FOR Sarah May Philo there was no warning anything was wrong.

A teacher, she was busy with the run up to Christmas and all the socialising that comes with the festive season.

But in early December last year, the 34-year-old woke up to see her concerned boyfriend telling her an ambulance was on its way.

Sarah May had suffered a seizure in her sleep and had been “totally reeling” for 45 minutes afterwards.

Even then, she and partner Paul Griffin - known as Griff - hadn’t thought there was much to worry about.

Sarah May, who also performs stand-up comedy, said: “Much later Griff said he didn’t think I would recover that night, he thought I had serious brain damage.

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“But afterwards I was totally blasé about the whole thing because after the seizure those around us weren’t panicking or saying, ‘This is serious,’ or that there was anything to worry about.

“I work with kids who have seizures all the time too.

“The last thing the doctor said to me was, ‘I’ll book you in for an MRI but I don’t think anything’s going to come of it.”

The seizure was December 6 and Sarah May had a three month wait for the MRI scan, which she had on February 28.

Less than 24 hours later a doctor from the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital called to say a bed was waiting for her.

Sarah May, who is also a talented singer, added: “They were very, very calm and that was sort of misleading.

"I distinctly remember saying to the guy on the phone, ‘Is this serious?’ and he paused. That was the only time there was silence on the line.

"They told me to get my partner to drive me and not to come in alone."

The scan had revealed a huge tumour in Sarah May's brain. Technically, it was a type called an Oligodendroglioma.

But using the sense of humour that saw her though her cancer treatment, Sarah May named it Rodger.

When the news was broken to her, Sarah May struggled to comprehend it so she asked to see for herself.

She said: "The doctor kept saying a ‘significant amount’ of tumour had taken over my brain and I kept asking what that meant. So I thought it would be easiest to see the scan.

"When she brought up the scan, it looked like half a brain. It was so big.

"I must have been in shock because the first thing I thought was ‘How fascinating.’

"'I have just been living with this and going to school and meeting my friends and carrying on with this large thing in my head.'"

The next step for Sarah May was surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible - and she was going to have to be awake for most of the operation.

To get her through what turned out to be a 12-hour surgery, Sarah May kept the surgical team entertained by telling jokes from her stand-up career... and singing opera.

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She said: "While the surgery was tough, I had thought that I would have the operation and then be fine.

"I thought I would be back to school afterwards so it didn't really hit until after surgery."

It was in a post-operative meeting with one of the surgical team that Sarah May finalised realised she had cancer.

She added: "[The doctor] said it had been a grade two tumour but is now a grade two/three. It is slow growing and he was saying all the technical stuff.

"I stopped him halfway and said, ‘Is this cancer?’ I was the first person to use the C-word. He looked at me like I was crazy and said, ‘Of course it’s cancer.’

"Chemo had been mentioned but I hadn’t connected chemo with cancer, which seems ridiculous and stupid but hearing the word cancer I was absolutely shocked.

"That's when it really hit home."

Sarah May had been supported by oncologist Dr Alan James and clinical oncologist Dr Stefan Nowicki. She is also full of praise for Mairi Mackinnon, specialist oncology nurse who “literally held my hand”.

After surgery she was seen by her first Beatson doctor.

Sarah May said: "I remember sitting staring at her Beatson lanyard and thinking, ‘S***, this isn’t going well.’

"She said to me, ‘This tumour is never going to leave your brain. It’s just going to come back and back and back. You can live with it for years but it’s never going to go.’ You could have heard a pin drop.

"A few weeks earlier I’d been perfectly healthy. I’d been running around with the kids and going to the Christmas fayre at night.

"I kept thinking, ‘But nothing’s wrong with me’."

Sarah May started writing a blog about her experience, which she describes as an "important crutch" that helped her keep going.

Before chemotherapy, she had a round of IVF in order to harvest and freeze her eggs in the hope of starting a family one day.

She described chemotherapy as "really tough" with the treatment making her feel properly ill for the first time.

Adjusting to her new situation was also difficult.

Sarah May said: "I thought, ‘I have to come to terms with the fact that, unless I’m hit by a bus one day, this will kill me,’ and that was a lot to deal with. The thought still flickers across my head but much less often now.

"And when I think morbid thoughts like that I remember that in 20 or 30 years time I could have a heart attack, any number of things might kill me.

"There are far, far worse situations to be in. People are diagnosed and told they have a couple of months to live.

"I feel lucky. I feel I have dodged a bullet."

Following 10 months of chemotherapy, Sarah May then endured six weeks of daily radiotherapy.

The hardest part, she said, was losing her hair. She added: "I had a five minute cry in the shower about it then pulled myself together and was like, ‘Ok, next.’

"But I did feel the lowest I’d felt when clumps of my hair was coming out."

In between chemotherapy and radiotherapy there was happy news for Sarah May when Griff proposed, out of the blue following a weekend away.

Sarah May said she was "Totally, totally taken aback" and the couple will now marry in June next year.

She previously featured in the Evening Times in 2016 when she was mugged at knifepoint in Dennistoun.

Her attacker has since been jailed.

Following the end of radiotherapy, Sarah May was struck with somnolence syndrome, a rare side effect to treatment.

It left her sleeping 20 hours a day and in a deep depression.

She said: "My whole brain had changed overnight and I didn’t know what it was; I was feeling a sense of loss and grief and pain.

"I cried every single day and I never cried. It was frightening, it was the lowest point I’ve been at in the whole year.

"I lost my coping mechanisms and it was just two weeks of absolute agony and horror.

"And then one morning I woke up and lifted out of it."

Now she is at the end of treatment and planning a wedding, Sarah May's friends have formed an AC/DC tribute band and next week will play a show to raise cash for the Beatson.

The band is formed of Griff, on bass; best friend Maria Evantelmi (or Bonnie Scott on stage) singing; her husband Rik Evantelmi on guitar; Martin Willis, on drums; and Neil Monk on lead guitar.

When they take to the stage of Blackfriars, in the Merchant City, it will be a dream come true for life-long AC/DC fan Rik, a professional viola player.

Rik said: "Ever since Sarah May got ill, she and Griff have been through everything you can imagine. So when it came to putting on a show, we wanted to do it in aid of the Beatson.

"You would never want to put yourself in that position but I can't imagine being as positive and stoic as Sarah May. I have never heard her complain. She's amazing."

Sarah May added: "I’m feeling very good. I’m back to school and the kids are asking about my bald head. It’s funny and lovely and everybody is back to normal and that makes me feel normal.

"My wedding is next year and that will be the best day ever.

"I’m just overwhelmed by what the band has done. I’ll see all my friends and it will be an opportunity to celebrate finally at the end of treatment and it will be wonderful."

To donate, click here. To read Sarah May's blog, head here.