A mum-of-seven is sharing a stark warning with fellow parents after her little girl was diagnosed with a tumour after constantly falling out of bed.
Mum-of-seven, Lisa Provart, from Cheshire, England, first became concerned about her daughter Imogen, after noticing that she was struggling to walk properly, and would tumble off her bed and be sick.
Not long after symptoms began appearing, the four-year-old had a near-fatal seizure and was rushed to hospital.
Once there, a CT scan confirmed the worst as doctors diagnosed Imogen with craniopharyngioma, a rare brain tumour.
“We went to Wales [on a trip] and she kept falling off the bed and being sick,” Lisa, 45, told http://NeedToKnow.co.uk.
“She wasn’t quite normal, she was walking slowly but had broken her leg three months before.
“We had gone to paediatricians, back and fourth to the GP, and they suggested changing her shoes.
“In hindsight I should have gone to A& E after she fell from the bed.
“She had a seizure that night and nearly died.”
With her parents immediately calling an ambulance, Imogen was rushed to hospital.
She said: “It was horrific, my whole world crashed down.
“Everything changed in that instance and I wanted to be swallowed up.
“I knew they would find something.
“We were told then and there that it was a mass on her brain.
“It [your child being sick] becomes everything, there are so many questions and we didn’t know anything.”
Following the scan, Lisa and her husband Andrew, 46, were immediately referred to Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport on 1 September 2022, where a neurosurgeon examined Imogen.
She said: “She was so terrified that we thought she’d had a stroke.
“Imogen wouldn’t go near anyone and, as things continued, doctors had to sedate her to treat her.”
After spending a full week in hospital, the parents were told that her mass was cystic.
Cystic tumours can develop anywhere in the body and are a build-up of fluid; although mostly non-cancerous, these can develop into cancer, as it has in Imogen’s case.
Unfortunately, due to the placement of the little girl’s tumour, Lisa says the parents were told it can not be safely removed – with Imogen constantly having to get the cyst drained instead.
She said: “She can’t have it [the cyst] removed as it would be like removing chewing gum.
“It sits near the hypothalamus, which controls hormones so she is losing so many of them.
“Imogens tumour sits on the pituitary gland in her brain – her hormones from this are failing so she needs to have growth hormone, thyroxine and hydrocortisone replacement.
“It’s also pressing on her optic nerve so she is now blind in one eye and can’t see up or down.”
After 20 days, Imogen was finally released from hospital.
Since her initial diagnosis, she has undergone 15 operations – from draining cysts to replacing shunts placed in her brain.
She has a full body scan every three months and a fast scan every seven weeks, as well as fluid drained regularly, and is also undergoing proton radiation, which targets the tumour – but this can take up to two years to work.
Fortunately her tumour is low grade, giving her a better prognosis than others, with proton radiation having a 92% success rate.
Despite initial fears, Lisa says her little girl has become a brave warrior, taking everything in her stride.
She said: “She absolutely hates it but she gets on with it.
“Imogen is so brave.
“She’s had about 80 or 90 MRI scans now and she is getting wise to it.
“I feel apprehensive about her future, she will always need full support and care.
“This journey is so emotionally draining.
“I am not the same person I was three years ago, it is devastating to watch your child fight and not be able to make it better.”
Working with the Brain Tumour Charity, Lisa urges parents to keep an eye out for warning signs and trust their gut.
She said: “Sometimes it can be just a headache or their eyesight may be a bit off, or they might fall out of bed, like Imogen did.
“Go to your GP and be persistent.
“As horrific as this situation has been, it has made me a much braver person.”
Despite everything, Lisa and Andrew have the support of their six other children, Anna, 21, Luke, 18, Lydia, 16, Isabel, 14, Ashley, 10, and Violet, 3.
She added: “It impacts everyone of them, emotionally they suffer with anxiety and not knowing what the future holds.
“Medical appointments ruled life for so long, I spent so much time in hospital.
“Life is a little easier now we have less appointments
“But as a family it has made us closer and stronger.”