Mum who woke up ‘with no words in her head’ rings 999 immediately

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A mum who woke up and ‘couldn’t get her words out’ rang 999 and was rushed into hospital.

Annette Woollamput her memory and speech problems down to ‘anxiety and nerves’ as she had just begun immunotherapy for lung cancer.

The 45-year-old said due to her treatment she had began to struggle with communicating and her memory.

However one morning she said she woke up "terrified" and said she had "no words".

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She told the ECHO : “It was a gradual process, I had noticed the week leading up to my total breakdown that I was struggling with words and couldn't find certain words in my mind.

“Then on that day when it happened I was at home alone, my husband had left for work.

“It was terrifying and it's not something you wish on anyone.

“So I put it down to being a bit anxious because I didn't know what to expect so I wasn't worried too much about my speech.

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“But then after a week, one morning when I woke up and basically my thinking wasn’t working and then also not being able to find the words. It was scary.”

She added: “It got to the point where I couldn’t remember my address or even my date of birth. I was so scared I didn’t know what was happening.”

Annette, from Chester, was able to ring 999 and the emergency operator realised she was struggling to communicate and sent her an ambulance.

She said: “I don’t know how they found me, but I am so grateful, and the operator stayed on the line until they arrived.

“I was able to leave a message on my husband’s phone, it probably didn’t make much sense.”

Annette was referred to The Walton Centre, in Liverpool, for urgent neurosurgery, where consultant neurosurgeon Mr Andrew Brodbelt managed to remove a tumour that was she didn't realise had been growing inside her brain.

Her cognitive skills soon returned to normal with removal of the tumour, which was found in the speech and language centre of her brain.

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Annette, who is an account administrator, said: “I was so relieved that Mr Brodbelt was able to remove it so quickly and effectively. When I went for my follow-up appointment I wanted to give him a big hug for all he’s done – and I would’ve if it weren’t for the social distancing rules!

“Nurses are the first people you see when you come into hospital, and their kindness and care gave me confidence.

“I felt safe when they took me for surgery, and on Chavasse Ward in particular they were incredibly thoughtful. I could see it with how they cared for other patients too. I could tell they were smiling, even with their masks on.

“All the staff at The Walton Centre have been incredible and so supportive despite the restrictions. The whole process from referral to discharge ran like clockwork.”

Annette continues to receive treatment for lung cancer at The Clatterbridge Cancer Trust and is being regularly scanned to monitor if the brain tumour returns.

Annette said: “It’s been a rollercoaster of a year.

“I feel very lucky that we have a specialist neuroscience hospital like The Walton Centre. There’s still a long way to go with my cancer treatment, but I feel confident I can beat it with NHS support like this.”