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Patient story - Sue Telfer

On March 18, 2019, Sue washed and dressed as normal and came downstairs for breakfast. She sat down ready to chat with me (her husband) and found that she could not speak at all – nothing. Our first thought was that she had stroke, so we rushed to the A&E, where they identified a tumor on the left side of her brain.

The tumor was diagnosed as aggressive glioma, grade 3, (later categorized as Anaplastic Astrocytoma). Her surgery took place on the 28th of March and was followed by combined radio-chemotherapy at the German Oncology Center.

All of this happened very quickly. Of course, this was scary, but the friendliness and professionalism of all the medical staff involved were reassuring. The excellent facilities and beautiful surroundings at the GOC were a bonus.

Towards the end of the scheduled radio-chemotherapy, Sue developed severe side-effects which required a lengthy spell of in-patient care and left her with debilitating weakness. She needed to use a wheelchair to get around. In addition, the long-term use of cortisone medication to prevent swelling in her brain caused her weight to increase rapidly. Mentally, all of this was very difficult to deal with – the depths of her despair are impossible for me to describe. She was very afraid that her speech problems would get worse, and she might not be able to communicate; and she was very afraid that her physical problems would not improve. At times she did not believe that she would ever again have any kind of enjoyable life. 

The following months were very, very difficult for Sue (and for me). Doctors were confident Sue’s condition would improve, but it was not possible to predict when or how much it would improve. Cortisone was part of the problem but reducing it too soon could result in renewed speech problems – the reduction had to be done slowly and cautiously. 

The mental challenge was intensified by the onset of Covid-19 and lockdowns in early 2020, which meant Sue could not meet up with her friends, and her family in the UK could not travel to Cyprus to support her. Throughout this whole period, the exceptional support we received from doctors, nurses and staff at GOC was crucial. They became almost like family for us. 

Sue’s improvement started at the beginning of 2021, when she was finally able to be successfully taken off Cortisone medication. For the next few months, improvement was uneven but noticeable. Then, from mid 2021, more than two years after the initial cancer diagnosis, Sue was able to start doing some light exercise, such as walking and swimming, and a slow, steady improvement was now clearly underway. 

It was during this phase, in late 2021, that Sue contacted the GOC’s Department of Integrated Medicine, and they offered support in several ways. They provided nutritional advice, used acupuncture to help with pain and stress management, and initiated a program of regular rehabilitation exercise. This type of support was invaluable for Sue. It helped her mental recovery as well as consolidating the improvement in her physical condition. The acupuncture/exercise program is still in progress; Sue continues to get stronger and has a renewed determination to enjoy life. She is at last able to travel to the UK to see her sister and the rest of the family, including the new additions who were born during Sue’s treatment and recovery. 

There is life after cancer, and Sue plans to enjoy it to the maximum.

If you would like to share your experience we are happy to receive your email [email protected]

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(+357) 25 208 000

Emergencies are not yet accredited of the General Health Care System.


Dr. Aris Angouridis

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