A woman from Essex says she is on “borrowed time” after she was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour in 2018 and told she had only had up to 18 months to live.
Ria Melvin from Brentwood, Essex, was 23 at the time she was told her cancer was terminal even though she didn’t have any symptoms and lived an active lifestyle.
The first she knew of a problem was in December 2018 when she collapsed in Devon while on holiday with her parents for Christmas.
A severe headache on the right side of her head and a sudden loss of strength on her left side led to her falling to the floor and requiring hospital treatment.
The seriousness of the situation became apparent while Ria was in hospital after she underwent multiple tests, writes EssexLive.
She said: “I was taken by ambulance to hospital where I had a CT scan. We were told I had suffered a large bleed on the brain and I was transferred to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth. An MRI scan revealed a mass that had caused the bleeding, suspected to be a tumour.
“Five days later, I underwent a six-hour awake craniotomy to drain all the blood as well as a resection which successfully removed 100 per cent of the tumour.
“But after the surgery, I was told that my survival prognosis was 12 to 18 months. I am already on borrowed time. It was completely devastating.”
Ria was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour, the most aggressive and fast-growing type of cancer that begins within the brain.
In 2020 there were hopes that immunotherapy treatment at a clinic in Cologne in Germany could bring some hope to the desperate situation.
Luck was not on Ria’s side though and with Covid causing borders to close and flights to be cancelled the difficult decision to stop the immunotherapy treatment and head back to the UK was made.
Ria said: “Unfortunately, whilst in Germany just before Christmas 2020, I started to deteriorate physically and was having more seizures. I then received the horrible news that my tumour had started to regrow rapidly.”
With flights cancelled and borders closed, Ria had to jump on the next flight home and is “devastated” to miss out on her final treatment.
Ria is now campaigning for greater investment into brain tumour research and hopes to raise money for the charity Brain Tumour Research.