A woman who put her seizures down to stress was shocked to learn she had a tennis-ball-sized brain tumour.
When Helen Green, 58, from Walsall, West Midlands, started experiencing seizures she assumed they were caused by the stress of the pandemic.
The mum-of-two had a telephone consultation with her doctor, who referred her for an MRI scan. Just hours after her appointment, Green was told she had a 6cm tumour growing on the left temporal lobe of her brain.
Doctors were baffled she was still walking and talking due to the size and placement of her tumour, which would usually affect a patient's ability to speak and their long-term memory.
After her diagnosis, Green underwent a four-hour operation at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham during which surgeons successfully removed the tumour.
Doctors confirmed the mass was a low-grade meningioma and Green spent five days in recovery and now requires check ups to make sure the tumour doesn't grown back.
Speaking about her surprise diagnosis, Green, who is a community champion from ASDA, says she initially thought she was being given a "death sentence".
“I went into hospital at 8.30am and at 3.30pm I was told I had a brain tumour," she explains.
"I was with my mum. We both broke down before pulling ourselves together to call around the family."
Green says she found it very hard telling friends and family she had a brain tumour.
"I couldn’t accept what it really was," she says. “It was hard to come to terms with it but a way for me to cope was to put a positive spin on it.
“I named the tumour 'duckie egg and the triplets' as it was around the size of a duck egg.
“The doctors also found three shadows which is where the triplets came from."
Despite feeling as if she was "crumbling" Green says she tried to stay strong for her family, particularly her parents Brian, 93, and Sheila, 83.
"My mum and dad needed to know I was doing ok," she explains.
In the period immediately following her surgery Green struggled to walk, had impaired speech and was physically fatigued.
Watch: Man grew 18 inches after having a brain tumour removed
And despite recovering from the operation Green still often struggles with her speech and has to undergo regular check-ups to ensure the tumour doesn't return.
“It is all still overwhelming for me," she continues.
"To think that I had been living all those years and carrying it around with me.
"The outcome could have been different if I found it earlier," she adds.
“Though I want to be how I used to be that is not happening at the moment, but I am lucky to be here and grateful to wake up in the morning.”
What is a meningioma brain tumour?
According to The Brain Tumour Charity a meningioma is a type of brain tumour that begins in the meninges, the membranes that cover the brain.
These tumours differ in grade and type, but are usually low grade. Relatively common, almost a quarter of all brain tumours in adults are meningiomas.
The charity says tumours can often be present in the brain for many years without causing any symptoms.
Meningioma symptoms usually begin gradually, as they gently push and compress brain tissue, rather than invading it.
While symptoms will depend on which part of the brain is impacted, some of the signs of a meningioma could include:
Change in vision, like partial loss of vision or double vision
Cognitive difficulties like memory loss
Hearing loss or ringing in the ears
Loss of smell
Feeling weak in your limbs
Treatment for meningiomas will normally depend on their grade, but their location, size, and the symptoms you’re having will also affect the treatment options.
People who are diagnosed with a grade 1 meningioma are often put on active monitoring treatment (also known as ‘watch and wait’), with surgery and radiotherapy offered at a later date, if needed.
Grade 2 and 3 types usually have surgery, then radiotherapy.
Additional reporting SWNS.