Woman diagnosed with tennis ball-sized brain tumor after being told she had mental illness

A British woman says she was diagnosed with a tennis ball-sized brain tumor after long suffering from migraine and psychosis — symptoms doctors reportedly dismissed as anxiety, depression and possibly bipolar disorder.

"It was frustrating to be told by doctors that my symptoms were caused by mental illness,” 22-year-old Laura Skerritt, of Somerset, told British news agency South West News Service (SWNS). "I sensed that my health problems weren’t being caused by mental illness.”

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Laura Skerritt in the hospital with her boyfriend.

Laura Skerritt in the hospital with her boyfriend. (SWNS)

"I’m quite an emotional person and flip between happy and sad moods, but this is just part of my quirky personality," she added.

By November 2018, Skerritt’s condition was getting worse; she began suffering from seizures and was having trouble walking. Eventually, further testing at Yeovil District Hospital in Somerset revealed the cause of her health issues: a massive brain tumor. Skerritt said it took more than two years to receive a proper diagnosis.

Laura Skerritt on her horse.

Laura Skerritt on her horse. (SWNS)

A month later, Skerritt, who teaches swimming and enjoys horseback riding, underwent a 13-hour operation at Southmead Hospital in Bristol to remove 80 percent of the tumor, a central neurocytoma.

A central neurocytoma is a rare, typically non-cancerous tumor that forms in the ventricles, or fluid-filled spaces in the brain, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. 

Laura Skerritt's post-operation scar. (SWNS)

Laura Skerritt's post-operation scar. (SWNS)

The surgery was successful, but the 22-year-old said her recovery was the most difficult part of the process. Skerritt told SWNS that she lost nearly 30 pounds and had to re-learn how to talk.

Unfortunately, Skerritt now requires another operation followed by eight weeks of “intensive radiotherapy” after she suffered what she called a “major seizure.”

Laura Skerritt in the hospital with her boyfriend. 

Laura Skerritt in the hospital with her boyfriend.  (SWNS)

"It’s going to be really hard going back into hospital but I’m hoping I make it through the treatment,” she said.

Skerritt added that her health ailments have affected her on a deeper level as well.

Laura Skerritt pictured when she was healthy.

Laura Skerritt pictured when she was healthy. (SWNS)

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"My diagnosis changed my outlook on life. I’m not sure whether or not I want kids, for fear of them inheriting the disease or seeing me suffer [from] symptoms,” she said, adding she was forced to give up her driver’s license.

“I lost my independence,” she said.