Dialog Box


Sally's brain cancer story

By Sally Lennon

 I want to talk to you about a scary chapter of my life. My name is Sally Lennon I am 33 years old. Ever since I was a baby, I’ve had to deal with hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain). This meant numerous operations with shunts inserted to help the fluid flow by itself, and many appointments and check-ups by neurosurgeons. Last year at my regular check-up, I underwent an MRI which is a fairly normal occurrence for me every few years.

On this particular occasion, my doctor looked at the scan and immediately saw something was not right. He told me there was a tumour in my thalamus at the centre of my brain. I felt numb. I had lost weight, was feeling better than I’d ever felt and I just didn’t know how this could be happening. 

The following day I went back to work in the mines to try to make myself feel normal, but it didn’t work. I was just waiting for my doctor to call and tell me how he was going to go about the operation. He called later that day to inform me that I was to have open brain surgery to get a biopsy to find out exactly what the growth was. 

On the 19th August, 2016, I flew to Adelaide with my beautiful friend Jade and her newborn son, and my partner joined later. I didn’t really know what the operation was going to do to me, but I was given a certificate from my surgeon for three months. I am a contractor so not eligible for sick leave, annual leave etc....

My surgery lasted for six hours, and it went well, taking as much of the tumour as possible, and it was sent for testing. Unfortunately, the surgery did damage my vision, and immediately after the surgery I felt like the bandage was too tight, but really it was just discomfort from the operation.

I love my photography so when I got out of hospital it was extremely hard to see through the camera to focus. I did it though. I managed to photograph a bee with the help of my mum. I wasn't letting this stop me from what I love doing.

In the coming weeks I raised $1700 towards the neurosurgical research foundation by walking the City to Bay in Adelaide. It’s a 6km walk and I did it with mum and my brother, surprising my doctor by completing it so soon after surgery. Even setting up my fundraising page was an effort, but again, mum helped! 

Today I am still struggling with my vision and I have regular check-ups to monitor the growth of the tumour. My most recent scan (17 July) showed no growth, which is a positive outcome.  

I want people to go for check-ups with their GP and if they see anything that needs to be checked out, do it. I was lucky mine was caught when it was. I am now passionate about raising money for Cure Brain Cancer Foundation as I have friends and family who have lost people to this horrible disease. I have been lucky so far. I competed in the HBF Run For a Reason and ran 12km to help fundraise for Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.

Find out more about brain cancer symptoms