I have just months left to live after doctors mistook my brain tumour for a UTI – telling my daughter broke my heart
A MUM has been given just months to live after what doctors thought initially was a UTI turned out to be a brain tumour.
Jo Fletcher-Cross had been leading a normal happy life with her husband and 11-year-old daughter Rowan at their home in London until she was given the terrifying diagnosis.
Around three months ago she began to suffer some health issues and was eventually diagnosed with Glioblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord.
She was given the devastating news that she was unlikely to live beyond the next 12 to 18 months.
While it is treatable it is not curable.
It was the same cancer that Wanted boy band singer Tom Parker, 33, died from earlier this year.
Jo first started suffering symptoms in late June and first noticed something was wrong while she was watching a film with her husband and realised she couldn’t talk.
She told MyLondon: “I couldn’t get the words out – just nonsense came out. I could tell in my head what I wanted to say, but couldn’t get it out.”
While she regained her speech about 15 minutes later she remained concerned and went to A&E the next day.
She was told by a nurse that doctors thought she had a urinary tract infection and was sent home with some antibiotics to take.
However, she felt “strange and just not quite right” for a number of weeks after and so decided to get herself checked out for a second time about a month later.
She said: “I had a friend round for dinner and found myself struggling trying to cook something I had made lots of times before.”
On top of that, she found that she had become very forgetful with names, which added to her concerns.
Jo said: “I was about to submit work for my MA in comedy writing which I had been doing via distance learning at Falmouth University.
“I spent a few days working very hard to finish that, submitted an hour before the deadline.
“The very next morning I got up, sat down at my desk to start work and I could not remember my computer password or how I could possibly get into it.”
She added: “We went straight up to A&E and a doctor there realised very quickly something wasn’t right. I had a scan which showed ‘something’ on my brain, and after a few hours was admitted to hospital for a week, during which more tests confirmed a brain tumour.
“I then had surgery to remove about three weeks later which confirmed I had a grade four glioblastoma. They have removed almost all of the tumour but it will grow back, which is why this particular tumour is always fatal.”
Despite her diagnosis being “bleak” and “fairly grim” the 40-year-old mum-of-one has managed to keep her good sense of humour and still performs stand-up comedy on the side.
She joked: “If I’m still here after that my colleagues will probably start asking ‘why are you still here?’”
Jo added: “A lot of people are like ‘oh you’re so brave’, but what else can you do? There’s not really much choice. You don’t want to spend too much time being miserable.”
Her positive attitude as led her to spend her remaining time doing her favourite things with the people she loves the most.
One thing she has decided to do is to go travelling abroad with her family one last time before it’s too late.
While she has had a tumour removed from her brain, she is now preparing to have radiotherapy, after that she will have a month off in December before starting six months of chemotherapy.
That month off gives her a small window to allow her to go abroad before her travel insurance goes sky high, making it prohibitive.
Her final wish is to go on a trip to Disneyland Paris with her daughter and “just have a great time”.
Jo said: “The big thing is my husband and I just wanted to create lots of memories for our daughter and just show her things and do as much as we can together.
“My daughter is aware now of what’s going on. She knows why we’re doing this trip. She’s a great kid. Telling her obviously wasn’t the greatest day but we took her out to eat lots of ice-cream afterwards.”
To help fund their plan Jo’s friend Pauline set up a GoFundMe page with the initial aim of raising £5,000 but that was quickly surpassed and the appeal has since raised more than £12,500.
The fundraiser says: “We’ve achieved our target in super quick time! If you’d still like to donate, we can try and pay for the whole darned trip, and some other fun for them over the coming months.”
Anyone wishing to contribute to Jo’s fundraise and click the link here.
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