Sharnie Ludlam, a 22-year-old mother from West Sussex, England, kept developing headaches, but she was turned away by doctors three times when she sought treatment. However, the decision to call an ambulance for herself might just have saved her life.
Once Ludlam was accepted into an emergency department, she was able to receive a brain scan, which reveled a large colloid cyst on the front of her brain, Mirror reported. According to UCLA’s Department of Neurosurgery, a Colloid cyst is a slow-growing tumor that can block the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, increasing brain pressure - which is potentially fatal.
Ludlam was rushed to St. George’s hospital in London. "The whole thing was so scary, I didn't know what to [do], I just knew that something was very wrong with me,” she told Mirror. “I thought I was going to die, and even the doctors told me I would only have lived another two weeks if I didn't do anything about it.”
Surgeons removed part of Ludlam’s skull, known as the brain flap, in order to gain access to the cyst, which they then removed. Ludlam was discharged after three days, but the opening in her head began leaking and she returned to the hospital for help, where medics found her flap had a lump of fluid.
"I went back to hospital again because the bone flap got infected. I woke up one morning and my face and eyes were all swollen,” Ludlam said.
Ludlam, who has a 2-year-old-daughter named Shinade, called the experience “an absolute nightmare.”
"When the fluid filled my head it looked like I had a massive egg on my forehead” she said.
Ludlam’s ordeal, which started in October, isn’t over. "I have a bit of my skull missing, a bit of my head is just brain and there's just a big dent in my head."