy MRI came back all clear, the relief we felt was incredible. James had lost some hair from the radiotherapy, lost some weight and felt fatigued and a bit sick at times but all things considered he was feeling pretty good.
We continued to stay positive and lead as normal lives as we could. We were both determined to continue our plan to start our family and were overjoyed when I fell pregnant with our little girl via IVF.