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'With pure phobias, we undertake something called systematic desensitisation,' says Dr Atcheson.
'This involves the patient making a list of things they are scared of and working their way through them.
'It sounds ridiculous now, but in my mind, surgery equalled almost certain death.
He advised waiting until my scan in several months, but referred me to an epilepsy specialist, who prescribed drugs.' But, in March, a new consultant said her tumour had doubled in size since her first scan and was now 4cm in diameter. It was just millimetres from affecting my sight and had to be removed otherwise it would, in his words, "get me".
I was shocked and even more anxious when he explained the risks attached to surgery, such as paralysis, bleeding in the brain and loss of speech.' Sarah was booked in for the sixhour operation at the National Hospital, the best neurological hospital in the country, for August 20.
With Sarah sobbing uncontrollably, the team of neurosurgeons at London's National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery called in a psychologist, who deemed her too terrified to go ahead.
'He said he wouldn't book me in again until I could convince a psychologist I was ready to go ahead.' Like an estimated 1 to 2 per cent of the population, Sarah, suffers from a deep-seated phobia of medical treatment.
But when I saw the neurologist four weeks later, he said I had a small tumour in my brain.