24-year-old Jenny who has just graduated with a first class honours has overcome a series of brain tumours to fulfil her childhood dream. It’s testament to her resilience and determination, as well as the skill of the neurosurgery team at the NHNN.
I remember looking at the kind nurses who were looking after me and thinking “I can’t wait to do your job!”“I suffered my first seizure when I was seven years old and they continued throughout my school years and every time I felt an extreme fear. When I was 14 I had my first operation at Alder Hey Hospital and I remember looking at the kind nurses who were looking after me and thinking “I can’t wait to do your job!”
After finishing her A Levels she enrolled at Queen’s University in her home town of Belfast but her studies were cut short. “They told me that I couldn’t be a nurse because of the seizures and I was devastated.”
She was referred to neurologist Professor John Duncan and neurosurgeon Andrew McEvoy at the NHNN who successfully removed all traces of a right temporal tumour. After a recovery period, her seizures stopped and she was able to enroll back on the nursing course. Subsequent functional tests and scans have revealed no cognitive decline.
Her dad, David Marshall, senior lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s was among family members at her graduation ceremony.
Jenny, who currently works as a Band 5 nurse on the Nuffield Ward, added: “I am so happy to be back at the NHNN as a qualified nurse helping others. I can say quite truthfully to them ‘I know what you are going through.’ When I did a shift on the Victor Horsley ward I thought how strange it was that I had been a patient in one of the beds.”
She has since bumped into Andrew McEvoy, the surgeon who was able to stop her seizures. “He was standing behind me in the canteen queue and I introduced myself and told him that it had all turned out well. It was lovely to see him again.”