When a fatal tumour grew into my skull, I thought I was just suffering from conjunctivitis.

A WOMAN believed her bloodshot eyes were conjunctivitis. However, she was shocked to discover that her skull had a potentially fatal tumour.

Kirsty Dury from Tring in Hertfordshire believed her sore right-eye was also due to fatigue after working long hours.

Kirsty Drury a week after surgery to remove a brain tumour

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Kirsty DURRY a week following surgery to remove a brain tumorCredit: SWNS
Kirsty needed a 16-hour surgery in order to remove her tumour

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Kirsty required a 16-hour operation to remove her tumor.Credit: SWNS

The mother of four children, aged 45, visited her GP in November 2019.

She feels fortunate that her doctor saw her swelling eye and sent it to hospital the next day for scans.

In the middle of the night, she was told she had a fatal brain tumour.

Doctors discovered that her so called “Medics” had been unable to treat her. “pink eye”In factor, a sign that her brain was developing a mass and affecting her muscles.

Kirsty, a Transport for London manager, stated: “When I was first told that I had a brain tumor, I assumed it meant that I was going mad.

“When you walk into the doctor’s surgery with suspected conjunctivitis and walk out with a brain tumour, you can’t be blamed for thinking the worst.”

Kirsty was diagnosed with a meningioma. This is a cancer that grows on the brain’s tissue. 

It can lead to headaches, seizures and weakness in the limbs.

Eye problems such as blurred vision or sensitivity to light, blurred vision, dry, irritated, or abnormal eye movements may be caused by brain tumours.

Meningiomas are slow growing and sometimes symptoms don’t appear for years. 

Kirsty’s consultant explained that in around 80 per cent of cases, a meningioma is benign (not cancer), but that the only way to find out for sure is to remove it.

However, Kirsty couldn’t have surgery due to the Covid pandemic for several months. 

She stated that she had expected to undergo brain surgery in 2020, but it slipped into March. Then Covid made it clear that only emergency operations would be performed.

“How I wasn’t mad that time, I don’t know. 

“Although I was coping pretty well and running was helping, my mental health wasn’t great because I was convinced that I was going to have a bad outcome, that I’d find out my tumour was growing faster than expected or that it was cancer.

“It was the first thing I thought of in the morning, the last thing I thought about at night and sometimes it woke me up too – I couldn’t get any inner peace.”

Kirsty, who was locked down, couldn’t resist going online to research her situation. She claims it was a “terrible idea”.

Cancer Research UK: “around 40 out of 100 peoplewith a grade 3 meningioma survive their cancer or 10 years or more”.

Fortunately Kirsty’s tumour was considered stable and, when she was finally booked in for an operation on 26 November 2020, her tumour had barely grown.

The entire operation, which involved huge risks, took 16 hours.

Kirsty could not have all of her tumour removed because it would have put the safety of her facial muscles at danger.

However, surgeons were able enough to confirm that the tumour was not cancerous. This means that she can live a normal life.

Kirsty said that she was told the news by her mother on December 18th. “I felt a thirteen month weight begin to lift from my shoulders. I didn’t cry on this occasion, I just smiled my first real smile in all that time.”

Kirsty is now trying to increase awareness about brain tumors so others can recognize the symptoms as well as treatment options.

She said: “That’s why I support Brain Tumour Research because, like them, I feel passionate about the need to raise awareness and funds for research into brain tumours.”

“I also want people to know that there are many people with brain tumours.

“These stories are not being told, but they should. I believe that at the beginning of my journey, I would have given anything for more hope.

“I want to put that alternative story out there; it is possible to get your life back after brain surgery.”

Kirsty has returned to full-time working and runs regularly 25 km per week.

She also suffers from memory problems and pressure headaches.

Brain Tumour Research finances research at UK-based centres. It also advocates for greater investment by the government and other cancer charities in brain tumour research.

The charity is calling for a national annual government spend of £35 million to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia.

Kirsty - who has returned to work and her active lifestyle - wants to raise awareness of the symptoms of brain tumours

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Kirsty, who is back at work and has a full-time job, wants to spread awareness about brain tumours.Credit: SWNS
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