Headway Hertfordshire - supporting people affected by brain injury

Sam Robinson's Story

The journey to ‘getting back on my feet.’

In 2002 Sam Robinson was diagnosed with a giant
craniopharyngioma – a brain tumour derived from tissue in
the pituitary gland. Now, aged 26, he has undergone five
surgeries and had a stroke.

‘I had the symptoms of my brain tumour for a long time
being very short and having very late development,’
recalls Sam. ‘One day I got a very bad headache and was
vomiting so I got rushed to hospital where I had a scan
and was given my diagnosis.’

Sam underwent emergency brain surgery. Remarkably he
made an amazing recovery and went on to read
Biomedical Sciences at University.

Unfortunately after ten years, Sam’s tumour returned.
Since the surgery in 2012 Sam has undergone two further
operations and recently suffered a stroke.

All went well but there was some unexpected hidden
damage: back home he was left with cognitive and
physical problems.

‘I cannot see much with my left eye, which has resulted in
me not being able to drive anymore,’ says Sam. ‘I gained
a lot of weight from my surgery in 2012, which I wasn’t
aware would happen and I have no sense of smell. I also
have something called Hemiparesis, which means I have
a slight paralysis in my left hand side.’

For Sam the cognitive issues are the most infuriating.
‘My motivation, concentration and memory are not as
good as they used to be’ explains Sam. ‘Emotionally, each
surgery set me back every time and getting back on my
feet again is very frustrating.’

However, living with brain injury changed for Sam when in
2012 he found help at Headway Hertfordshire.

‘Headway have helped me no end really. I attend a group
there called HABIT, which is great for my self-esteem
because I get to talk to other people about the difficulties
I’m having and often they’re in a similar scenario.

‘The lady who runs the sessions often gives us
presentations on how different part of the brain might be
damaged, which helps me to identify issues as a result of
my brain injury and gives me mechanisms of how to
combat these.’

Sam has recently begun volunteering and Headway is
helping him get back into paid employment.

‘I would highly recommend to anyone with a brain injury
the help and support the Headway staff have given to both
me and my family.’