Nurse reveals brain tumour 'just part of life'
HAVING brain cancer has taught Emily Shrapnel to never take anything for granted.
Every four months, the 34-year-old is hit with a wave of anxiety and nerves as she undergoes an MRI to check whether her tumour has grown.
"It's hard because for two-and-a-half months you've got a normal life but then two weeks leading up to an MRI, all you can focus on is 'okay this could be the one where it could have grown again'," she said.
"But for me it's part of life."
Ms Shrapnel was told she had a brain tumour on Christmas Eve in 2007. She underwent surgery and because she suffered a mini-stroke in the middle of it, she lost most of her ability to speak.
After the surgery she learnt to talk again and eventually returned to university to continue studying nursing.
But, in one of her three-monthly scans in 2010, she received some devastating news; her cancer had grown back.
"I went, 'this is going to be it'," Ms Shrapnel said.
She was initially told if the cancer returned, it would come back more aggressively.
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Doctors managed to remove 98% of the tumour, but tests showed it was not an aggressive type of cancer.
Ms Shrapnel said between her two surgeries, she was placed on a drug trial, which obviously worked.
She has been on them since and her doctors say the remaining cancerous cells may actually be shrinking.
"It might just be me being strange, or a miracle case, but whatever I'm doing, I'm going to keep doing.
"I'm four years down the track now and it's been great.
"I work as a nurse, which is what I've always wanted to do. I pretty much live a normal life."
As part of Brain Tumour Awareness Week, she said it was about time research into treating the cancer moved forward.
"We've come so far in fighting breast cancer, so far in bowel cancer and other cancers due to the fact there is a lot more awareness about them," she said.
"Brain tumours are the one cancer that we still haven't come any further than where we were years ago."