WALKING ON AIR

TEN YEARS ON FROM BEING DIAGNOSED WITH A BENIGN SKULL BASE MENINGIOMA, NOVA’S CREATIVE DIRECTOR LISA BURTON IS DELIGHTED THAT GAMMA KNIFE TREATMENT HAS ‘STOPPED THE TUMOUR IN ITS TRACKS’.

Macquarie University Hospital Gamma Knife patient Lisa Burton hasn’t let living with a challenging meningioma stop her from being the high achiever she is.

Now Creative Director for Nova Entertainment Sydney, Lisa’s job is high performance and high stress. She manages a busy team and has a lot to deliver on in the competitive world of radio and entertainment.

In 2006, 2007 and 2008, Lisa had three major open brain operations to remove as much of the tumour as was possible.Things went well until 2011, when an optometry test showed significant loss of vision and her St Vincent’s team referred her to Macquarie University Hospital for Gamma Knife treatment.

High-definition 3T MRI and fine-cut CT scans done through Macquarie Medical Imaging showed residual disease measuring 4.5 cm in length, located around the carotid artery and involving the orbit and base of skull, placing pressure on the back of the globe of the eye.

The position of the tumour prevented full surgical removal, with the aim of this Gamma Knife treatment to stop any further growth of the tumour and to preserve her current level of function – especially, the function of the optic nerve.

Lisa had a single Gamma Knife treatment in 2012 followed by six-monthly MRIs to monitor the tumour. Delighted that the tumour has remained stable, she is now having only annual MRIs.

“As hoped, Gamma Knife stopped the tumour in its tracks,” said Lisa. “My life would be very different if it wasn’t for Gamma Knife being available. Where I am now would not be possible.” A former personal trainer and figure competitor, Lisa placed second in New Zealand Federation of Body Building’s North Island Finals and third in the National competition in 2002. In 2007, after recovering from her first two head surgeries, she placed third in Australian Natural Body Building Federation’s Central Coast Championships and fifth in the Australian Nationals.

In 2013, after her Gamma Knife treatment at Macquarie University Hospital, Lisa did the Cancer Council NSW’s 7 Seven Bridges Walk, a 26-kilometre loop around the Sydney Harbour bridges. “I have always been fit, and really used exercise and nutrition both in preparing for my surgeries, and in recovery,” said Lisa. “Gamma Knife is a very fast and manageable procedure to go through. While hugely important, it is just a small part of what you go through with a brain tumour.

“And I’ve always looked forward to going to Macquarie University Hospital; it’s been such a positive experience and the team has always been amazingly supportive.”