Studying after a brain tumour

In July 2014, Megan Crean had a craniotomy to remove a tumour in her brain. Two months later, she began a degree at Manchester.

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Hydrocephalus is a build-up of fluid in the brain, which can cause a variety of symptoms including blurred vision, headaches and difficulty walking.

There are many different causes of the condition: blood clots, stroke, head injuries, but for Megan Crean, it was caused by a brain tumour.

She was first diagnosed in 2007, while still at primary school. “I felt very scared when I first got my diagnosis. I didn’t know what to expect and didn’t know what was going to happen.” Megan explained.

“I had really bad headaches I had a tremor in my hands. An assistant at my primary school noticed that I had this tremor and told my parents and it went on from there.”

Treatment

Following her diagnosis, Megan had two major operations and non-surgical radiation therapy to treat the condition before having a craniotomy to remove the tumour in 2014, just two months before she was due to start a degree in French and Business Management at The University of Manchester.

Doctors advised me to take a gap year and start university the following September, but I felt that starting University would help me to recuperate faster.

In the first year it was really hard, especially at the beginning, I couldn’t participate in the student activities that you normally do in the first year.”

Megan’s craniotomy had left her with some side effects, which included blurred, double vision, and the inability to look down.

To help cope, she was given a note taker and some specialised equipment to help deal with the problems.

Despite difficulties during her first year, Megan made it through with help from her family, friends and support from the University, and in the summer before her second year, she had bilateral squint surgery to help correct her double vision.

Scholarship

During her second year, Megan found out about the Natalie Kate Moss Scholarship. The scholarship, which is given to students who have suffered from brain tumours or injuries, was set up by the family of Natalie Kate Moss, a University of Manchester graduate who died suddenly from a brain haemorrhage in 2012.

Megan, along with two other students, was awarded the scholarship during her third year of study.

“I still struggle with my eyesight, so my plan is to use the scholarship to buy some specialist equipment to help me with my studies.”

As a French student, Megan spent her third year abroad, teaching English in France.

“Living in a foreign country presented challenges, so I’m thankful that this scholarship has helped to alleviate problems associated with my condition. It means I can concentrate on making the most of my studies and my year abroad.”

As for the future, Megan is optimistic. “The long-term prognosis for me is quite positive as the brain tumour has been removed and scans have shown that it hasn’t regrown, which is good. As for my eyes, I think they’re as good as they’re ever going to be, but I’m learning coping mechanisms to deal with the difficulties I face. It’s all quite positive.

Watch online

Hear Megan’s story in her own words.

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