A woman from Egham spent lockdown receiving radiotherapy for a brain tumour that was previously misdiagnosed as something far less serious.

Yvette De Souza, 35, began having a tingling sensation in her right foot as 2020 got underway.

The careers programme manager originally thought that it may have been a result of straining her back and pulling a connected muscle or nerve, but soon started having twinges in her right hand too.

"I thought the twinges in my hand were strange but nothing serious. It was a dull feeling, not debilitating, so it didn’t really bother me.

"The neurologist didn’t think that there was anything too sinister happening as they said that I looked, felt and acted fine," she said.

"I had none of the more ‘usual’ symptoms of a brain tumour such as headaches, seizures, or eye pain. In fact, the brain MRI scan I was then sent for was ‘just to be sure’.

"But, from the moment I stepped into the room for the appointment, I knew that something was wrong," the Egham resident continued.

She was later told that the brain MRI scan had located a brain tumour "the size of a tennis ball" and that she needed to have surgery to remove it as soon as possible.

However, the operation was unavoidably cancelled at the last minute as, due to the Covid pandemic, no beds were available in the ICU at St. George’s Hospital in South London which are legally required following brain surgery.

Happily, the operation was swiftly rescheduled and surgeons managed to remove some 80 per cent of the tumour.

Yet Yvette would soon receive the "heart-breaking" news that the tumour had been diagnosed as a serious 'Grade 3 or 4' astrocytoma, requiring regular radiotherapy.

Surrey Comet: 11 weeks after first radiotherapy session. Image via The Brain Tumour Charity11 weeks after first radiotherapy session. Image via The Brain Tumour Charity

At the height of the first wave of the Covid pandemic in the UK, Yvette consequently chose to "ease the pressure on the NHS" by having private treatment for the tumour, which was thankfully later downgraded in its seriousness to Grade 2.

Nevertheless, the intense radiotherapy and chemotherapy sessions caused her to lose her hair amid the severe side effects of the treatment, and she was unable to see her partner during sessions due to coronavirus restrictions.

Thankfully, the treatment helped and has now completed, with Yvette able to return to part-time work alongside regular scans to monitor her condition.

She was helped through the harrowing experience by The Brain Tumour Charity, and her partner Huw now is now raising money for them by taking part in the virtual London Marathon.

Huw pointed out that the funded for brain tumour charities was "very disproportionate" while Yvette described the group's impact on her experience:

"The Charity’s closed Facebook groups have been so helpful, especially during Lockdown when I haven’t been able to see my friends and family for the support they would have otherwise given me.

"It is also great to be in touch with people who are going through the exact same thing with me and ask them for advice on what I may be feeling or experiencing," she said.

"Brain tumours are indiscriminate - they can affect anyone at any age and symptoms do vary much more than people may realise.

"That’s why it is so important to always question, be inquisitive and if not happy with an answer from your GP then keep on pushing to get the right answer."

Click here for more information on The Brain Tumour Charity.