Jeanie Bell found out she had two brain tumours after collapsing at work

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A mum-of-three who thought she was suffering from early menopause was shocked to discover she actually had two brain tumours.

Jeanie Bell, 45, from St Helens, realised something was seriously wrong when she had a seizure at work and collapsed, the Liverpool Echo reports.

Even though she previously experienced dizzy spells and migraines, she said her children thought she was going through early menopause.

It was not until she underwent an MRI scan and spoke to a neurologist that the local councillor discovered she had two meningioma brain tumours.

She then had to undergo a five-hour operation to remove them.

Jeanie told the ECHO: "I was first diagnosed with two brain tumours in 2017. I had a couple of years where I hadn't been very well but the symptoms were really non descriptive and nobody had really picked up on what it might be.

The mum underwent a five-hour operation to remove the tumours

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"I had things like dizzy spells, migraines, I was very emotional. My kids thought I might have been going through early menopause because I was all over the place and emotionally I was in a quite difficult place.

"I then collapsed at work and had a seizure and they took me into hospital. I'd never had a seizure at all in my life so it was completely out of the blue.

"They referred me to a neurologist who basically ruled everything out and said sometimes people have seizures, it's one of those things, but I'll do an MRI just to be sure. Three days after the MRI I got a call to say we’ve found two brain tumours."

Jeanie said she was definitely "in shock" when she received the phone call in work and that the most difficult part was having to tell her children Heather, Willem and Rosie.

Jeanie said the hardest part of her ordeal was having to tell her children the news

She said: "I lost my mum to cancer when I was 21, she had renal cancer, so I kind of had been in their position before and what I wanted to do very much was make sure that they had the right information. I didn't want them running away and googling and looking at websites with all kinds on it.

"We sat down as a family, I was really open and said ask me anything you like."

In summer 2018, Jeanie had a five-hour long surgery to remove both tumours, one which was 1.5cm by 2cm and the other which was 2cm by 2.5cm and praised the team at the Walton Centre.

Jeanie said: "The relief was huge. For me one of the most horrible things was living with them in my head and not knowing if they were growing, what was going to happen. That was really horrible.

"I had a friend who went through a similar thing, he had brain surgery and he prepped me and said as soon as you come into recovery count your fingers, count your toes and recite phone numbers so you know your brain is working.

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"So as soon as I came out of surgery that's what I did, counted my fingers, counted my toes, said my phone numbers, said my kids names and that was it.

"I had a cup of tea and text my husband and my kids saying 'I'm still alive, don't worry, come and see me soon."

Jeanie experienced complications after surgery, developing pneumonia and experiencing regular seizures in later months due to scar tissue developing.

Jeanie said it is just about managing the seizures with the right medication, but after her brain surgery she also wanted to do something for herself.

Last year, Jeanie set out to complete her degree and recently achieved a first class BA in criminal justice and said her kids are "over the moon".

She said: "I did a foundation degree when I was much younger and I had my children at the time, my eldest was five, I had a one-year-old and a new born.

"Once I completed the foundation degree, I didn't have a mum and I didn't have a dad in my life, I had my husband but that was it. I thought I need to focus on the kids.

"I did it for me because I lost all my confidence after surgery and I thought I'm never going to be the same again. I'm never going to function in the same way, I wont be as sharp or able to learn the same way I had before.

"One of the big things about brain tumours is it only receives 1% of national cancer funding and yet it's the biggest killer in all cancers in people under the age of 45.

"I don't regret the surgery, it was the right thing to do. It’s different but not necessarily worse, it’s about how you manage it.

"My advice would be your brain is such a complicated organ, everyone's recovery is individual, don't compare yourself to anyone else and just allow yourself time to get better."