A mother never expected her holiday with her family to be the worst after her whole body began shaking uncontrollably due to a rare brain tumour growing inside her head.
Nicola Davies, 45, from Merthyr Tydfil, south Wales, and her husband, Joe, were on holiday at Disneyland Paris with their son Morgan, 11, and daughter Millie, nine, when she woke up in the night with her left leg trembling severely.
“I woke up at about 11.40pm and my left leg was shaking uncontrollably. I called my husband and woke him up, but it stopped as quickly as it had started. I thought it was just all the walking and excitement,” Ms Davies said, who ignored it until it happened again around three months later.
She went to see doctors but they were unable to get the right diagnosis which left Ms Davies suffering night-time shaking, headaches, deteriorating vision and hearing loss for months.
However, it was not until an eye test in September 2015 when the diagnosis would come as an optician spotted the tumour, and advised her to go to the hospital.
After having CT and MRI scans, Ms Davies was finally diagnosed with a brain tumour, known as meningioma, pressing on her optic nerve, which doctors said was a large one and that it had been growing for about 10 years.
She subsequently underwent a seven-and-a-half hour brain operation to remove 98 per cent of the tumour, and left her with a prominent scar.
Doctors said the tumour was benign, which means Ms Davies did not require additional treatment after the surgery and was discharged from hospital five days later, but there is a chance the tumour could grow back.
Ms Davies said that the ordeal has affected her long-term health. “The symptoms started to subside after the operation, but it was a long road to recovery. Some damage was already done, so I’ve been left with long-term problems.
“My hearing is still badly affected and I get tired very easily. I need to have regular check-ups and will need radiotherapy if it starts to grow back.
Despite these, she’s thankful to the optician who detected the problem. “I am so grateful that the optician got to the bottom of it though, as if the tumour had kept growing, it could have eventually killed me,” she said.