I’m Lynne Roper, 54 years old and living in Devon on the western edge of Dartmoor. Till recently I was a paramedic. I’m a wild swimmer, artist and writer, and above all a lover of the outdoors. My previous careerettes have been as an RAF operations officer over the 80s and 90s; a perpetual student and university teacher for the 90s and early noughties, along with a foray into outdoor activities instructing and membership of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team, Tavistock.
Latterly, I’ve worked also in a voluntary role for the Outdoor Swimming Society, as press officer and in developing water safety strategies compatible with wild swimming rather than insurance and rule-based formulae.
I worked on the front line for Southwestern Ambulance Service from 2005 till August 2015. I have watched from the inside while the NHS I love is systematically destroyed by the coalition and Tory governments of the past 6 years, all without acknowledgement of their true intent, which is to fully privatise our NHS.
It breaks my heart.
Osteoarthritis and a recurring back injury forced me to leave my NHS job in 2015.
Then last week my expanding constellation of health problems manifested in such a way as to force an urgent visit to my GP. By the following evening, I had been diagnosed with a brain tumour.
This is my story. The humour (there is always a laugh to be had), the fear, the sadness, the struggles, the friendships, my efforts to keep going. And, the NHS. For what on earth would I do without it? It feels premature while I await surgery to start this, but I have a nascent and uncertain story and if it helps you to think about what we are in imminent danger of losing, it’s worth it.
My tumour is called Hunt. You can see him spinning on the left of the MRI scan above, mired in darkness and misinformation; it’s a mirror image, though, he’s most definitely on the right.
Bugger off Hunt!