Woman discovers she has an orange-sized tumor after personality change

  • A woman began to crave loved ones, had ‘zero energy’ and no longer wanted to socialize.
  • Doctors gave Michelle Francis, 47, antidepressants for her symptoms.
  • After a seizure, she was diagnosed with meningioma, a tumor that begins in the brain or spinal cord.

A woman treated for depression after struggling with fatigue and low mood found she had an orange-sized brain tumor after undergoing a scan after a seizure.

Michelle Francis, 47, had a meningioma, a benign tumor that starts in the membranes of the brain or spinal cord.

About 371 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with meningiomas each year, and about 2,692 people have the condition, according to the National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research.

Antibiotics for a suspected sinus infection didn’t work

Francis, who lives in the UK, first went to her GP in June 2020 and felt tired and dizzy. The doctor gave her antibiotics for what was believed to be a sinus infection, which didn’t work, she told The Sun.

A few months later, Francis developed new symptoms, including: ringing in her ears, blurred vision — despite normal eye tests — and her foot and hand went numb.

She went back to the doctor because the ringing got so bad she couldn’t sleep. At the time, she had “zero energy” and was “very low,” spending most of her time in bed, so the doctor prescribed her antidepressants.

“It got so bad I barely bothered to cook or shower,” she said.

Francis, who described herself as “vivid” and “joyful” before her illness, said she was so inactive during this time that she gained 35 pounds and temporarily developed diabetes from being overweight.

Francis’ personality has changed

Francis was also no longer socialized and started snapping at her boyfriend and mother, which she says doesn’t suit her.

“After that I would feel terrible for being mean to them, which made me even more depressed and sent me back to bed again,” she said.

Francis said she was a conscientious person, but started falling behind at work and was abrupt with her colleagues. In October 2021 she was no longer able to work.

“It felt like there was a dark cloud hanging over me all the time,” she said.

Francis had six hours of brain surgery to remove the tumor

In November 2021, Francis suffered a seizure at home, and a scan revealed that a left-sided brain tumor was compressing her optic nerve, which aids in vision.

In January, Francis underwent 6 hours of brain surgery to remove the tumor.

Regular checkups suggest her tumor is inactive, with no signs of regrowth, but she is currently not allowed to drive and is taking anticonvulsants.

Francis makes people aware of brain tumors and their symptoms

Francis is working with UK-based charity Brain Tumor Research to raise awareness of brain tumors and their symptoms.

Symptoms of meningiomas vary depending on the location of the tumor, but include: changes in vision, loss of hearing or smell, confusion, seizures, and headaches that are worse in the morning.

“I’ve been to hell and back. But I know I’m one of the lucky ones. My surgery was successful, my tumor was non-cancerous and I survived,” Francis said.

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