Noosa community rallies behind mum with brain tumour

By Abbey Cannan

The Noosa community has rallied behind a local single mum who was recently diagnosed with a brain tumour.

In the past week over $15,000 has been raised via GoFundMe for Sunrise Beach resident Sara Di-Nuzzo who had to endure a full craniotomy.

Diagnosed only seven weeks ago, Sara required surgery immediately as the placement of the tumour was causing fast deterioration of her condition.

The Sunshine Coast resident of 21 years said it was hard to put into words how tough the experience has been on herself and her daughter Isabella, 17.

“I am just the person who always soldiers on and gets things done and I’m actually struggling with how little I can do right now,“ she said.

“I only got home Sunday but staying upright for ten minutes seems to be about all I have in me.“

Sara said the first signs of the brain tumour began about four years ago with pins and needles in her hands.

“It eventually got to a list of some 40 odd symptoms that make me sound completely crazy,“ she said.

These symptoms ranged from feeling pressure in the head, to memory loss, to complete loss of consciousness.

“I’ve had doctors tell me to bleach my hair so I don’t notice it’s falling out, to one even after seeing the MRI tell me that’s not causing your symptoms,“ Sara said.

“I was deflated and exhausted; eight odd doctors later, two episodes where I had blacked out in excess of 13 minutes, and my speech was deteriorating.

“I found a surgeon in Sydney who had viewed my scans and had a Skype consultation telling me pretty much, ’Operate or you’re dead’.

“Unfortunately interstate patient insurance issues meant I’d waited a further seven weeks and still no operation. I was deteriorating fast.“

A member of the pineal tumour group Australia on Facebook had mentioned a Queensland doctor and Sara managed to get a referral to see him.

“Dr Tollesson took one look at my scan and said ’You are in trouble’,“ Sara said.

“Friday evening I was having a CSF flow study done on my brain showing next to no flow and tectal plate pressure. I was operated on Tuesday morning, full craniotomy with one less tumour.

“I owe this humble beautiful human my life.“

Her recovery time is at least four months, and seeing as she is self-employed, she’s reaching out to her community for support.

“I have spent most of my life as a PAYG employee, so not having it when you need it most is hard,“ she said.

“I’m one of those people that work 10 to 12 hours a day. I was even at work Friday morning before the doctor’s appointment but I’m in for a tough few months ahead.“

Sara has private health insurance, however she still faces substantial out-of-pocket costs with $55,000 worth of surgeon and anaesthetists fees.

“I think the system is broken to pay $450 a month in private health insurance and to still walk away with a significant debt and no support is a hard pill to swallow,“ she said.

“I’m currently having issues with my hearing and tinnitus which I hope settles, not to mention the having a cut in my head, but I just have to remind myself I was split like a watermelon.

“I’m stubborn and I’m a fighter… so I will get there.“

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