Woman’s ‘toothache’ turned out to be a symptom of a brain tumour
A woman was shocked to discover that the toothache she'd been suffering from was actually caused by a brain tumour.
Emma Webster, 29, an administrator from Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, initially went to the dentist in April 2018 when she started experiencing excruciating pain in her tooth.
The mum-of-one was awaiting root canal surgery, so her dentist brought the operation forward to see if that might help to ease her pain.
When the pain didn’t go away, doctors suspected she could be experiencing neuralgia, a stabbing pain due to an irritated or damaged nerve, and she was treated for it for six months.
But after struggling with numbness on the top her mouth, pain and blurred vision she was referred to the neurology department at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow.
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In January 2019, following an MRI scan, Webster was given the news that she had a brain tumour behind her right eye.
“I had root canal surgery but that didn’t make any difference to the pain I was experiencing,” Webster explains.
“Afterwards, I started experiencing numbness at the top of my mouth and on the tip of my nose.
“I went to see another GP who thought I had neuralgia and gave me medication for that.
“I was being treated for six months but it wasn’t helping at all, my symptoms were getting worse, and I had blurred vision.”
After her symptoms persisted Webster sought advice from a third GP who referred her to the neurology department for further tests.
Just three days later she was given the news that she had a brain tumour in her right eye.
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“When I found out it didn’t sink in at all," she says of the moment she was given her diagnosis.
“I even went back to work, but later that day when I was on the phone I broke down.
“I kept thinking, ‘Why me? What have I done wrong?’
“I could only think of my son, Alfie, seven, and what would happen to him if he lost his mum."
Watch: Woman loses all her childhood memories after life saving surgery to remove a brain tumour
Even though she was told the tumour was benign, Webster says she was 'ready to plan my funeral'.
“Brain tumours run in my family," she explains.
“My nana, Alice Travers, was just 55 when she died from a brain tumour in February 2001.
“My parents were so worried that the same thing would happen to me.”
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Two months after her diagnosis, in March 2019, Webster had an operation to remove 70% of the benign tumour.
“I was in and out of hospital for months after,” she says.
“I had trouble with my balance and still had really bad headaches.”
Thankfully, eight months after her surgery she finally saw an improvement in her symptoms.
Now she has yearly scans to check the growth of the tumour, and is expecting her second child in October 2022, with her fiancé Kieran McGurk, 31.
“I can’t believe I’ve now got to the stage I am not always having to be at the hospital," she says of her life now.
"Instead we've bought a new home, I am getting married in two years, and I’m expecting my second child in eight weeks.
"I never thought that would be the case back in 2019.”
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Though Webster still suffers with root pain, she feels grateful to be able to look to the future.
“I really wouldn’t have got through the last three years without such supportive family and friends.
"Kieran and Alfie have been beyond amazing,” she adds.
“They still amaze me to this day with how strong they have been while standing by my side.”
Later this month Webster is planning to take on a five-mile charity Walk of Hope to raise money for Brain Tumour Research.
Matthew Price, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research says: “We’re really grateful to Emma for taking part in the Walk of Hope, as it’s only with the support of people like her that we’re able to progress our research into brain tumours and improve the outcome for patients like her who are forced to fight this awful disease."
Additional reporting SWNS