Mum who thought her afternoon naps were down to her age is diagnosed with brain tumour

By Staff 6 Min Read

The optician referred Alison Haspell to an eye hospital to run some more tests after noticing a swelling behind her eye and a CT scan revealed a 5cm benign tumour

A mum who put her afternoon naps down to her age was diagnosed with a brain tumour after going for a routine eye appointment.

Alison Haspell, 51, went for a general check-up after releasing her last eye test was four years ago. The optician referred her to an eye hospital to run some more tests after noticing a swelling behind her eye and a CT scan revealed a 5cm benign tumour called meningioma.

Alison hadn’t noticed any symptoms but had been taking regular naps and become forgetful – but put it down to her age. She had a 14-hour operation to remove the non cancerous mass and is now recovering. Alison, from Northwich, Cheshire, who works in customer services, said: “I never thought that anything was wrong.

“That’s the scary bit because if I hadn’t gone to that routine eye test where it was found then I could be dead now, or I could be on my way to being dead.” Her husband Scott, 54, a grounds maintenance manager, noticed a change in her behaviour – dementia-like symptoms and said she was quieter than usual.

Alison was also struggling with anxiety attacks every day – which she had put down to the pandemic. She now believes these symptoms were down to the tumour. She said: “I’d forget birthdays and things like that. I just put it down to my age.” Alison had the eye test in October 2023 and the optician noticed swelling and said he was going to refer her to the hospital.

Alison said: “He said: ‘please don’t worry, I don’t believe it’s cancer’. That’s when alarm bells started to ring a bit.” Five days later Alison received a call and was told to attend Leighton Hospital, Crewe. She was diagnosed with the tumour in October 2023 and given steroids to shrink it before surgery.

Despite the size of the tumour, Alison did not have any of the usual symptoms – such as headaches. She said: “Thinking back on it I was having afternoon sleeps, which I’d never done before. But I just thought I was tired, or depressed because I had depression.” Alison underwent a 14 hour operation in November 2023 at the Royal Stoke University Hospital.

Alison struggled with double vision for six weeks, and now has an MRI and CT scans every six months. She was supported by husband Scott and her four “amazing” grown up children. Alison said: “I’m one of these parents where I hold this family together. I’m like the sticking plaster and I said if I fall apart then the whole family will fall apart. So, I just had to stay positive and keep going. It wasn’t about me, it was about them.”

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