Wellbeing After A Tumour I Was Hit With Anxiety


Wellbeing After A Tumour I Was Hit With Anxiety

When 17-year-old Mary was struck with a brain tumour at the age of 11, it left her with ongoing health issues, including anxiety.

She struggled to cope in mainstream schools, and started at Ysgol y Deri special school in the Vale of Glamorgan a year ago.

All the staff there have helped manage her anxiety, and she has flourished.

The school has now been recognised by charity Trauma Informed Schools UK for its approach to teaching.

The charity describes a “trauma and mental health-informed school” as one that supports “children and teenagers who suffer with trauma or mental health problems and whose troubled behaviour acts as a barrier to learning”.

Its training programmes for teaching staff were “born out of a response to major public health studies” on children who have suffered several painful life experiences.

When Mary was diagnosed with craniopharyngioma, a type of brain tumour, “it was a big shock”, she said.

Although it was not cancerous, she needed surgery to release the pressure on her brain. A year later it had grown and she endured a 14-hour operation before leaving their home in Penarth to spend three months in Florida for proton beam therapy.

All in all Mary was not properly in school for three years, and by then her classmates had grown up and made new friends.

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“I went to a few different schools, and I just didn’t feel like I fitted in, with my condition. People were not really understanding the challenges that I face every day.”

The tumour is now under control, but not all of it could be removed because of its position.

It means her body does not produce any hormones and she has to take substitutes. One of the effects of this is extreme fatigue, and she also has to cope with a short concentration span.


The overall impact of her experience has left her with anxiety.

But at Mary’s new school, which caters for children with a wide range of additional needs, “they treat you as yourself, not your condition”, she said.

“If we go out I get very anxious. I get anxious about doing things but my [learning support assistant] is always there to comfort me and make me feel better.”

Wellbeing After A Tumour I Was Hit With Anxiety


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