SUZANNE Ryan has had to cope with worsening health for much of her youth. Growing up as a teenager, she missed out on many of the carefree days other teenagers enjoy, enduring terrible headaches, and four major eye operations.
Unknown to her, a tumour appeared in her brain 10 years ago, when she was still only a young girl. It growed steadily behind her eyes as the years passed. After one MRI scan to treat a cyst on her eye about a year ago, Suzanne was finally told the terrible news.
A tumour, though classed ‘benign’, was threatening her life.
Now 23, Suzanne has undergone three-life saving operations, but urgently needs a fourth surgery in Sheffield. If left untreated long enough, the tumour could result in her death.
Suzanne is appealing for funds to pay for the E15,000 vital surgery. With all the cutbacks, the HSE has been unable to pay for the treatment. Suzanne told the Tipperary Star that the operations have taken their toll, but she’s ready to fight on. Cared for at her home in Bohernanave, Thurles, by her grandmother Betty Coady, Suzanne says the doctor had to leave a part of the tumour in her body from the last operation.
Unfortunately, this has grown and the only safe option left is to fly to Sheffield for a six-hour dose of radium treatment. The alternative is to undergo surgery in Ireland, with the risk of permanent paralysis to the right side of her body.
“My tumour has grown bigger,” says Suzanne, who received the news from her Doctor just three weeks ago. “There’s a 100% guarantee that, if they do this, it will work.” For the time being. Even with the radium treatment, there is still a slight chance the tumour could re-appear in years to come. Dr Danny Rawluk of the Beaumount Hospital in Dublin has been working closely with Suzanne since the tumour was confirmed.
“I was sick for 10 years, and I was up and down to Limerick with my eye. My eye was going. I had four operations on my eye. They couldn’t see it until I went down last year. They sent me for an MRI. It was then they discovered it.”
On January 13th last year, Suzanne underwent the first of three operations to remove the tumour, with two more surgeries in March.
Suzanne had previously been scheduled for surgery in November and December before that, but these fell through due to cutbacks, and lack of space.
With the tumour growing, Suzanne must now raise the equivalent of 15,000 pounds sterling for the operation. This amount does not include the costs of the flights and accommodation in Sheffield.
Suzanne’s cousins have generously raised money through the local Hot Rod in Thurles, a coffee morning in Hayes Hotel on Friday morning will raise more, while still more funds will be raised from a benefit night in the Mackey Stand Pub. Suzanne says the condition has affected her daily life. She finds it difficult to walk in a straight line easily, and endures migraines. “I was extremely tired after all the operations. I can’t walk for long, I have to sit down. My balance is gone completely. I got facial paralysis, and my right arm can’t be lifted really high.” Hopefully, Suzanne can travel to Sheffield by the end of the year. But she remains positive. “I was very worried. When they first told me I asked, was it a cancerous brain tumour? I was very relieved when we got through the first operation.” To donate to Suzanne’s cause, readers can lodge money at Thurles AIB Bank Branch. Sort Code 93 53 01. Account 1709 0047.