“I was diagnosed with a brain tumour when I was 23. I had been having terrible migraines for years, so when I found out, I actually felt a sense of relief because I finally knew what was wrong.
The type of brain tumour I have is called Craniopharyngioma. It’s when the tumour develops near the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. The pituitary gland controls several hormone glands in the body, so even though my tumour is benign, it caused my hormone levels to plunge.
I was put on hormone replacement pills. Without them, I’d vomit a lot and not have any appetite. And because I was also low on cortisol, the stress hormone, it was difficult to get out of bed in the morning and deal with stressful situations.
From the get-go, my doctors recommended that I undergo surgery to remove the tumour. Back then, the procedure involved [the insertion of a] microscope. I found it too invasive, so I left the growth alone for five years. It was only in 2012 that I went for my first surgery because it started to push on my optic nerve and affect my vision. However, the tumour grew back within a couple of months.
Ashley has gone through seven surgeries since 2012.
I’m 34 now and I’ve had seven surgeries in all. However, the tumour still hasn’t stopped growing back. The aggressive regrowth wasn’t something my doctors expected and they’ve tried using different methods to make the tumour go away for good, like putting i