‘You have to be brave, we’ve found a mass in your head’

Egon Turci likes to dance – especially when he has come out of brain surgery.

He’s been doing that a lot recently, mostly with nurses, it has to be said. One recent occasion was when the smudge on his brain scan turned out to be just scar tissue from his two operations to remove previous tumours.

The designer and aspiring model has danced with medics quite a few times, after a total of six operations, six bouts of chemotherapy plus rounds of radiotherapy in St George’s Hospital, Tooting, and the Royal Marsden in Sutton. But his determination is an inspiration.

Egon with his brother, mum and dad
Egon with his brother, mum and dad

Which is why a film about his roller-coaster ride since being hit by a brain tumour aged 23 is featured in film to promote a cancer trust. Egon, 26, from Streatham Vale Park, is starring in Teenage Cancer Trust’s new Unstoppable campaign.

It charts Egon’s journey since he was diagnosed with a rare pineal brain tumour four years ago – he is currently clear of the disease.

The film shows him laying in a bed unable to speak or feed himself. Then he is seen dancing with his Teenage Cancer Trust nurses – when he thought he had the all-clear the first time, though all his powers of positivity were called upon when he did find out later that the cancer had returned.

His self-shot footage shows the strength and determination of young people with cancer like him – and the Teenage Cancer Trust charity staff supporting them.

Egon’s Teenage Cancer Trust support co-ordinator Ella, who also features in the campaign film, provided vital emotional support and set up evenings with other young cancer patients.

Egon said: “I was working in a hotel when I started to feel unwell – I put it down to tiredness. But then I got a lot of severe migraines.

“Every time I laid down I would vomit. Then my leg and arm wouldn’t stop shaking and I couldn’t even talk properly or get out of bed to go to the GP. My brother called an ambulance.

“I remember hearing from a nurse after a scan ‘My dear you have to be brave – we found a mass in your head and you’re going to have to stay here.’”

During the operation surgeons found a cherry sized tumour in the centre of Egon’s brain.

A month later it had grown to the size of a peach and Egon had lost his sense of balance, hearing and had double vision, so they had to operate. All of the tumour was removed, but Egon was left unable to walk, talk or speak.

He gradually recovered. But then last year another mass was found and he had surgery again in April 2019. But not all of the tumour could be removed so he had to have chemo and radiotherapy.

Then in June 2020 they found another mass. It was this mass that was found, during surgery, to be damaged tissue not cancer.

He said: “I was so happy. Because of lockdown I couldn’t have any friends or family visit me after surgery, but the nurses at the hospital were amazing. I know them so well that I didn’t feel alone. They feel like family now.

“I’ve just finished my sixth chemo cycle and next month I’ll have a scan to see what’s next.

“Things can be uncertain at times. I have become resilient.

“I’ve had to be really careful and stay at home as much as possible during the pandemic. Working with Teenage Cancer Trust on the film has been amazing.

“It shows the lows of cancer for me, from when I couldn’t speak or move and was hallucinating; and the highs too, like when I got to ring the end of treatment bell for the first time and danced with all the nurses.

“When my parents watched it they cried, and said it was so beautiful and inspiring.” To support the charity, click here

Pictured: Egon with his brother

 


 

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