A BRAVE Irvine mum has spoken about her brain cancer journey to raise awareness of the ‘hidden’ disease.

Sam Gibson was healthy and without symptoms on Friday, February 7, when she decided to join the gym.

She went for an induction and work-out at The Portal, picking up a salad from Subway - she said she felt great.

Irvine Times:

That night she was woken by her husband, Alan, telling her she had had a 15 minute fit and an ambulance was on the way.

She said: “I was in disbelief, didn’t know who I was, where I was, or what had happened.

“It was only when I saw Amelia crying for me that I realised something very real had happened and it wasn’t a nightmare.”

Sam’s mum and sister came round to look after her daughters, three-year-old Amelia and one-year-old Emily Rose.

Sam was examined at Crosshouse Hospital and told it was likely just a one-off caused by stress or exhaustion.

She said: “I was told if I have another seizure it means I most likely have epilepsy.”

Three months later, the family’s beloved dog Molly had to be put to sleep due to her old age.

During the middle of lockdown, Pets at Home in Irvine had compassionately organised an extra long intravenous line to insure physical distancing so that Sam could be with Molly as she slipped away.

As soon as she was put to sleep, Sam collapsed, coming to on the veterinary surgery floor surrounded by staff, paramedics and Alan.

Three hours later, after returning home and just as she was about to tuck into an ice cream sent round by her friend Steph, Sam had her third seizure.

She was taken to hospital and referred to Crosshouse for an MRI scan which detected epilepsy.

Sam said: “I stupidly said ‘oh, thank goodness, that can be controlled?’

“To which the reply was, yes, however epilepsy is damaged caused to the brain by a tumour.

“I felt numb to be honest.”

Irvine Times: Sam suffered bruising from a seizure.Sam suffered bruising from a seizure.

Sam was with her mum and Alan as the neurologist told her the news. He apologised for not being able to do it face-to-face due to coronavirus.

Sam told the Times: “We just all went into shock. My mum cried, Alan said it will all be ok then we got our game heads on. Got the family round told them and said we will get through this.”

Sam said the day was a blur but she remembers the awfulness of having to tell her family from a distance.

Further scans at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow revealed that her tumour was most likely grade two oligodendroglioma - a tumour characterised by its slow growth and invasion of nearby normal tissue. In many cases, they form years before being diagnosed as no symptoms appear.

This cannot be confirmed until the removal and biopsy of the tumour that Sam has nicknamed Oli.

Giving an identity to what would otherwise be a nameless threat is part of Sam’s decision to approach her diagnosis with positvity.

In that spirit, she has been documenting her journey, sharing the highs and the lows with others in the hope of raising awareness about invisible issues and assuring those going through similar experiences that they are not alone.

She said: “When I haven’t been on I have messages and have really made some actual friends from all different parts of the world.

“And I and truly grateful for each person who has reached out to me.

“I want to say that cancer of any type doesn’t discriminate.

“If you have any doubt seek medical advice and live life to the fullest no matter what your prognosis is.”

You can follow Sam’s journey on Instagram @mybigfatyoyojourneys.

You can donate to her fundraiser here.