WOMAN'S OWN|November 30, 2021
Clara Darcy, 39, met her match in the unlikeliest of places

Walking hand in hand among the twinkling lights of a local festive display, my partner Tom, 33, and I shared a kiss. It was December 2020 and, despite having met more than a year earlier, I could hardly believe we were here now, together. You see, our love story is a little different to most.

It was December 2018 when I started getting plagued with headaches. They weren’t unbearable, so I didn’t think they were a cause for concern, but soon they were happening every couple of days. My parents Joan and Mike, both 70, who I lived with, were concerned when painkillers didn’t seem to help, but when doctors sent me for tests to check my bloods and optical response, they all came back clear.

By the end of June, I was plagued by new symptoms, including blurred vision in my left eye and a hoarse voice, but I put them down to tiredness as I was working long hours as an actress in a theatre show.

Then, one Friday night, I was violently sick. By the next morning, I couldn’t turn my head to the left, and my neck hurt so much it felt like I couldn’t hold my head up. Mum took me straight to hospital, where I was sent for a CT scan.

‘You have a sizeable abnormality in your brain,’ a doctor said, sending me for an emergency MRI scan. It all happened so quickly that I didn’t have time to process it, but I knew what she was saying – I had a brain tumour.

Mum stayed by my side all evening and I clung to her hand, feeling like a child again. When Dad arrived, I remember just sobbing. I’d never been so scared.

The next morning, I was transferred to Salford Royal Hospital, where I met the neurosurgeon, who confirmed that the tumour was the size of a fist.

‘It’s the largest one I’ve seen,’ he said.


Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine