Julie Buttery

In 2010, Julie Buttery was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour. Daughter Jennie kept a diary of her mum’s progress on the Neuro wards of Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital to help her deal with all that was happening. Here are some extracts from that diary.

Day 1 – Pre-op

Although the meningioma is benign, it is growing and causing pressure on the brain. The plan is to shave an inch wide line across Mum’s head, make a ‘window’ in her skull and remove the meningioma. The surgery is expected to take around 6 hours and she will recover in High Dependency unit for a couple of days.

N2 Ward at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital is a familiar place. Dad was a frequent visitor in 2011 where he had two operations to ‘revise’ his shunt; a tube which runs from his brain to his stomach which he had fitted following a severe brain haemorrhage in 1993.

Day 2 – The Operation

Me, my sister Laura and mum’s partner Dave are allowed to visit Mum pre-op. In no time she is collected by a porter called Gary who puts her at ease as she is wheeled off on her bed. We tell her how much we love her as the doors of the lift close. We stand together. Silence. All we can do is wait.

We make our way to D Floor cafe in an attempt to pass time. Anxiety surrounds us as we shift seats trying to find momentary comfort. In the entrance foyer I buy a pocket diary from a lady selling items for Neurocare which raises funds for life saving equipment used in operations like Mum’s. I enquire about volunteering and the lady, Lynne, hands me a leaflet with an email address for Emma at Neurocare. I fight back tears as I explain that we are waiting for Mum to return from her operation.

Mum’s eyes try to open slowly as we gather around her bed in the hope of some recognition or utterance. ‘You better not have been to the pub without me’ she croaks. Her speech is slow but her sense of humour is prominent. Silent, involuntary tears fall down our faces in happiness and relief that she still has her infectious personality. Her eyes close again and the three of us settle on the seats by her bedside.

I look around to appreciate the nurses, modern technology and shiny new machines surrounding Mum, all monitoring her recovery. Mum is in good hands in such high quality facilities.

Day 3 – The day after surgery

“Visitors are limited so I wait in the newly refurbished relative’s room whilst Laura and Dave enter the ward. Laura returns quickly to say Mum is here. Sure enough Mum is in the doorway! Complete in checked pyjamas and a bandage covering hear head. I’m astounded and can’t believe she is walking so soon.”


Auntie Trish texts: “Everyone keeps texting to send their love. Your mum has become an inspiration”.

I couldn’t agree more.