Meningiomas are tumors that grow on the delicate outer covering of the brain. This covering is called the meninges.
If you have just been told that you have a brain tumor you are probably still in shock and trying to process the information. For me, I felt like everything in my life had turned upside down and nothing was making any sense. I had so many questions; am I going to die or can it be cured? What are my options for treatment, will I still be able to function as I am now? What are the risks and after effects? How do I tell my family? And what the heck is a meningioma anyway, why have I got one and how did I get it?
I had never known anyone else who had been diagnosed with a brain tumor so the first thing I did was to try and hold it together and set about finding out as much as I could about this diagnosis. Amazingly, I found that thousands of people are diagnosed with meningiomas each year! So, I was not alone and it appeared that many have successful treatments and continue on with a productive and satisfying life.
A meningioma tumor develops from the meninges, the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. The mininges are made up of three layers, called the dura mater, arachnoid and pia mater. Most meningiomas are benign tumors. However, this benign brain tumor is unlike benign tumors elsewhere in the body and if they are located in a position that is difficult to access can be life threatening or cause disability. Most benign meningiomas appear to grow slowly. I was totally unaware of mine, which was 3cm diameter when removed. I was made aware of its presence because it was fighting for space and pressing into my brain which began affecting another part of my body which was concerning enough tonecessitate a visit to my doctor. Although most people develop a single meningioma, it is possible to have several tumors growing simultaneously in different parts of the brain and spinal cord. To follow my story in full take a look at my book 'My Brain Tumour'.