Hampshire mum mistakenly given painkillers for a brain tumour

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A young mum was given painkillers to help with a headache – but was later diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Kirsty Barton, 28, was diagnosed with the tumour last month after a CT scan revealed she had a growth on her brain.

Kirsty with her children Joey, five, and Sophia, one

Kirsty with her children Joey, five, and Sophia, one

The young mum had been suffering from headaches so severe she could barely get out of bed, but her symptoms were originally diagnosed as viral meningitis.

Fortunately Kirsty, who works as a customer service assistant at Co-op in Eastleigh, is now recovering well despite suffering dreadful side-effects from a recent operation including sickness and loss of sensation in her legs.

Most of the tumour has been removed, and Kirsty is sharing her story to help raise awareness of the disease.

Kirsty said: ‘It was frustrating that after suffering from intense headaches in April 2019, my symptoms were dismissed as viral meningitis and I was prescribed painkillers which didn’t help at all. I’d even joked to my mum that I might be living with a brain tumour but this didn’t seem to cross the consultants’ minds.

The scar left after the surgery

The scar left after the surgery

‘Things came to a head when I started vomiting and my headaches became unbearable – I was dreadfully poorly.

My dad took me to A&E at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester, where a CT scan revealed a growth on my brain.’

The low-grade growth was discovered on her pineal gland, and was blocking the flow of celebral spinal fluid to her brain.

Doctors fitted her with a permanent shunt which helped to stop the headaches.

Kirsty Barton

Kirsty Barton

Kirsty, who lives with her husband Ash and their two children, Joey, five, and Sophia, one, added: ‘Though the doctors were reluctant to operate, I started to suffer from double vision, so they decided surgery was necessary. This removed most of the tumour but there were some parts they had to leave, due to its close proximity to my brainstem.

‘I felt awfully poorly after the procedure and was sick for three days. I also lost sensation in my legs and my face drooped to one side, so the doctors feared I’d had a stroke. Fortunately, I was prescribed steroid medication and soon felt much better.

‘I will continue to have MRI scans but I’m feeling optimistic for the future. I am worried that the residual tumour will start growing but mostly I try to keep positive and stay upbeat. I’ve been signed-off work for several weeks and I can’t wait to get back into the role and in a routine again.’

Michael Thelwall, head of community fundraising at Brain Tumour Research, said: ‘We are very grateful for Kirsty’s support and thank her for helping us to raise awareness.

Kirsty in hospital

Kirsty in hospital

‘Less than 20 per cent of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50 per cent across all cancers; we cannot allow this desperate situation to continue.’

To donate to Brain Tumour Research go to https://www.braintumourresearch.org/donation/donate-now.