This year, 22-year-old Demi Lawson has not only faced a global pandemic, but a diagnosis of brain cancer, an awake craniotomy (brain surgery) – and has been learning to live with the death of her younger brother.
When Demi was unable resolve a headache in October, she saw herself in our emergency department where she was told the frightening news – she had a brain tumour.
She was later diagnosed with a grade-3 ependymoma, an aggressive brain tumour that is very rare in adults. Because Demi’s tumour was located near the language centre in her brain, it required our neurosurgery team to perform an awake craniotomy to remove it.
With Demi’s cooperation during the surgery, the team achieved an excellent excision of the tumour, keeping her speech and motor skills fully intact. As part of her treatment Demi will soon start radiotherapy and begin her journey to living with a diagnosis of brain cancer.
The limited treatment options for brain cancer means that Demi does not know how her journey will play out. More research into treatment options for brain cancer is desperately needed.
At the time of her surgery, Demi consented to donating samples of the tumour that was removed, to the Alfred Brain Bio-Bank to help future researchers. The samples collected by the bio-bank are stored and made available to ethically approved researchers, to test and trial new treatments for brain cancer.
Demi has demonstrated remarkable resilience and has become a source of strength for her loved ones – she wanted to share her journey in order to help others who are going through the same.
“I had a choice when I found out I had a brain tumour, I could crawl up into a ball and cry, or I could just face it one day at a time and not worry too much about what’s next. I can enjoy what’s happening now, like me and my partner Liam moving into our new home,” said Demi.
To watch Demi's story with The Project visit https://bit.ly/2KddOrE