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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"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.
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.
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.”
"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.
"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.