Mel Kelly’s health took an unexpected and alarming turn when what she thought was a sinus infection turned out to be a “large strawberry-sized” brain tumour. The 23-year-old initially experienced frequent headaches and pulsating sensations, which she attributed to dehydration. However, her condition quickly worsened, leading to vision loss and intense pain behind her right ear.
Despite being diagnosed with a sinus infection and migraines by multiple doctors, Mel’s symptoms persisted. She eventually sought a second opinion, which led to a shocking discovery – an optometrist had identified a brain tumour. This diagnosis marked a turning point in her life.
The news was difficult to process, but Mel was relieved to finally have answers. She recalls the moment she was told about the tumour and the ambulance waiting to take her to a specialist neurology centre. The gravity of her situation sunk in, and she realized the severity of her condition.
Prior to falling ill, Mel was in good health and had never been hospitalized. As her symptoms escalated, she researched her condition and began to suspect a brain tumour. Despite her concerns, she faced skepticism from others. After returning from a trip to Lanzarote, she was rushed to the hospital and underwent surgery to remove 95% of the tumour.
Fortunately, the tumour was benign, but the ordeal had a profound impact on Mel’s life. She deferred her studies, lost her job, moved back home, and experienced a decline in her mental health. Her vision loss, headaches, and sensitivity to light persist, but she remains determined to recover.
Mel is using her experience to raise awareness and support for The Brain Tumour Charity, Teenage Cancer Trust, and Move; Against Cancer. She has undertaken fundraising activities and hopes to inspire others to be proactive about their health. Her message is one of resilience, urging people to trust their instincts and seek help when something doesn’t feel right.
Through her journey, Mel highlights the importance of early intervention, the strength of the NHS, and the ability to find joy in simple pleasures even during difficult times. Her story serves as a reminder that health challenges can affect anyone, regardless of age, and that maintaining hope and seeking assistance can make a significant difference.