A Canadian woman says she lost her job, her house and custody of her two children after doctors had not detected a brain tumor for two years.
Rebecca Birnie, from Moosonee, Ontario, visited the doctor dozens of times after experiencing non-stop headache, vague speech, and seizures.
She was prescribed painkillers and ibuprofen and sent home CTV news.
Only when Birnie (38) collapsed into her mother's house and was taken to the hospital, did doctors discover that she had a & # 39; life-threatening & # 39; had benign brain tumor that had been growing for years.
Rebecca Birnie, 38 (photo), from Moosonee, Ontario, Canada, experienced headache, vague speech, and seizures
Birnie (left and right) visited doctors 23 times for two years, but was only prescribed painkillers. She lost her job after her colleagues believed that she had developed a drug problem
Birnie says that when her symptoms started in 2014, her colleagues believed she was using drugs, CTV News reported.
She underwent several drug tests, but despite the fact that they all returned negative, she lost her job.
She visited her local hospital 23 times, but her symptoms were rejected as side effects of headache.
During this time, Birnie also lost custody of her twin sons – but has since regained custody.
& # 39; I was sick and I felt that nobody was listening & # 39 ;, she told CTV News. & # 39; I couldn't turn around and had lost all hope at that point. I didn't even want to be here anymore. & # 39;
In July 2016, after nearly two years of incorrect diagnoses, Birnie collapsed during a visit to her mother.
An ambulance took her to Weeneebayko Area Health Authority, where she asked doctors to perform a CT scan.
She was transferred to a hospital in Timmins, about 200 miles away, where scans showed a six-centimeter tumor.
Doctors believe it has been growing for at least 10 years, according to CTV News.
& # 39; I felt justified (because) there was a reason behind the way I behaved, & # 39; she said.
At that time, she also lost custody of twin sons. Pictured: Birnie in the hospital
In July 2016, she was rushed to the hospital after she collapsed at her mother's house. Pictured: a scan of the brain and tumor of Birnie
Birnie was diagnosed with meningioma, a tumor of the meninges or the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
This is the same type of tumor that TV and radio presenter Maria Menounos had, as well as American women's football player Lauren Holiday.
However, it is classified as a brain tumor because it puts pressure on the skull nerves. The tumor usually forms in the head and about 85 percent of the cases are benign.
Because the tumors grow slowly, a patient can live for years with a meningioma before it is noticed.
Symptoms are usually blurred vision, painful headache, hearing loss, memory loss and loss of smell.
If the tumor is asymptomatic, doctors may recommend regular monitoring with brain scans.
However, if the tumor grows or the symptoms begin to develop, patients need surgery to remove all or most of the mass.
If the tumor is cancer, radiation can be used to kill cancer cells or on parts of the mass that the surgeon could not remove.
Doctors diagnosed Birnie with meningioma, a benign brain tumor that has been growing for at least 10 years. Pictured: Birnie with her sons
Birnie (left and right) had her tumor removed at Health Sciences North in Sudbury. She is now back at work and gets back custody of her children
Dr. Ryan DeMarchi, a neurosurgeon at Health Sciences North in Sudbury, who removed the tumor from Birnie, described her condition at CTV News as & # 39; life-threatening & # 39 ;.
& # 39; There is no doubt that this is a very large brain tumor that required a challenging and highly invasive brain operation to remove, & # 39; he told the network.
& # 39; This would be one of the largest tumors I have operated on. & # 39;
Doctors don't know for sure what caused the Birnie tumor – which was benign – and say it has a risk of about 10 percent coming back.
After her operation, the mother of two lost her vision and she had to learn to walk again.
However, she is currently working again and has regained custody of her sons. It is unclear why she lost custody at all.
Birnie told CTV News that she hopes she can inspire others to be their own lawyer if they think something is wrong.
& # 39; I don't want this to happen to anyone else, & # 39; she said. & # 39; It was terrible. It has been hell and I think people should plead for themselves and if they know something is wrong to pursue it and not just let it go. & # 39;
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