Woman wrongly told by doctors she had epilepsy discovered she had a brain tumour
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A woman who was wrongly told by doctors she had epilepsy was shocked to discover she actually had a brain tumour, having suffered regular seizures and strange mood swings.
Clare Danswan, 37, was still a child when she started experiencing vacant episodes, which were put down to ‘petit mal’ epilepsy – absence seizures involving brief, sudden lapses of consciousness.
For three years, she kept going back to doctors to try and find the root of the issue, with medics suspecting epilepsy was causing her erratic behaviour and robotic movements.
But when she was placed on various medications, nothing seemed to help, and Danswan went for further tests, which revealed a tumour on her brain.
At the age of 11, she was finally diagnosed with dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumour (DNET) - low-grade, slow-growing brain tumour.
Two years later, a 13-year-old Danswan had surgery to remove the mass, and thankfully needed no treatment beyond that.
Danswan, from Swindon, Wiltshire, said: "I had little quality of life.
"I was having regular seizures which would stop me in my tracks. My moods became unpredictable and walking around the shops I felt self-conscious.
"I’ve always wanted to do something to help raise awareness and always thought about shaving my head.
"It’s taken a while to build the confidence to do something and now felt like the right timing.
"I was given the choice to have surgery as the tumour was a low-grade, but I was told there was a small chance it could turn into something more aggressive.
“Almost two decades after my diagnosis, I live a normal and full life.
"I felt a duty to do this fundraiser as not everyone will have this happy ending, so I'm doing it in their memory and to show support for those currently undergoing treatment and diagnosis. You’ve got this.
"I’m getting used to the shaved head now. It was nerve-racking when I heard the buzz of the clippers but as soon as the first strip was taken off, I felt OK.”
Mel Tiley, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, added: “Clare’s story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate.
"They can affect anyone at any age and one in three people knows someone affected by a brain tumour.
"Clare’s fundraising challenge has helped put brain tumours in front of people to help us get further in sharing the work we are doing to get more funding, so we have more stories like Clare’s.”
You can donate to Brain Tumour Research via Clare’s fundraiser here.