‘Headway art classes helped me get my life back after brain tumour’

Ian Morgan
Ian Morgan

When retired design teacher Ian Morgan was struck down with a brain tumour he had to learn to walk, eat and read all over again.

The grandfather’s life changed dramatically when the benign tumour, measuring 5cm in diameter, was discovered growing on the trigeminal nerve, which controls the facial muscles.

Despite a successful five-and-a-half hour operation to remove the growth, Mr Morgan was faced with a long and difficult battle to regain his health. And he soon discovered things would never quite be the same again.

Now, almost ten years to the day since the first of two operations on August 5 2004, he credits the ‘brilliant’ Headway charity for helping in his recovery.

Mr Morgan, now 74, 
attends Headway Aylesbury Vale in Wedgewood Street, Fairford Leys, once a week and mainly spends his time painting.

On the surface he is articulate and focussed. However he says that all is not quite what it seems.

“Walking is difficult and I have to use a stick. I sometimes get number strings confused and if I am not careful, I dial the wrong phone number,” he said.

“I forget where things are in my home, so they have to be kept in the same place so I know where they are. But even then I go to the wrong place to find them.”

Some of this of course, he admits, could be down to old age, but Mr Morgan says his condition is mainly the result of the tumour which meant he spent more than three months in rehabilitation in Amersham Hospital.

“I had to learn to focus so I could see properly again and to eat properly because I couldn’t use half of my mouth,” he 

“I taught myself to read again by taking large print books and gradually scaling down the size of the print I was reading, until it was normal. I was in the Heberden Ward where they taught me to get my balance back and to start walking.”

He added: “My mood swings caused my wife to seek the help of Headway in 2009. The Aylesbury Vale branch took me on, and we haven’t looked back since.”

It was initially suggested that Mr Morgan seek respite help by attending old people’s groups, but he found this wasn’t suitable for him.

He said: “An art therapist at Headway saw my drawings and got me painting.

“As a result of that, I just come and paint here. It’s got my mind working because I have to work out orders of operation.”

To find out more visit www.headway.org.uk