A woman whose periods suddenly stopped as a teenager was shocked to discover, seven years later, it was due to a brain tumour.
In 2007, at the age of 13, Abbie had two months of what she thought was the start of regular menstruation, but then her periods stopped. She also started suffering from painful headaches.
She spent years going back and forth to the GP, as her periods failed to start. She was advised to eat more and placed on various contraceptive pills to induce menstruation, but none worked, and no other tests or treatments were offered. It wasn’t until 2013, when an ultrasound showed Abbie’s reproductive system appeared normal, that Abbie was given an MRI scan which revealed a walnut-sized mass on her brain.
She said: “I was completely shocked but felt a level of relief that something had been found that could explain what was happening to my body.”
Abbie underwent surgery to remove the mass, which was identified as a craniopharyngioma. It was growing near her pituitary gland and hypothalamus – parts of the brain in charge of regulating hormones – causing irreversible damage and its positioning was responsible for the disruption to her menstrual cycle.
In 2016, the tumour regrew and Abbie was the first person from Wales to receive proton beam therapy treatment in America.
Now married and looking to start a family in the future with the help of IVF with husband Mike (pictured with Abbie and Maisy the dog), she has shared her story to help us achieve 100,000 signatures on our petition.
Abbie added: “Brain tumours need to be taken more seriously which comes down to a lack of funding of research into the disease.”