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NF2 Day 2024 by Emily Owen

20 May 2024

Emily is a former Member of the Board of Trustees, an established author and rare diseases campaigner.

I’m 14 years old. 

I can no longer walk in a straight line. 

I have a headache all the time.

My mum takes me to the GP. 

He prescribes migraine tablets. 

They don’t help.

This scenario is repeated frequently over the next 18 months.

I try every migraine tablet on the market.

I’m 16 years old. 

I’m now falling down the stairs on a regular basis.

My mum finds me banging my head on the floor, trying to bash the headache out of my head.

She takes me to the GP.

No more migraine tablets.

I’m referred to Neurology.

They diagnose NF2.

I’ve never heard of it.

My (new, the old one retired) GP tells me I need to educate him about NF2.

This is not the first time someone will tell me this.

No one knows much about NF2.

Then I’m introduced to NTUK (as it’s now called).

They know about NF2.

They help me navigate the initial stages of coming to terms with all that this thing called NF2 is throwing my way.

They help my family, too.

NF2 exhibits differently in different people.

Over the coming years, I learn that – for me - it means deafness, facial weakness, eye issues, walking issues…

Since I was diagnosed, Specialist Centres have been set up in the U.K, for the treatment of NF2.

I am under one, and am forever grateful to be so. A team of NF2 experts to guide me through my scans and surgeries and symptoms is invaluable.

My GP is invaluable, too, but not for NF2.

I usually mention NF2, just to get it in there but, since the Specialist Centres were established, I don’t need to discuss my NF2 with the GP. If I have a problem, I can email my clinic direct, which is brilliant.

When I see the GP, I talk about ‘normal’ things, eg a cough. 

I recently had an appointment with the Practice Nurse.

Before the appointment, she looked at my notes.

And she came across ‘neurofibromatosis’ for the first time.

People are getting to know about NF.

22  May is World NF2 Day (WNF2D).

For the first time on WNF2D, NF2 is known as ‘NF2-related Schwannomatosis’, having changed its name from Neurofibromatosis Type 2.

Neurofibromatosis Type 2 name change | Nerve Tumours UK

Names change, but symptoms don’t.

Shakespeare wrote, ‘a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.’

Shakespeare didn’t write, ‘NF2 by another name is just as hard.’

But if he had, he’d have been correct.

NF2 is not easy.

At times, it seems all-consuming.

Yet, if you look beyond NF2, you will find people.

People with hopes, and dreams, and talents, and likes, and dislikes, and humour, and knowledge, and favourite colours. 

Today is a day to celebrate people living with NF2.

There will be more days when we are surrounded by the shipwreck NF2 makes of our lives. But we will be clinging to a piece of us within that shipwreck. ‘We’ will still be there, wherever NF2 takes us….

(Adapted from Still Emily)

Still Emily: Seeing Rainbows in the Silence Paperback – 27 July 2021

Emily Owen

Masterclasses in NF: Constitutional Mismatch Repair Deficiency Syndrome as Differential Diagnosis to NF1/Legius Syndrome - Prof. Dr. Katharina Wimmer

Constitutional Mismatch Repair Deficiency Syndrome as Differential Diagnosis to NF1/Legius Syndrome

Prof. Dr. Katharina Wimmer, Medical University of Innsbruck

Masterclasses in NF: Rare NF1-Associated Tumors in Adults - Eric Legius & Prof. Ellen Denayer

Masterclasses in NF: Rare NF1-Associated Tumors in Adults

Eric Legius, MD, PhD, University Hospital Leuven

Prof. Ellen Denayer, University Hospital Leuven

Masterclasses in NF: Optimising Hearing Outcomes in NF2-Related Schwannomatosis - Simon Freeman

Masterclasses in NF: Optimising Hearing Outcomes in NF2-Related Schwannomatosis

Simon Freeman, MPhil FRCS, Manchester Royal Infirmary and Salford Royal Hospital

Masterclasses in NF: NF1 Dermatological Manifestations - Pierre Wolkenstein, Laura Fertitta & Sirkku Peltonen

Masterclasses in NF: NF1 Dermatological Manifestations

Pierre Wolkenstein, MD, PhD, Hopital Henri-Mondor, Paris, France

Laura Fertitta, MD, Hôpital Universitaire Henri Mondor

Sirkku Peltonen, MD, PhD, University of Gothenberg, Sweden

Masterclasses in NF: Breast Cancer in NF1 - Gareth Evans

Masterclasses in NF: Breast Cancer in NF1

Gareth Evans, MD, University of Manchester, UK

Masterclasses in NF: Pain in Non-NF2-Related Schwannomatosis - David Pang

Masterclasses in NF: Pain in Non-NF2-Related Schwannomatosis

David Pang, MD, ChB. Guys and St Thomas' Hospital NHS Trust, London

Masterclasses in NF: Distinguishing Non-NF2-Related from NF2-Related Schwannomatosis - Clinical and Genetic Approaches - Said Farschtschi

Masterclasses in NF: Distinguishing Non-NF2-Related from NF2-Related Schwannomatosis - Clinical and Genetic Approaches

Said Farschtschi, MD, University Medical Center, Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany

Masterclasses in NF: NF1 Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis - Eric Legius & Prof. Ellen Denayer

Masterclasses in NF: NF1 Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis

Eric Legius, MD, PHD, University Hospital of Leuven, Belgium

Prof. Ellen Denayer, University Hospital of Leuven, Belgium

NF2 Working Together: from a tentative diagnosis and beyond

Understanding the impact that a tentative diagnosis has on a parent. Information and access to the existing NTUK and Specialist Nerve Tumours medical and non medical care network.

