A mum who woke up terrified and unable to speak received the devastating diagnosis of a brain tumour, she has recalled.
When Annette Woollamput started suffering from memory loss and speech problems she put it down to ‘anxiety and nerves’ due to her having cancer treatment.
The 45-year-old had just begun immunotherapy for lung cancer and noticed she had began to struggle with communicating and her memory had deteriorated.
However one morning when she woke up “terrified” and had “no words” she suspected something sinister.
Annette was at her home in Chester, Cheshire, on her own as her husband had left for work when the ‘scary’ incident happened.
She told the Liverpool Echo : “It was a gradual process, I had noticed the week leading up to my total breakdown that I was struggling with words and couldn’t find certain words in my mind.
“Then on that day when it happened I was at home alone, my husband had left for work.
“It was terrifying and it’s not something you wish on anyone.
“So I put it down to being a bit anxious because I didn’t know what to expect so I wasn’t worried too much about my speech.
“But then after a week, one morning when I woke up and basically my thinking wasn’t working and then also not being able to find the words. It was scary.”
She added: “It got to the point where I couldn’t remember my address or even my date of birth. I was so scared I didn’t know what was happening.”
Annette was able to ring 999 and the emergency operator realised she was struggling to communicate and sent her an ambulance.
She said: “I don’t know how they found me, but I am so grateful, and the operator stayed on the line until they arrived.
“I was able to leave a message on my husband’s phone, it probably didn’t make much sense.”
Annette was sent to The Walton Centre, in Liverpool, for urgent neurosurgery, where consultant neurosurgeon Andrew Brodbelt found a tumour in her brain which he urgently removed.
The tumour was found in the speech and language centre of her brain which explained Annette’s speech and memory problems.
After the surgery Annette’s cognitive skills soon returned to normal.
The account administrator said: “I was so relieved that Mr Brodbelt was able to remove it so quickly and effectively.
“When I went for my follow-up appointment I wanted to give him a big hug for all he’s done – and I would’ve if it weren’t for the social distancing rules.
“Nurses are the first people you see when you come into hospital, and their kindness and care gave me confidence.
“I felt safe when they took me for surgery, and on Chavasse Ward in particular they were incredibly thoughtful. I could see it with how they cared for other patients too. I could tell they were smiling, even with their masks on.
“All the staff at The Walton Centre have been incredible and so supportive despite the restrictions. The whole process from referral to discharge ran like clockwork.”
Annette continues to receive treatment for lung cancer and is being regularly scanned to monitor if the brain tumour returns.
Annette said: “It’s been a rollercoaster of a year.
“I feel very lucky that we have a specialist neuroscience hospital like The Walton Centre. There’s still a long way to go with my cancer treatment, but I feel confident I can beat it with NHS support like this.”