Woman’s new migraine symptoms turn out to be a huge tumour

Lisa Dumbiotis had suffered from migraines her entire adult life, but was shocked to find she had a four-inch brain tumour. (SWNS)
Lisa Dumbiotis had suffered from migraines her entire adult life, but was shocked to find she had a four-inch brain tumour. (SWNS)

A woman who has suffered from migraines her entire adult life was shocked to discover she had a four-inch brain tumour after misinterpreting new symptoms.

Lisa Dumbiotis, 38, from Shawlands, Glasgow had suffered from migraines since she was 15, but last year, she began to lose feeling in her hands, kept seeing flashing lights, and started suffering from dizziness.

At first the mum-of-one assumed that these symptoms were just the latest in a long list of migraine-related issues, but her usual medication didn't help.

On the recommendation of her dad, Dumbiotis booked an eye test - but after mentioning her unusual symptoms to the optician, she was immediately rushed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow.

CT and MRI scans revealed that she had a massive brain tumour, which at four inches wide was the largest the operating surgeon had seen.

Read more: Sue Perkins warns 'get your eyes tested' after her tragic bereavement

Lisa Dumbiotis' brain tumour scan. (SWNS)
Lisa Dumbiotis' brain tumour scan. (SWNS)

The tumour was pushing Dumbiotis' brain to the front of her head, causing pressure and dizziness, but thankfully was not cancerous.

She did however, need emergency surgery and on September 25 underwent an 11 hour operation to remove the tumour.

When she originally started suffering her symptoms, Dumbiotis says her GP wasn't overly concerned because of her history of migraines.

"But I kept getting flashing lights and pressure in my head and I was really dizzy," she says. “My dad suggested that I go to get my eyes tested so I went in to get checked out. My optician mentioned something about intracranial hypertension where I had swelling in the back of my eyeballs – it was putting pressure on them.

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"Now that it is gone, there is actually a gap which my brain will move into again.

“Within three days, I was in theatre undergoing emergency surgery."

Dumbiotis says it was a worry waiting to see if the tumour was cancerous, particularly considering her grandad had passed away due to brain cancer.

“My surgeon is my complete hero and made me feel at ease through it all – he came to visit before I went into theatre and really calmed me," she adds.

“He said that it was the biggest tumour he had ever seen, so he was keen to get it out.

"I feel as though I owe my life to this man."

Read more: How one woman's routine eye test led to an urgent hospital dash

Dumbiotis after her surgery to remove the tumour. (SWNS)
Dumbiotis after her surgery to remove the tumour. (SWNS)

Dumbiotis is now sharing her story to encourage other people suffering from migraines to get checked out if their symptoms change.

“You know your migraines and the difference between a migraine and a general headache," she said.

"When the medication stopped working and I couldn’t use my hands, I knew something was wrong.

“You need to be aware of what you feel and if it is different from usual, get it checked out.

"I would advise booking an appointment at the opticians for them to have a look if the pain changes or if you feel different."

Read more: Millions of adults too embarrassed to see doctor about potentially serious symptoms

Dumbiotis with her son Andreas. (SWNS)
Dumbiotis with her son Andreas. (SWNS)

The mum is now doing a sponsored head shave to raise cash for the neuroscience department at the QUEH.

All funds will go towards the neurological endowment fund which helps with education and equipment purchases.

“About four days after my surgery, an amazing nurse came into my ward and took a look at my hair which was tied up in a bun," she explains.

“She started trying to brush through it but it was far too matted, she offered to shave parts of it and I said no – so that’s when I decided I’d be taking the whole lot off.

“I got home and managed to brush it out but it’s still something I want to go ahead with.

"I want to do it for the people who helped me.”

Additional reporting SWNS.

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