NF1 Working Together Part 2: from a tentative diagnosis and beyond

Understanding the impact that a tentative diagnosis has on a parent. Information and access to the existing NTUK and Specialist Nerve Tumours medical and non medical care network.

NF1 Working Together Part 1: from a tentative diagnosis and beyond

Understanding  the impact that a tentative diagnosis has on a parent. Information and access to the existing NTUK and Specialist Nerve Tumours medical and non medical care network.

Masterclasses in NF: Surgery in NF2 - Michel Kalamarides & Andrew King

Masterclasses in NF: Surgery in NF2

Michel Kalamarides, MD, PhD, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France

Prof Andrew King, MBBS FRCS FRCS(SN), Salford Royal Hospital, Manchester, United Kingdom. Member of the MAB of Nerve Tumours UK

Masterclasses in NF: Cognition and Behaviour in NF1: Phenotype and Treatment Approaches - Shruti Garg, Andre Rietman

Masterclasses in NF: Cognition and Behaviour in NF1: Phenotype and Treatment Approaches

Dr Shruti Garg, MBBS, MRCPsych, MMedSci, PhD, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, United Kingdom. Member of the MAB of Nerve Tumours UK

Andre Rietman, PhD, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Masterclasses in NF: Emotional Challenges in NF1, NF2 and Schwannomatosis - Susie Henley, Thomas Pletschko & Verena Rosenmayr

Masterclasses in NF: Emotional Challenges in NF1, NF2 and Schwannomatosis

Susie Henley, DClinPsy, PhD, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London UK

Thomas Pletschko, PhD, Medical University of Vienna, Austria

Verena Rosenmayr, Clinical Psychologist, Medical University of Vienna, Austria

Masterclasses in NF: NF1 Pediatric Management - Rianne Oostenbrink

Masterclasses in NF: NF1 Pediatric Management

Rianne Oostenbrink, MD, PhD, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Masterclasses in NF: Associated Glioma in Children - the Optic Pathway and Beyond - Amedeo Azizi

Masterclasses in NF: Associated Glioma in Children - the Optic Pathway and Beyond

Amedeo Azizi, MD, PhD, Head of the Paediatric Neurofibromatosis Program and Paediatric Neuro-Oncology Program, Medical University of Vienna, Austria

Masterclasses in NF: NF1 Orthopedic Manifestations - Eric Legius and Christophe Glorion

Masterclasses in NF: NF1 Orthopedic Manifestations

Eric Legius, MD, PhD. Head of Clinical Genetics Department of the University Hospital Leuven, Belgium

Christophe Glorion, MD, PhD, Department of Paediatric Orthopedic and Traumatologic Surgery, Hopital Necker-Enfants Malades, Paris, France. 

Masterclasses in NF: NF1 Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumours - Rosalie Ferner and Viktor-Felix Mautner

Masterclasses in NF: NF1 Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumours

Prof Rosalie Ferner, Consultant Neurologist and Lead Clinician for Neurofibromatosis, Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, London. Member of the MAB of Nerve Tumours UK and Trustee of Nerve Tumours UK

Viktor-Felix Mautner, MD, PhD. University Medical Centre in Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany. Head of NF Outpatient Department

Masterclasses in NF - Neurofibromatosis Type 1: Cutaneous Neurofibromas - Pierre Wolkenstein and Sirkku Peltonen

Masterclasses in NF - Neurofibromatosis Type 1: Cutaneous Neurofibromas

Pierre Wolkenstein, MD, PhD. Hopital Henri-Mondor, Paris, France. Head of the Department of Dermatology

Sirkku Peltonen MD, PhD. University of Gothenberg, Sweden. Professor of Dermatology

INFER (International NF Educational Resources) is a series of online educational lectures for medical professionals by leading neurofibromatosis experts. The Masterclasses take place online approximately once a month, each on a different topic, and include real-time interaction between the expert presenter and the participants. The presentations are conducted in English, with real-time audio interpretation available in 6 additional languages: French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. A recording of each INFER masterclass is then be made available online in each language for those who could not attend an event. INFER is an initiative of Children’s Tumor Foundation Europe, supported by an educational grant from AstraZeneca. https://ctfeurope.org/research/masterclasses-in-nf

BPNA Keynote Lecture - Prof Rosalie Ferner - Neurofibromatosis 1 in the 21st Century

‘Neurofibromatosis 1 in the 21st Century’

Keynote Lecture at the 48th British Paediatric Neurology Association Annual Scientific Meeting on 21st January 2022

Prof Rosalie Ferner, Consultant Neurologist and Lead Clinician for Neurofibromatosis, Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, London. Member of the MAB of Nerve Tumours UK and Trustee of Nerve Tumours UK