AFTER undergoing surgery on a brain tumour, Sally Bramall never dreamed she would one day be able to have a baby.
Yet two years after the operation in the Royal Hallamshire, she was back in the hospital’s Jessop Wing to give birth to Evan, which she describes as “a miracle” .
“After everything I went through, when my body took such a battering, we never thought it would happen, but it did,” she says.
Now Evan is nearly four months old and with Sally and her husband Martyn at home in Forres Road, Crookes. The feeling, she says, is: “Just how lucky I am and how perfect he is.”
Moreover, she says Sheffield is fortunate to have not only the neurosciences department at the Royal Hallamshire that treated her but also Neurocare, the charity that raises around £250,000 a year for the unit. “Having a brain tumour is crap but if there is one place to have one it is Sheffield!”
Sally spoke of her recovery and the joy of her baby on the eve of a month-long campaign for the charity, called Neurocare November.
But everything looked so much different for her in May 2009 when, after suffering a series of painful headaches, an MRI scan revealed she had a grade two benign brain tumour which had started to bleed.
“When I was told that I had a brain tumour I looked over my shoulder as if the consultant was talking to someone else – I never expected to hear those words. I was only 35 at the time. However I now know that mid-30s is the prime time to be diagnosed with my type of tumour.”
Most of the tumour – she nicknamed it Terry and even had a leaving party for it before the operation – was removed the following month by surgeon David Jellinek.
Sally is full of praise for the staff on wards N1 and N2 at the Royal Hallamshire. Mr Jellinek knew she was getting married just four months after the operation, so he shaved her hair exactly where he was operating to ensure her hair would still look good on the wedding day.
She also discovered the value of Neurocare, not only in helping to finance world-class research but also in providing practicalities such as a special bath on the ward and a waiting room for family.
Since the operation, Sally’s family and friends have rallied to help the charity. Mum Margaret Brown’s local pub, the Red Lion at Gleadless Town End, has raised money, and her friend, Jamie Sims, did the London marathon last year for Neurocare after shedding seven stone and overcoming arthritis in his spine and knees.
Sally’s condition will continue to be monitored and she may have to have more surgery. The tumour is still there but it is shrinking.
Above all, she has a reminder of the skills of the Sheffield medical team and the strength of her recovery in the shape of Evan.
“He makes his presence known -–he is absolutely lovely. I’m so lucky. I was diagnosed with the tumour before I was married and I remember saying that having a husband and a baby was my dream but I never thought it would happen.”