Mum suffering ‘word salad and headaches’ after giving birth is ‘absolutely broken’ by ‘punch in the guts’ diagnosis

Mum suffering ‘word salad and headaches’ after giving birth is ‘absolutely broken’ by ‘punch in the guts’ diagnosis

A MUM’S headaches and blurred vision were dismissed by doctors as “baby brain” until a scan revealed a 5cm tumour had been growing in her head for 10 years, she claims.

Natasha Hunton-Walker, 31, from London, began experiencing recurrent headaches and blurred vision the day of giving birth to her son, Max, in September.

Kennedy NewsNatasha Hunton-Walker, 31, says her headaches and blurred vision were dismissed by doctors as ‘baby brain’[/caption]

Kennedy NewsScan revealed a 5cm tumour had been growing in her head for 10 years[/caption]

The mum-of-one contacted a number of opticians who put her eyesight issues down to breastfeeding and the exhaustion of being a new parent.

However, she was convinced her symptoms were not postpartum-related — and a chance visit to an opticians in December revealed something much more sinister.

She was told to urgently go to hospital after a photograph of the back of Natasha’s eye revealed a growth on her brain.

Natasha and husband Zac, 31, rushed to Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital where she was diagnosed with a grade-two meningioma brain tumour.

Shocking photos show the golf ball-sized mass measured at five centimetres on Natasha’s CT scan.

Weeks later, the office manager underwent a ten-hour operation to remove the tumour – and feels “lucky to be alive” following her unexpected health battle.

Natasha said: “For me I started noticing symptoms the day I gave birth in late-September.

“After I gave birth, I fell asleep for a couple of hours and woke up with ‘word salad’. Words were coming out my mouth but they weren’t in the context that was in my brain.

“The doctors and midwives just thought it was exhaustion. Then seven weeks into my post-partum I had headaches pretty much every day but they weren’t severe.

“And my vision was just weird. My peripheral vision in my left eye was slightly blurry – something just wasn’t right.

“I kept going to the local opticians asking for an appointment but they kept saying it’s really normal while you’re breastfeeding to have weird vision so don’t worry.

“I tried to go to three or four opticians in the London area but couldn’t get an appointment.

“None of the medical staff I spoke to gave the impression they were concerned or worried. They said it’s normal in postpartum days to feel like this.”


Around 16,000 Brits are diagnosed with brain tumours every year, according to Brain Tumour Research.

Meningioma are are the most common form of brain tumour and grow slowly until they are very large.

They can cause disabilities or be life threatening in some cases.

Most are benign but 10 to 15 per cent can become atypical or cancerous.

Symptoms include headaches, seizures, feeling sick, memory problems, personality changes and problems with vision.

During a visit to her parents in Devon, Natasha decided to accompany her dad to the opticians after breaking his glasses.

There, she decided to pop in herself and requested a last-minute appointment for an eye test on December 11.

After a screening on the back of Natasha’s eye, the optician spotted an area of concern and told her to go to hospital straight away for further testing.

Natasha said: “The optician said he could see a growth behind my eye and needed to go to hospital right away.

“They did loads of eye tests and wanted to do a CT scan. After the scan, they told me there and then that I had a brain tumour and I was absolutely broken. I was told it was 5cm.

“They told me later that they think I’ve had this tumour for ten years if not more.

“As soon as you hear the words ‘brain tumour’, you think death, even though it doesn’t necessarily mean that now. It felt like a punch in the gut.”

This tumour could’ve killed me one day

Natasha Hunton-Walker

In January, Natasha underwent an urgent ten-hour operation to remove the tumour which was successful — but there is still a chance the tumour could one day reappear.

The mum feels the birth of her son Max brought her brain tumour symptoms to the surface – crediting her son for saving her life.

Natasha said: “My interpretation is that hormones sped things up. The fact I didn’t feel anything until giving birth tells me that my baby boy saved my life.

“A lot of symptoms are disregarded because they can be typical symptoms when you’ve just had a baby but I still don’t think they should be ignored and passed on.

“This tumour could’ve killed me one day. I feel so lucky and grateful about how this has turned out. It could’ve been beyond tragic and I could’ve so easily ignored these symptoms.

“I say to other people, trust your gut and don’t accept ‘it’s just postpartum’. Be persistent and look after yourself. You know in your gut when things aren’t right.”

Kennedy NewsA CT scan showed the golf ball-sized mass measured at five centimetres[/caption]

What are the symptoms of a brain tumour?

The symptoms of a brain tumour vary depending on the exact part of the brain affected.

Common symptoms include:

seizures (fits)
persistently feeling sick (nausea), being sick (vomiting) and drowsiness
mental or behavioural changes, such as memory problems or changes in personality
progressive weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
vision or speech problems

Sometimes you may not have any symptoms to begin with, or they may develop very slowly over time.

Source: The NHS