Ticking time bomb: single sneeze could have killed mum
A mum who was diagnosed with a deadly brain tumour had to stop herself SNEEZING for more than a year – in case she triggered a deadly rupture.
Jhoana Nalton, 34, from Surrey, was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm in July 2014 – a bulge in a blood vessel in the brain which can leak or rupture – after being plagued by headaches and dizziness.
But she had to wait an entire year before highly skilled surgeons could operate due to the making of a special £10K stent and the NHS waiting list.
The mum-of-one was left feeling terrified, as doctors warned sneezing, running, coffee, stress, lifting heavy products, scary films or falling over could all cause her aneurysm to burst – which would be fatal.
Jhoana could no longer do house work, go outdoors due to hayfever, or pick up her three-year-old daughter, Jessica.
Thankfully, her doting husband, Jamie, 39, was able to take over the household chores until Jhoana had her brain surgery earlier this year.
She underwent a five-and-a-half-hour operation to have a stent fitted into her brain just five-months-ago and is now starting to lead a normal life.
Jhoana, a wedding and home accessories designer, said: “I was shocked when my scan results showed I had a brain aneurysm.
“I was left being a ticking time bomb for a whole year before I was booked in to have my operation.
“I haven’t been able to do anything in the past year as I’ve been so scared that the slightest thing would cause it to burst.
“Even sneezing was deemed as risky and I was suffering from hayfever so it was a real nightmare.
“I avoided social events and was worried about even going outdoors.
“Thankfully I survived the year after a long recovery process and the operation was a success.”
Jhoana first started to suffer symptoms at the end of 2013, she felt dizzy, had tunnel vision and severe headaches.
She added: “I felt so unwell but I never imagined it would be something so serious as a brain aneurysm, they can be life-threatening especially if you don’t know you have one.
“Thankfully I have such a supportive husband and family that I was able to get through one of the worst years of my life without it bursting.
“It was horrible, I love socialising but I stayed indoors for almost an a whole year as I was petrified that the slightest thing could kill me.
“Jamie took on the role as wife and mum for a while as he did all the household chores and with the help of my mum took care of our daughter.
“I couldn’t of got through it without him, he was my rock.”
Jhoana had keyhole surgery that went through her groin to attach the stent in her brain – the operation lasted five-and-a-half-hours.
She added: “It was a huge relief to have it all over and done with but while they were operating they found another smaller aneurysm which is now being monitored.
“My original one is shrinking with the stent and eventually it will completely disappear.”
Jhoana will have another MRI and an Angiogram in February and after that they will be once every three-years as long as the smaller one hasn’t grown.
She added: “If was left undiagnosed I could have died, lost my eyesight or had a stroke.
“I would warn anyone with similar symptoms as mine to push for an MRI scan as it could save your life.”
Jhoana has set up a blog to document her journey to friends and family.
She added: “A first I found it really difficult to talk about it all but setting up a blog and showing those closest to me really allowed everyone to understand how I was feeling.
“I’ve recently opened it up to the public as I hope it will give others with brain aneurysms the information they need, I found it really difficult to find anything when looking online after I was diagnosed.”
Jhoana finally feels as though she’s getting her life back on track and is sharing her story in the hope to raise as much awareness as possible.
She said: “I hope my story gives hope to others who have brain aneurysms as this time last year I wasn’t even able to pick up my daughter but now I can look forward to the future knowing it’s shrinking.”