A devastated mum has spoken of her anguish at being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.
Claire Kryzaniwski used to spend her days as a teaching assistant and also ran a mother and toddler group and a support group for parents.
It’s a grade two astrocytoma tumour, which means it’s on the cusp of being benign, but it’s inoperable because it isn’t actually a physical tumourClaire Kryzaniwski
Now, she’s resorted to buying a puppy to keep her company during the day and encourage her to get out of her Clayton Brook home, as a brain tumour has led to her having to take ill health retirement.
A combination of the tumour and her medication has resulted in her losing her balance, shaking a lot, and even losing her memory.
She has also lost her hair.
Despite everything, Claire has vowed to remain positive and treat every day as a ‘blessing’, supported by her husband Steven and 15-year-old daughter Zara.
“I only got upset once,” the 44-year-old admitted. “That was when they told me the news about the tumour.
“But there’s no point moping about. You’ve just got to try to get on with things.”
Claire started going to the doctors back in February after suffering crippling headaches.
“The doctor dismissed them as tension headaches,” she explained. “But they were happening every day and were really severe; I kept having to go for a lie down. I couldn’t function.
“In May, I saw a different doctor and they recognised that something wasn’t right.
“They sent me for a CT scan because they didn’t know if it was a tumour or a cyst; I thought it was going to be a cyst.
“Then I had an MRI scan which showed that it was in fact a tumour.
“When I finally got the diagnosis in June, I was just devastated.”
But more bad news was yet to come.
Claire underwent a biopsy to determine what grade the tumour was classed as, but during the procedure, her brain swelled and she was frighteningly close to being in a coma.
A week later, her daughter found her collapsed at home after she suffered several seizures, and she is now on 10 tablets a day, including anti-convulsants (also known as anti-epileptic or anti-seizure drugs) and steroids.
She added: “It’s a grade two astrocytoma tumour, which means it’s on the cusp of being benign, but it’s inoperable because it isn’t actually a physical tumour; it’s like a white cloud with little tentacles.
“I spoke to my consultant and they said about having treatment to try to reduce and halt its growth, so I finished a five-week course of radiotherapy last week.
“The treatment doesn’t hurt, it just makes me feel a bit sick and tired.”
Claire now has an agonising three-month wait for the results.
“Hopefully it’s shrunk and will stop growing for a reasonable amount of time,” she said. “Otherwise it will have to be chemo. It will start to grow again at some point, so then it’s a question of do I carry on the treatment?
“It will claim my life one day, I just don’t know when.”
Claire, who worked as a higher level teaching assistant at St Aidan’s CE Primary School in Bamber Bridge teaching RE, PE and music, says she is trying to keep busy, despite feeling ‘wiped out’ by the radiotherapy.
She also wants to give something back to the charity which has supported her, and is holding a vintage coffee afternoon in Whittle-le-Woods next month.
She said: “Macmillan Cancer Support has given me loads of information, and there are people to talk to, which has been a great help.
“To give something back, I’ve organised a vintage coffee afternoon at Whittle-le-Woods Village Hall on October 17 from 2pm. To raise as much money as possible I am looking to keep costs to a minimum and collect as many donations as possible.
“Items I am looking for include tea, coffee, sugar, cakes, plates, cups, table cloths, napkins, and raffle prizes of any kind.”
l To help, email Claire at email@example.com