A mum with a tumour the ‘size of a golf ball’ was diagnosed just six weeks after her baby was born.
In 2015, Marie Garnett from St Helens, Merseyside, had to say her goodbyes to her new born just weeks after giving birth as she feared she may not make it through the surgery.
She had been suffering from undiagnosed symptoms for some time, but was unaware of the brain tumour growing in her body, the Liverpool Echo reports.
The 42-year-old describes how for years she had been suffering from extreme headaches, but these became unbearable after the birth of her daughter, Amelia.
Marie’s health took a turn for the worst when she lost her balance and was rushed to hospital.
It was then that a benign meningioma brain tumour was diagnosed, which was followed by a month of gruelling treatment.
To make matters worse, she had also contracted meningitis which she was fighting at the same time.
Marie had to go through three long surgeries, one being eight hours, in order to fight the tumour.
Speaking about her emotional ordeal, Marie said: “The night before my first brain surgery, I said goodbye to Amelia and my husband Darren.
“When Darren went to the toilet, I whispered to Amelia ‘look after your daddy’.”
Being separated from her baby not long after birth in order to be treated began to take a toll on Marie’s mental health, and she struggled to cope with her circumstances.
She said: “There was one point where for about 48 hours I was waking up and I didn’t want to wake up. I was in a dark place, I felt like I was being tortured.
“It was so difficult being away from my baby, Amelia was at home just six weeks old. “
Marie’s husband, Darren Garnett, added: “It was the best and worst year of our lives, our gorgeous daughter Amelia was born but just six short weeks later Marie was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
“That fateful day was the start of the nightmare that included words like ‘craniotomy’ and ‘shunt’ with phrases like ‘open you up’, ‘remove part of your skull’ and ‘might not wake up the same’ none of these are nice as you can expect.”
Following the operation, Marie had to re-learn how to walk.
She explained: “After the operation I struggled to walk, but I did it.
“At first, it took two physios to get me from my bed to the nurses’ station and when I first left hospital, I could only do 300 steps per day – even just going to the shops was exhausting.
“But I kept pushing my boundaries. I appreciate my legs and the ability to use them every single day, because some people with neurological conditions are not as lucky.”
Marie still has hydrocephalus, which is a build up of fluid in the brain, and needs a VP shunt, a medical device that relieves pressure on the brain by reducing the accumulated fluid, meaning she could need more emergency brain surgery at any point.
To give thanks for the counselling and support they gave her, Marie chose The Brain Charity to raise money for, as well as this Maria was keen to support their cause as her daughter Amelia, now six, was diagnosed with severe learning disabilities before her first birthday; she has global development delay, epilepsy and is non-verbal.
It is unknown whether Marie’s brain tumour led to her daughter’s health issues.
Marie added: “So what better way to celebrate life, beautiful and miraculous brains and legs by completing the Virtual London Marathon.”
On October 3, Marie completed the virtual London Marathon, running the 26.2 miles from her home in Haydock, to Manchester, and back, and completed this in seven hours fifteen minutes.