Health & Fitness

Mum who thought she was suffering ‘baby brain’ died six months later

A NEW mum has tragically died after believing her dizzy spells were down to ‘baby brain’.

At first, Anneka Johnstone, 33, brushed aside her frequent giddy spells before she fell while holding her daughter Sienna, then six months old.


Anneka (pictured with husband Alan) was diagnosed with stage-four glioblastoma – an aggressive type of cancer[/caption]


Anneka (pictured with baby Sienna) brushed aside her frequent giddy spells[/caption]


Anneka (pictured with daughter Sienna and husband Alan) in hospital before she died from a brain tumour[/caption]

The former dietitian was rushed to hospital in June 2019, after she began dragging her feet, where doctors eventually revealed she was suffering a late-stage brain tumour.

“It hit us all like a tonne of bricks, Anneka wanted to see her daughter grow up,” husband Alan, a medical technician, from Dumfries, Scotland, said.

Initially, doctors put Anneka’s dizzy spells down to the herpes simplex virus and was given antibiotics.

But further scans revealed she had stage-four glioblastoma – an aggressive type of cancer that occurs in the brain or spinal cord.

Glioblastoma’s are the most common form of brain tumour in adults, with around 2,500 cases diagnosed every year in the UK.

There is currently no cure for the condition, according to the NHS.

What are the main signs of a brain tumour?

The symptoms of a brain tumour vary depending on the exact part of the brain affected. But common symptoms include:

Headaches: These are the most common signs of a tumour, caused by a build up of pressure on the brain, and present in around half of people who go on to be diagnosed.

Changes in vision: This can include blurred or double vision, abnormal eye movements or restricted field of view and can become noticeable when you read, watch TV or get up quickly.

Seizures: Seizures or fits are the most common first sign of a brain tumour in adults, leading to diagnosis, and should be checked by a GP or A&E doctor. Brain tumour patients often suffer focal seizures where a small part of the brain can trigger unusual sensations or changes, sometimes similar to a stroke.

Nausea and dizziness: Feeling sick or vomiting is another common sign of brain tumours, caused by pressure. Like headaches, they can be attributable to many other things.

Tiredness A quarter of people with brain tumours report being severely affected by fatigue. This can be a persistent feeling of being tired, weak, worn out, slow or heavy.

Source: The Brain Tumour Charity

Alan, Anneka’s childhood sweetheart, said: “I could see the fear in her eyes, she was terrified – like anyone would be at 33 years old.

“All she wanted was to be a mum, be there for Sienna’s 18th and watch her get married,” he added.

Alan, 38, and Anneka met while she was 17 and Alan was 18, while he was on leave from the military, and said it was “love at first sight”.

The couple got married in 2015 and later had Sienna – now four – on October 13, 2018.

After being diagnosed, Anneka’s health started to deteriorate, and she spent lots of her last few months in hospital.

She was eventually moved to Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary and stayed in the palliative care unit, where Alan would visit her often.

Alan said: “You could spend 24 hours with her but only get 30 seconds of the real Anneka.”

Anneka passed away on November 18, 2019 – six months after being diagnosed.

This year, Alan will be running the London Marathon in memory of Anneka and to raise money for The Brain Tumour Organisation.

So far, Alan has raised £55k for the charity after walking 215 miles across Scotland in a week.

Alan said: “I am doing this for the next person who is diagnosed.”

The dad is calling for more government funding and a change in how they invest in the brain tumour charities.

“Hopefully I will get to the end without many tears, raise as much money as possible and share Anneka’s story,” he said.

Source of data and images: thesun

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