GETTING a headache or falling over may seem trivial to most but for Fleur Kay she knew it meant something was seriously wrong with her health.
Since being diagnosed with cancer in 2013 after experiencing twitching in her right leg, the Quinns Rocks mother-of-two doesn’t ignore any seemingly insignificant changes to her body.
The abnormal twitching Mrs Kay had experienced was a seizure that paralysed the right side of her body and was the reason glioblastoma, an aggressive brain tumour, was later detected.
Surgery to remove the cancer was successful but when Mrs Kay stumbled twice and woke with a “really bad” headache in February, she went straight to emergency.
“I never usually get headaches so when I woke up with a really bad one, and because it was on the other side of my head, the left side, to where the tumour had been, I knew something was going on,” she said.
Despite having routine check-ups in November that came back all-clear, Mrs Kay was diagnosed with a second, more aggressive brain tumour that was twice the size of the first.
The 37-year-old, whose first tumour was successfully removed by renowned brain surgeon Charlie Teo in Sydney, had an operation in Perth this year to remove the second tumour but it was unsuccessful.
Husband Darren Kay said the tumour was similar to “tree roots” where it stemmed off into different areas of the brain and was impossible to remove entirely.
“During surgery they cut the tumour down to 1 per cent around the side and hit it with chemotherapy, but it hasn’t worked,” he said.
“Four weeks after surgery, that tiny little 1 per cent already grew to 1.5cm thick.”
With limited treatment options available this time round and the tumour continuing to grow, friends and family set up a GoFundMe page to help support the pair and their two children financially.
As a self-employed finance broker, Mr Kay has stopped working to care for his wife full-time and support her in exploring alternative treatment options.
Speaking to Community News 10 days in to her chemotherapy treatment, Mrs Kay said it was a “relief to feel so supported” by their extended family because they couldn’t do it without them.
“Getting out of hospital and being home with the kids and Darren has given me the boost of energy I needed,” she said.
Taking one day at a time, Mrs Kay will have further scans later this month to find out whether current treatment has worked or not.
Mr Kay said he hoped the fundraising page would also attract attention to brain tumours because it was the most under funded cancer.
“Only 2 per cent of brain cancer patients get to five years with glioblastoma and 20 per cent get past two years,” he said.
“It’s the biggest killer of children, the biggest killer of people under the age of 40 and it’s the least funded in terms of research.
“We’re limited here in Perth and are looking into holistic doctors and all these treatments cost money.”
To help support the Kay family, visit gofundme.com/fleur039s-battle-with-brain-cancer.