Woman, 27, told her ‘migraines’ were actually a brain tumour

A woman who was told her agonising headaches were just 'migraines' actually had a brain tumour.

Beth Parker, from Halewood, suffered from painful headaches for years but claims she was sent home and told they were ‘just migraines’ by doctors.

But when the 27-year-old started suffering multiple seizures, she was finally diagnosed with a slow growing tumour in her brain stem.

After undergoing life-threatening surgery to remove the brain tumour in February last year, Beth now wants more to be known about the disease which nearly killed her.

Zilch - No Credit Check Finance

Ahead of Brain Tumour Awareness Month, which launches on Monday, March 1, we are sharing Beth's story which was first published in November 2020.

Brain Tumour Research are also calling for national investment into brain tumour research to be increased to £35 million a year. You can view and sign their petition here.

This is Beth's story.

Beth said: “For months, I’d been telling my doctor that I had terrible migraines and pressure in the back of my head, which was getting worse, but I just kept being given pain killers. I also suffered from dizziness and low energy.

wirral airport transfers mersesysideairportservice.co.uk

“On one occasion I had two seizures while I was waiting to be seen in A&E.”

Beth before and after her diagnosis

It wasn’t until Beth became even more unwell, with symptoms including vomiting, confusion, memory loss, seizures, vertigo, tinnitus, loss of bladder control and loss of sensation, that she pushed to receive an MRI scan that diagnosed her.

The results revealed a lesion in Beth’s brainstem and in the C1 vertebrae of her spine

Beth added: “They said I wouldn’t see any growth until I was in my forties. They didn’t want to do a biopsy, due to the extreme risks, and said they would ‘watch and wait’.

“From then, my symptoms continued to get worse. I experienced vertigo and loss of feeling on one side, along with immense pressure in the back of my head.

“I was even sent to a psychiatrist because the medics thought I was making it all up.

“They said it was impossible for my tumour to be causing these symptoms and that I had a functional neurological disorder, due to not coping with my diagnosis. I knew this just wasn’t true.”

Find your nearest vaccination centre by entering your postcode below

In 2019, years after her symptoms started in 2017, Beth was called in to discuss her results.

She was told the tumour had grown and she needed urgent surgery to remove it.

Beth said: “The day I met my surgeon, the incredible Mr D’Urso, was one of the best days of my life.

“He listened without interrupting me. He believed my symptoms and could physically see them with a few simple tests.

“He told me he could get the tumour out but he was also refreshingly honest, carefully telling me how this was major surgery and very, very high risk.”

Beth Parker, 27, speaks out after her brain tumour diagnosis

Beth was so worried she wouldn’t survive surgery that she even planned her own funeral.

However after a successful eight hour operation, she came out the other side with no serious complications.

She said: “The first thing I remember thinking when I woke up was, ‘I can wiggle my big toe!’ and the relief I got, realising I wasn’t paralysed, was amazing.

“Then realising that I could breathe and talk for myself was just incredible.

“Thankfully, I was listened to before it was too late. The surgeons have given me another chance at life, another chance to live my dreams of working in forensic policing or to be a paramedic.

“I will never take for granted that I now have the opportunity to make memories with my loved ones and the chance to grow old.

“I’ve had mental health illnesses for most of my life. Sometimes these conditions have made me think I didn't want to live.

“But absolutely nothing puts it all into perspective for you more than when you have that choice taken away from you. I'll never not want to live again.

“Life is far too precious. If you have love, support and your health, then you have everything. Nothing else is important.”

Beth's head after her eight hour surgery

Beth is now working with the charity Brain Tumour Research to help raise awareness of the disease.

Matthew Price, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We were so sorry to learn about Beth’s brain tumour diagnosis and the ordeal she has been through.

“We are so pleased her surgery went well and wish her all the best for her ongoing recovery. Her involvement in the 20 for 20 Challenge is fantastic and will no doubt inspire others to get involved.

“Anyone can take part in 20 for 20 – from completing 20 different exercises over 20 days to trying 20 new recipes, this is something anyone can get involved with to help raise funds at this vital time for the charity.”

PUBLISH YOUR ARTICLE ON NEWSWIRRAL.CO.UK