When Karan Waller woke up after an operation to remove her brain tumour she was stunned to learn that she had two daughters. Karan’s surgery had caused her to lose her memories of them.
Karan, 34, remembers regaining consciousness after the operation and being confused as to whom her husband was referring to when he told her that Charly, 3, and Harriet, 1, were with her mother-in-law.
“He showed me photos of the girls, hoping I would remember them, but there was nothing. I was distraught. Logically I knew I was their mother but I couldn’t remember what it felt like to be their mum,” said Karan, reports The Daily Mail. “I felt like an awful mother.”
Karan’s husband, Ian, brought their eldest daughter, Charly, to see Karan in the hospital, but Karan still could not remember being a mum to her. “This beautiful little girl walked into the ward, and I recognised her from the pictures that Ian had showed me, but she felt like a stranger.”
Little Charly was scared by her mum’s awkward behaviour at the hospital and hid behind her grandma. Dad Ian had to coax her into giving her mum a hug.
Karan was diagnosed with brain cancer back in June 2009 after she collapsed at home in Runcorn, Cheshire. An MRI scan showed a tumour the size of a lemon was growing in her brain. Surgeons did warn her memory loss would be a risk of the surgery.
Karan not only lost all memory of her children but also of the months leading up to the surgery. To try and regain those memories Ian and Karan went through their photo albums. Eventually Karan had flashes of recognition when she saw photos of Charly when she was very young, however she has not been able to retrieve any memories of Harriet.
Now, Karan is working on creating a bond with her children, rather than trying to recover lost memories, and spends as much time with them as possible.
“I couldn’t even cook their tea without asking what they liked to eat. The girls know that mummy can be a bit forgetful and luckily, they now laugh if I have to ask them to help me remember things. Charly loves helping me,” said Karan.
Two parts of the tumour are still in Karan’s brain as they are lodged in areas too dangerous to operate on. However, regular MRI scans show that the tumour has not grown and doctors are pleased with her progress.