The last time that England reached the semi finals in the European Cup was in 1996. That was the first time I watched an entire football match. It was also the year I had brain surgery to remove a growth in my pituitary gland. Coincidentally, England reached the semi finals again this summer 2021, and I am recovering after the second major brain surgery in my life so far – this time Deep Brain Stimulation to hopefully improve my Parkinson’s symptoms. The journey to this momentous event has not been easy. While England was nervously waiting for this moment in history, (the whole tournament was delayed by Covid) I was nervously waiting for this potentially life-changing surgery (also delayed by Covid). And while all eyes were on the England team, I was also relying on a team, not a football team led by Gareth Southgate or Harry Kane at Wembley stadium, but a surgical team led by neurosurgeon Mr Low at Queen’s Hospital.
The England team may have had the whole country routing for them with flags galore, but I know I had family across the world who were praying for me and many friends praying for me and sending me good wishes and positive thoughts as well as flowers and other gifts letting me know I was in their thoughts. For all of this support, I am so very grateful.
This semi-final football match was constantly being compared to Euro 1996, but like my surgery, this time was completely different, except that it was in the same hospital and that it was the same brain being operated on.
The stakes were high, a life-changing success improving my quality of life vs the risks (carefully explained to me before I signed the consent form) of infection, bleeding, stroke etc. And yet, even though I was scared (I challenge anyone faced with the prospect of having holes drilled into their skull whilst being awake not to be at the very least a little apprehensive!), I felt strangely calm and excited and most of all, hopeful, in the days leading up to my surgery.
Although, my surgery went well, it’s a little too early to tell if it has had the desired effect. I will find out more when I get ‘switched on’ in a few weeks time. Likewise, we won’t know if England’s ultimate goal of winning the European Cup has been achieved until the final on Sunday. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for both. Watch this space…