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Julien Baptiste in the BBC One drama The Missing, sheds light on effects of a brain tumour diagnosis

Julien Baptiste’s character, played by acclaimed actor Tchéky Karyo, steered the second series of the award-winning drama with the diagnosis of a brain tumour framing his actions and decisions as a key aspect of the storyline.

As his symptoms worsen, Julien’s reasoning and cognitive capabilities begin to decline. There’s a noticeable strain on his close relationships and everybody around him on the case feels the effect.

The character experiences ever-increasing symptoms of a brain tumour: hallucinations, severe head pain, disorientation and extreme physical and mental fatigue. Symptoms that firefighter Mark Grimes from the Isle of Wight knew only too well from his own experience of a brain tumour.

“I had similar side effects of a brain tumour diagnosis as Julien did,” says Mark who underwent brain surgery in April, 2015 while conscious to allow surgeons to remove 95% of an oligodendroglioma tumour.

“From August of 2014, I was having periods of about 1–1.5 minutes where my vision, which I can only explain as feeling like I was cross-eyed and dizzy. At the start this would happen approximately once every 6 weeks. Over the next five months this slowly increased to once every four to seven days, it became apparent that during these dizzy spells I was also unable to talk, which was frightening.”

“Following my diagnosis after a CT scan in January 2015, I began to get such bad headaches that that they would knock me out for the day, not being able to stand lights, I spent all day with my head under a pillow in bed.”

For the much-rumoured third series of The Missing, it’s unclear how Julien will respond to his brain tumour surgery but the side effects may be profound, as Mark testifies, “When I first came out of hospital a day after surgery, fatigue was a major issue. I walked about 150 metres and I was absolutely shattered. I can see the similarities that they’ve given to Julien in the series.

“It’s really tough. It affects everything you do. For me, it’s been a long, gradual and sometimes slow process to the point now where I don’t really feel bad at all.”

We have recently launched our Patient Guide, an innovative, multimedia resource to help those diagnosed navigate the healthcare and support services so vital to everyone facing such a devastating illness.

Emma Tingley, The Brain Tumour Charity’s Director of Services said: “Our recently launched Patient Guide is a travel guide to help those diagnosed with a brain tumour who find themselves in a place that they never expected to be.

“Developed in partnership with people who’ve already trodden that path or worked in the system, its intention is to support those newly diagnosed to navigate their way. We want it to be the first point of reference for anyone who has arrived in this unfamiliar and often frightening place.”