LIFESTYLE
16/02/2015 07:01 GMT | Updated 16/02/2015 07:59 GMT

Woman Who Thought She Had A Year-Long Hangover Actually Had A Major Brain Haemorrhage

A mum who suffered a 'year-long hangover' was astonished when doctors realised she'd actually had a brain haemorrhage.

Fed-up Jade Stevens, 34, was tormented by crippling daily migraines which left her sluggish, wobbly and as if she had been out clubbing the night before.

Doctors insisted the mum-of-two had nothing to worry about until she was struck by an extreme headache which she said felt like an "ice pick being driven through her brain".

Medics discovered her year-long headaches were actually down to a rare disease which created a mass of tangled high-pressure veins and arteries in her brain which had burst.

brain

Jade underwent a risky eight-hour operation where surgeons cut out a piece of her skull to remove the mass, leaving her with a huge six inch scar.

She temporarily lost her sight and even forgot how to read but has not suffered a single headache since the potentially-deadly brain haemorrhage.

Jade said: "It was like a permanent hangover.

"During the day I would go to bed quite early and I would would wake up feeling like I had come in from a club at 4am after drinking my bodyweight in alcohol.

"I had a headache, but not the migraine type, I felt sick and generally sluggish and it almost felt like I was still a bit drunk from the night before. I would also feel quite un-coordinated and off balance.

"Even before I woke up properly in the mornings I would reach across and take some tablets.

"The doctor said it looked like I was having migraines and I just took tablets, but I was having to take them every day in the end.

"But as soon as I had the CT scan after I went to hospital all of a sudden all hell broke loose. The doctor said to me 'you've had a bleed on the brain' and I couldn't believe it.

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"The operation to remove the mass was so scary - I didn't know if I was going to come out of the operation, and if I did, how much damage was going to be done.

"But I haven't had a headache since.

"It wasn't until I got my diagnosis and had the operation that I realised how miserable I had been before. I feel very very lucky."

Jade started suffering extreme headaches in late 2013, and after struggling for months finally visited a doctor who diagnosed migraines and prescribed strong painkillers.

Soon she was taking them every day and in November 2014 suffered what experts call a "thunderclap headache" in the shower.

"It was like someone had taken an ice pick and stabbed it through my head," recalled Jade from Shillington, Beds.

"The kids were in bed and I crawled to my bedroom and just lay on the bed. It was agony."

Her partner Clive Phillips, 39, discovered her and while she initially refused to go to hospital because she was worried about her kids, a day later she called an ambulance and was taken to Bedford Hospital.

Doctors initially diagnosed an extreme migraine, but after fed-up Jade insisted it was "the worst pain in my life" medics ordered a CT scan.

It revealed a bleed on the brain and she was transferred to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, where brain specialists diagnosed arteriovenous malformation.

The rare condition causes a mass of tangled weak veins and arteries to form in the brain which are vulnerable to bursting when high pressure blood is pumped from the heart.

Surgeons painstakingly pealed back Jade's scalp and cut a 5cm square in her skull to remove the mass, saving her life.

Lucky Jade said: "It was the only way they could get rid of it completely.

"My vision when I first woke up was like I was underwater, but now it is not perfect but much better.

"I also lost my ability to read. I picked up a magazine and I looked at the letters and I couldn't read a word. It was like a foreign language.

"They think it was the swelling putting pressure on that part of the brain. I'm much better now, but I have to take longer words quite slowly.

"I feel very lucky. Normally when you have a bleed on the brain it causes lots of damage, but I was mostly fine."

Jade has been helped by charity Ben's Friends, who help people with rare illnesses: www.bensfriends.org

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