Woman experienced seizures due to tennis ball-sized tumour

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The mum-of-two, who thought her seizures were caused by stress, discovered she had a tumour the size of a tennis ball squashing her brain. Helen Green, 58, believed her symptoms were due to the stress of the Covid pandemic. But an MRI scan revealed a six-centimetre tumour growing on the left temporal lobe of her brain.

Following three seizures Helen, from Walsall near Birmingham, called her doctor who referred her to hospital for a scan.

Due to the size and placement of the tumour doctors were amazed Helen was still able to walk and talk.

Helen said: “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.”

Upon hearing her diagnosis, Helen, a community champion at Asda, was devastated.

“I went into hospital at 8.30am and at 3.30pm I was told I had a brain tumour,” she said. “I thought it was a death sentence.

“I was with my mum, Sheila, we both broke down and then pulled ourselves together and called around the family.”

“I couldn’t bring myself to tell people I had a brain tumour. I couldn’t accept what it really was.

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“It was hard to come to terms with it but a way for me to cope was to put a positive spin on it.

“My mum and dad, Brian and Sheila, needed to know I was doing OK – even though I was crumbling at the time.”

Helen underwent a four-hour operation at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham during which surgeons successfully removed the tumour.

They confirmed the mass was a low-grade meningioma and Helen spent five days in recovery.

She recalled: “I went into the room and looked straight at the clock to check the time.

“When I came round, I had counted four hours to make sure there had been no complications.

“When I first came out of the operation, I struggled walking. I had impaired speech, and I was physically fatigued.”

Helen has now recovered from surgery but still often struggles with her speech and undergoes regular check-ups to make sure that the tumour doesn’t return.

She added: “It is all still overwhelming for me. 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.

“I want to be how I used to be but that is not happening. I keep being reminded that it is still early days.

“I am lucky to be here and grateful to wake up in the morning.”

Common symptoms of a brain tumour include:

  • Headaches
  • Seizures (fits)
  • Persistently feeling sick (nausea), being sick (vomiting) and drowsiness
  • Mental or behavioural changes, such as memory problems or changes in personality
  • Progressive weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
  • Vision or speech problems.

If you experience any of the symptoms you should speak to your GP.

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