Woman Suffering From Migraines Finds She Had a Brain Tumor

February 10, 2016 Updated: August 3, 2017

A woman from the U.K. wrote that she was suffering from severe migraine headaches, however, it turned out to be a lot worse.

Frances Paine, who was in medical school, began suffering from migraines, which were accompanied by “auras.” For some people, auras can appear prior to the onset of a migraine.  Auras are things like strange lights or smells that aren’t really there.

An artist's depiction of a migraine aura (Public Domain)
An artist’s depiction of a migraine aura (Public Domain)

Initially not thinking much of it, Paine became concerned after losing the ability to speak. It happened when she was in the kitchen with her mother, and even though it only lasted for a few seconds, it was “unnerving,” she said.

“It was this unnerving feeling of having the words on the tip of my tongue, but being unable to get them out,”Paine told the Guardian in an exclusive report.

Her then-boyfriend (now husband) told her she should go to a doctor. When she went to pick up her migraine medication, she told the doctor what had happened and he thought it didn’t sound like a good sign, referring her to a specialist.

“I really didn’t think I needed to go,” she said, “and I remember being there with the neurologist saying: ‘I really don’t need to be here, I can just go.'”

As she was leaving the office with her “hand on the door,” the neurologist told Paine they should do an MRI.

“That MRI revealed I had a brain tumor on the frontal left parietal region of my brain, something they believed I may have had since birth,” she said.

Surgeons performed a 7-hour awake brain surgery on her (the patient is not unconscious).

It became clear that the tumor had grown and she needed surgery. Paine wasn’t too happy with the development, as she had a big exam. Nevertheless, surgeons performed a 7-hour awake brain surgery on her (the patient is not unconscious).

“It’s only in the last year that my husband and I have come to terms with it all,” she said. “The operation was a success, but they have to constantly monitor what’s left of the tumor and it will definitely affect my life expectancy. We’re still not sure if I’ll need a further operation or chemotherapy. That said, I have been incredibly lucky thanks to amazing doctors, nurses and specialists.”

Paine said she’s now training to run in the London Marathon.