A husband and wife were both diagnosed with brain tumours just 14 months apart.
Anita Jamieson, 45, and her husband, Colin, 59, from Emberton, Buckinghamshire, who are both still living with their tumours, say they were "shocked" to receive their health diagnosis so close together.
Colin was first to be told he had two tumours, in July 2018, after suffering with with headaches, sickness and tiredness for over three years. His symptoms were previously attributed to migraines and working long hours in the transport industry.
Just over a year later, in 2019, Anita was also diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Read more: Brain tumour signs and symptoms (Yahoo Life UK, 8-min read)
After undergoing treatment, the couple continue to have regular monitoring scans. "It seems so unfair that Colin and I would both be affected by this disease, but I’ve now learned to accept it," Anita explains. "I’m relieved Colin is still here and, although some days are tough, I try to remain grateful for what we have now."
Colin was initially admitted to hospital and treated for severe hydrocephalus. He now suffers from impaired hearing and has regular scans having undergone two shunt surgeries, two debulking surgeries and radiotherapy.
"Colin’s memory is horrific, and he has trouble processing things as a result of his brain tumours," Antia explains. "He used to run his own transport company, which we were forced to shut, and had a couple of related jobs but, after recovering from surgery, it became apparent he was unable to process information. That coupled with the fact he no longer has a HGV driving licence makes working too hard.
"His personality has also massively changed as a result of everything he’s been through. He was always pretty easy-going but he now gets angry quite easily. Our daughter, Hollie, 12, and I have found it tricky at times because Colin gets cross if something doesn’t go his way.
"He's still loving and kind, but very different to the man I knew before."
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Recalling the symptoms that lead to Colin's diagnosis Anita says: "He was sleeping all the time and began complaining of having to make an effort to pick his feet up when he walked.
"Things reached a breaking point in July 2018 when his headaches became so bad he was violently sick and spent a week in bed. We were sent to the hospital where a doctor did push and pull tests and, noticing he had weakness on one side, sent him straight for a CT scan."
The couple were told earlier this year that Colin's scans showed signs of growth and that they were "out of options", however, they have since been told his tumours could have stabilised and possibly even shrunk.
Anita’s father was seriously ill at the height of Colin’s illness in September 2019, when she was diagnosed with a meningioma (a type of non-cancerous brain tumour).
“I get stress and hormone-induced migraines and have suffered with them since I was about 13," she explains. "They make me violently sick and I was even hospitalised with them at one point.
"When my dad and Colin were both very ill at the same time I went to the doctor to ask if there was anything else she could give me for them or anything else I could do.
"She referred me to a specialist who sent me for an MRI scan, which I had thinking it wouldn’t find anything, and two days later I found out I also have a brain tumour."
The couple have decided to share the story behind their heartbreaking bond to call for more research into the disease. Alongside Brain Tumour Research they are campaigning to help the charity's petition to increase research funding reach 100,000 signatures, in the hope of prompting a parliamentary debate.
"We could have been in a very different position and my heart breaks for all those who are, which is why I’m urging people to sign the petition," she adds.
Brain tumours: UK help and support
Brain Tumour Support | Helpline: 01454 422701
Cancer Research UK | Helpline: 0808 800 4040
The Brain Tumour Charity | Helpline: 0808 800 0004
Additional reporting SWNS.