Mom-of-two Sonet Crous recently underwent a 12-hour operation at Mediclinic Cape Gate to have a brain tumour removed. She explains why she has nothing but praise for the care she received.

It started with terrible migraines. Then I started forgetting things and getting words mixed up. I didn’t realise how confused I was getting in conversations until my husband started writing down my behaviour, as he knew something was wrong. I would forget I’d been to the shops, couldn’t remember attending my friend’s 50th birthday party and no longer have any memory of our end-of-year family camping holiday.

In addition, I was picking up weight at an alarming rate and my eyesight was becoming very bad. My concentration was non-existent, and I  was also suffering from problems with my balance. Eventually I stopped going out altogether and didn’t want visitors either – I was too scared I’d embarrass myself.

My GP prescribed thyroid tablets and referred me to a neurologist, who conducted scans and blood tests. The diagnosis? A non-malignant brain tumour the size of a tennis ball. This tumour, called a meningioma, was squeezing down on two parts of my brain – the temporal lobe (affecting language, behaviour and hearing) and occipital lobe (affecting vision and colour).

“My concentration was non-existent, and I was also suffering from extreme tiredness and headaches.”

Sonet Crous

I was then referred to neurosurgeon Dr Hanno Vivier at Mediclinic Cape Gate, who was just wonderful. He has a beautiful bedside manner and explained everything to me in detail. No one knows exactly why some people develop meningiomas, but something alters cells in the meninges (the three layers of membranes that cover and protect your brain and spinal cord) to make them multiply out of control.

I didn’t panic too much because I’m a very practical person. I was obviously relieved it was benign and just wanted to get everything sorted out. My employers were unbelievably supportive and understanding – I think they were relieved there was an explanation for the weird things I’d been doing with my paperwork! They told me not to worry about work and to focus on getting well.

I was scheduled for an intricate 12-hour operation to remove the tumour and Mediclinic Cape Gate was exceptional. From the admissions desk to the porter, nursing staff and incredible doctors, I was treated with nothing but enormous care and respect. I spent four days in ICU and another two days in a general ward and am currently in recovery.

During my first week back home, I suffered two seizures and passed out, but my doctor has explained this is to be expected as my brain works to heal itself. I’m working with speech and occupational therapists weekly and understand it will take at least a year for me to feel normal again.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to return to work and am driving again. But a few things have changed – I am now quite impulsive and emotional, not at all like before! But my doctor says my behavour will normalise once everything in my brain grows back into place. I just need to be patient.

All I can say is that life is precious. Live each day well – to the best of your ability. This health scare has helped me realise what is important and what isn’t. And I will always be grateful to all the wonderful staff at Mediclinic Cape Gate who made the experience as stress-free as possible.

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