The day after celebrating Paddy’s Day (an Irish celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day on the 17th March each year) in Belfast, I went to the gym with my mate, Greig Senior. As we pulled up to the car park out the front of the gym I felt a shiver down my body. A headache came on quickly. I tried to ask Greig if we needed a parking ticket for the car. All that came out of my mouth was gibberish. I could visualize the object I was thinking of, the parking ticket, but it couldn’t say or even spell ‘ticket’. I tried to say other words, a sentence, but most of the words wouldn’t come out of my mouth. Only a few basic words would come out of my mouth.
Given we had been drinking for over 12 hours the day before, we both thought that it was just the effects of the worst hangover EVER!!! Little did we know that I had just experienced a speech seizure, the first of 4 for the day – so I drank 2 bottles of water and we proceeded to go inside the gym and have a workout.
A speech seizure is different from your ordinary convulsive seizure. The tumour in my head was putting pressure against the verbal and communication area of the brain. Rather than having a physical seizure where a person may “roll around” on the floor having uncontrolled jerking movements, the pressure in my brain was causing me to have verbal equivalents. This effected my cognitive processes rather than physical.
I had 4 speech seizures that day (Tuesday 18th March 2014), before flying back to Manchester that night. At work the following day I noticed a lot of errors in my emails and reports before correcting them and sending them out. My ability to organize meetings and bookings were noticeably effected and I had constant headaches of differing severity all day. I then had 2 more seizures that night.
Thursday morning I made my way to A&E (accident and emergency department at the hospital, in the UK) at Salford Royal Hospital by 9am. I was seen quite quickly, had all the tests, blood tests and CT-scan by 12 noon and was put in for an MRI scan later that night. I was told within 30 minutes of the MRI scan, by a neurosurgeon, that I had a “growth” in my brain but not further details. As it was 9-10pm I would have to wait to the next day, Friday (21st March 2014) for the leading neurosurgeons to assess the scans in further detail before being able to give me the diagnosis. Needless to say that ended up being a sleepless night!