Something precious was growing in her belly, but unbeknown to Lindsey something deadly was also growing in her brain. At first doctors dismissed her symptoms, putting them down to Lindsey being a new mum, but when her tot was just ten- weeks- old doctors discovered a massive brain tumour. Lindsey was petrified by the thought of leaving her newborn motherless, but now after life saving surgery has made an incredible recovery and is urging all new mums not to let their health concerns be dismissed. I rubbed my eyes. I felt shattered. Not surprising really, seeing as I was back at home recovering from an emergency C-section after giving birth to my 10-day-old son Jobe. But it wasn’t just the tiredness. As my two-year-old Aurelia toddled around the lounge with her trolley, my head was banging too. Seems like I’d had a headache every day this week… ‘Do you want some Aspirin?’ my hubby Matthew asked. ‘Might make you feel better.’ I shook my head. I couldn’t, I was breastfeeding. ‘Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll feel better soon,’ I smiled weakly. With a toddler and a newborn to look after, it wasn’t surprising I was feeling rough. I just need a bit more sleep, I told myself. Not that there was much chance of that with three am feeds… But as the weeks passed, my headaches got worse, not better. By the time Jobe was three weeks old I was suffering up to ten a day. My whole head hurt. Still, I got on with things and tried to enjoy these first few weeks with Jobe. I knew from Aurelia that they went so quickly… But one morning, while washing my hair in the shower I felt the bump on the top of my head. I felt like a squashed grape stuck onto the back of my skull. I’d first noticed it when I was pregnant but back then I’d not given it much thought. As it was still there now though, I decided to get it checked out. Just to be on the safe side. So I made an appointment with my GP. ‘Nothing to worry about,’ my doctor said, as I held back my hair. ‘But what about the headaches?’ I asked as Jobe wailed in his buggy. ‘Don’t you think the two might be connected?’ ‘You’ve just got to wait for your body to settle down again after the trauma of birth,’ he sighed, looking at his watch. ‘As for the headaches, well it can be very stressful looking after two young children.’ It was obvious he thought I was overreacting. Another paranoid mum. ‘The lump must have always been there,’ he said as I hurriedly put on my jacket. But if it had, why in the last 31 years hadn’t I noticed it? Later that week I decided to ask my mum if she’d ever seen the lump before. After all, all mothers smooth their baby’s head so if anyone would know, she would. But Mum couldn’t recall the lump either so a fortnight later I decided to get a second opinion. This time I was sent for an x-ray. It showed a thickening of the bone in the area of the lump, but medics couldn’t find any reason why this had happened. The following month I was sent for a CT scan. It revealed a problem with the soft tissue underneath my skull. ‘What does that mean?’ I asked nervously. ‘A MRI scan will give us more information,’ the consultant replied. I stopped breastfeeding for a few days so they could carry it out. A week later, I called up for my results. As Aurelia played at my feet I was told that they’d found a huge egg-shaped tumour in my brain. It was pushing at the skull and explained the bump on my head. I put down the phone in a daze. What if it’s cancerous? I kept thinking as I dialled Matthew’s work number. Two weeks later we went to see the consultant at Leeds General Infirmary. We listened in shock as the consultant explained that the tumour was so big it had eaten into my skull. That was the lump I’d felt. ‘Is it cancerous?’ I gulped, squeezing Matthew’s hand. It was too early to say. ‘But we need to remove it straight away,’ the consultant said. ‘Cancerous or not, there’s a real risk of seizures and strokes. It’s strangling the lobe that affects your vision too.’ The op was scheduled for three weeks time. But it was complicated. The consultant warned that it came with a risk of seizure, stroke and death. ‘It just doesn’t bear thinking about,’ I shivered as I looked at the photo of the kids in my purse as Matthew drove us home. Suddenly every second with Jobe and Aurelia was more precious than ever. Gazing at them as they lay sleeping peacefully in their cots, I pushed aside all thoughts of not being there for them, it was simply too awful to go there. There’s wno way I wouldn’t be around for my daughter’s first day at school, or Jobe’s first wobbly steps. They were both so tiny, the needed their mummy and I wasn’t going to let them down. was so hard to take it all in – one minute we’d been so happy, now we were in pieces…but I had to keep positive. Finally, the morning of the op arrived. ‘Goodbye my darlings,’ I said, holding back the tears as I kissed Aurelia and Jobe. ‘Don’t worry, they’ll be fine,’ Matthew’s mum soothed. ‘Look at them,’ I said to Matthew as Aurelia clumsily waved goodbye to me as the car pulled away. I was in theatre for eight hours. Afterwards, I came round and finally opened my eyes. It took me a moment to take it in but – yes! I was still here! ‘How are you feeling?’ the surgeon said as he perched on a chair next to me. He explained that he’d managed to remove most of the 2cm by 2in tumour. But they couldn’t reach all of it as part of it was attached to the brain vein and it was too risky. ‘The good news is that it’s not cancerous,’ he smiled. The growth could be monitored with regular scans every few months. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. It meant finally I could stop worrying and go back to doing what I loved best – being a mum. Looking back, I can’t help feeling angry with my GP. I think new mums are dismissed too quickly when they have health problems. It’s always put down to having just had a baby or being tired because of sleepless nights. I want women to read my story and trust their instincts about their body because mine proved to be right.
*Disclaimer: Results May Vary From Person To Person.