INCREDIBLE JOURNEY: Kerry Ainscow and her partner Simon Raby are still in shock after finding out Kerry is now brain tumour free.
INCREDIBLE JOURNEY: Kerry Ainscow and her partner Simon Raby are still in shock after finding out Kerry is now brain tumour free. Jamaica Lipson

Mum's incredible fight against odds in brain tumour battle

SITTING in the kitchen with Kerry Ainscow and partner Simon Raby, you wouldn't know that just over a month ago Kerry had her second major brain surgery in three years.

It all started one morning in December 2014.

"I woke one morning to do my make-up and I thought wow my vision's all fuzzy," Kerry said.

"I didn't really worry about it.

"Then on Christmas Eve my mum said look your sister can't go to her optometrist appointment, why don't you come and get your eye checked."

The optometrist told Kerry to go and see a doctor immediately.

"I think she knew something was wrong," Kerry said.

"The doctor wanted me to get an MRI and I didn't worry about it until the new year because it was Christmas."

Kerry had an MRI and a cat scan in the new year.

In January 2015, she was diagnosed with a non-cancerous brain tumour called Meningioma type 2.

The tumour was strangling her left optical nerve.

About three months later she had an eight-hour operation to remove the tumour in Brisbane.

Unfortunately, during the operation, her main artery in the brain was accidentally cut - meaning she had no smell or taste. The surgery wasn't successful and Kerry was advised that further surgery was "too risky".

But Kerry and Simon were determined to beat the tumour and there was still hope, thanks to renowned Sydney based brain surgeon Dr Charlie Teo.

At this point Kerry was losing sight in her left eye.

"I'd heard of him 10 years earlier - he was on Australian Story one rainy Sunday morning, I was just flicking through the programs and it looked interesting," Simon said.

"I was just amazed at this person and then never thought about him for 10 years - until Kerry had her first operation and we were told she still had the tumour and they couldn't do an operation because it was 'too risky'.

A friend of Simon's is also a friend of Dr Teo's and passed on his personal number.

"I couldn't afford to use him but I gave him a call for some advice," Simon said.

There was just one problem: The surgery would cost $100,000.

"He (Dr Teo) said 'come down within two days' I said I don't have $100,000."

In 2016, they were told by Dr Teo there was a 50% success rate for the whole operation.

In January, this year Simon and Kerry went to see Dr Teo to see how long they had to raise the money but, when they went to see him this year, the news wasn't that good.

Dr Teo asked Kerry to close her good eye and tell him how many fingers he was holding up.

"I can't see you," Kerry said

He then told Kerry and Simon he didn't believe he could get it all.

"He told them he didn't want to risk the right eye. He said he didn't want to make me blind," she said.

Before the operation, Kerry's scans were showing the tumour was starting to swell the brain.

The last scan taken before the operation the tumour was bigger than an egg.

"It's in an area, that if it grew, I could lose all my sight," Kerry said.

"When we went and saw him, he said it had grown," Kerry said.

"I told all my friends and then it went bang, everybody went we have to fix this.

"They did so many fundraisers and girlfriends all put their heads together and did what they could, it was amazing.

"We still didn't have the money but we knew that when he said he could, we would go on our search," Simon said.

Simon had to pull out all his super, putting $48,000 towards the surgery (after tax).

His mum also put $14,000 towards the $100,000 goal.

"As soon as we got to the minimum which was $87,000, we rang and booked it and it was three weeks later I had the surgery," Kerry said.

The day after the operation Dr Teo told Kerry and Simon he decided to take the tumour off the right eye and the damaged eye, telling them he believed he had the whole tumour.

Thankfully, no more of her sight was damaged during the surgery and she can see a little bit out of her left eye and there is little damage to the right eye.

"We knew brain surgery was risky," Simon said.

"My left optic nerve was as thin as cling wrap, he couldn't believe it," Kerry said.

"There's a lot of people that don't come out of it - all they have to do is touch a part of the brain that they are not supposed to and it's all over.

"There are so many things that could happen.

"We are still feeling like it's a dream.

"It hasn't sunk in yet: I feel like I have nine lives.

"If anyone came to me with a tumour, I'd tell them go see Charlie.

"We thought going into this op there is every chance something could go wrong," Simon said.

"Seventy per cent of me thought she wasn't going to come out.

"Charlie is so down to earth you wouldn't think he is who he is.

"He has these washed out black jeans, an everyday top and he sits slouched at his computer.

"He is so laid back - he is who he is and his room is full of people learning from him: He wants to help you.

"He treats everyone like they are part of his family.

"He always says nothing is inoperable."

Kerry and Simon said they were grateful for the community's support in making the operation possible.

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