Mother reveals her 10-year-old daughter’s ‘toothache’ turned out to be a golf ball-sized rare and aggressive brain tumour that was only diagnosed after a trip to the opticians
- EXCLUSIVE: Lucie Thomson, from Liverpool, was playing with her three sisters when came home complaining of toothache and blurred vision in March 2020
- 10-year-old went year symptom free before complaining of blurred vision again
- After having teeth removed, optician noticed she had discs behind her eye
- Doctors diagnosed her with ependymomas, a rare and aggressive brain tumour
A mother has revealed her heartbreak after her 10-year-old daughter’s toothache turned out to be a rare and aggressive golf ball-sized brain tumour.
Lucie Thomson, from Liverpool, was out playing with her three sisters when she came home complaining of pain in her mouth and blurred vision in March last year.
After lockdown saw her dentist appointment cancelled, Lucie went a year symptom-free before complaining of blurred vision again, at which point her father Liam Thomson, 32, took her for an eye test.
It was then that an optician noticed discs behind her eye and advised Lucie’s parents to take her straight to children’s A&E, where she underwent a seven hour procedure after being diagnosed with ependymomas.
Lucie’s mother Jayne Fagan, 31, told how she collapsed in hospital after hearing her daughter’s devastating diagnosis.
Lucie Thomson’s toothache turned out to be a rare and aggressive brain tumour. The 10-year-old (pictured) from Liverpool was out playing with her three sisters when she came home complaining of pain in her mouth and blurred vision in March last year
Jayne Fagan (pictured with her daughter) booked a dentist appointment thinking the schoolgirl might have needed teeth taken out. But then the first lockdown kicked in and all non-essential appointments were cancelled
After her initial tooth pain in March 2020, Jayne booked a dentist appointment suspecting her daughter might need some teeth taken out. But then the first lockdown kicked in and all non-essential appointments were cancelled.
‘After a few days the pain went away,’ Jayne told FEMAIL. ‘I had to have my wisdom teeth removed as did my eldest daughter Lacey, so it runs in the family. We thought nothing more of it and she went back to her old self.’
Lucie then continued without any symptoms until last month, when the pain returned and Jayne called NHS Direct, which arranged her an appointment at the Liverpool University Dental Hospital.
‘They thought she was getting an abscess and took two teeth out and Lucie was really brave,’ Jayne recalled. ‘I sent her to school the next day and she came home feeling sick.’
Brave Lucie is pictured in hospital after her seven hour operation to remove her brain tumour
The results of the scans showed Lucie had a tumour the size of a golf ball in her brain and she needed emergency surgery
Jayne took her back to the dental hospital, where it was explained she would need another tooth out to relieve the pressure that was building and causing her pain.
‘But when we got outside Lucie’s eye started turning in,’ Jayne explained.
‘She said her eye was really sore and she couldn’t see properly.’
Lucie’s father then took her to Specsavers where a scan showed discs behind her eye.
Jayne, who is also mum to Lacey, 12, Holly, eight, and Heidi, six, said it ‘all felt like a blur’ and revealed she collapsed in hospital after Lucie’s diagnosis
Lucie continued without any symptoms until March this year, when the pain returned and Jayne called the NHS Direct which arranged her an appointment at the Liverpool University Dental Hospital
The optician then advised Liam to take Lucie to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital straight away.
Jayne, who is also mum to Lacey, 12, Holly, eight, and Heidi, six, added: ‘It all felt like a blur.
‘I was so worried. One minute she was doing cartwheels with sisters in the garden, the next we were being fast-tracked into Alder Hey Hospital.
‘When we got there, they were expecting us. When I stepped into A&E a nurse came over to me and said, “Are you Lucie’s mum?” They rushed her straight through and took her in for an MRI scan.’
Lucie is pictured in hospital after her operation and in a wheelchair following the operation
The results of the scans showed Lucie had a tumour the size of a golf ball in her brain and she needed emergency surgery.
Jayne said: ‘They told me she’s got a tumour and we need to do an operation straight away within the next 24 hours to save her life.
‘I collapsed in A&E. They showed me the scan and my legs just went.
‘A nurse picked me up and brought me into a room and she gave me some water and hugged me.’
Lucie is pictured with her mother and father in hospital after her brain tumour operation
Lucie underwent a seven-hour operation which was successful in removing the tumour.
WHAT ARE ASTROCYTOMA TUMOURS?
Astrocytomas are the most common type of primary brain tumour within the group of brain tumours called gliomas.
Gliomas are brain tumours starting in the glial cells, which are the supporting cells in the nervous system.
There are three types of gliomas; astrocytoma, oligodendroglioma and ependymoma.
The most common glioma are astrocytomas, which are found in the cells of the brain that support the nerve cells.
Gliomas can be low grade (slow growing) or high grade (fast growing), and doctors use these grades to determine what kind of treatment is needed.
Source: Cancer Research and The Brain Tumour Charity
The results of a biopsy a few days later on March 29 confirmed that the tumour was cancerous and Lucie was diagnosed with an ependymoma.
Ependymoma is a rare type of brain tumour; around two per cent of all brain tumours diagnosed in England between 2006 and 2010 are this kind.
Lucie must now undergo radiotherapy in the form of proton-therapy at the Christie Hospital in Manchester in just over a month’s time.
The 10-year-old has also been put forward for a trial which starts in Europe later this year.
Jayne said: ‘Everything is done in stages, so they won’t look at the next stage of treatment until they’ve completed this stage.
‘They’ve said we might have to go to Nottingham or to France if we take part in the trial.
‘Lucie is so brave, she’s such an amazing child. She’s taken it all in her stride.’
Jayne said one of the hardest parts of the last few weeks has been not having her partner Liam or other family members by her side in hospital due to Covid restrictions.
‘Every decision, I made alone. I got told everything on my own,’ she said.
‘That’s why I was so thankful for her doctor, Professor Mallucci – because he’s a father he understands. He’s my hero.
‘He was fantastic from the minute we got there, he was right by our side, he’s just an angel.
‘When they told me I was petrified but I’m a positive person and I just believe that Lucie works better if we’re happy, because when we’re sad, Lucie is sad.
‘Being normal is important even for the other children – I’ve got four so it’s hard.’
Lucie is keen to document her journey getting treatment to help others going through similar situations. The family hope sharing her story will also raise awareness of the importance of getting your eyes tested
‘We’re lucky to have Lucie and we’re very lucky that she survived the operation because some children don’t.
‘We’re lucky that we found the tumour when we did, everything to me is a blessing.’
Lucie is keen to document her treatment journey to help others going through similar situations.
The family hope sharing her story will also raise awareness of the importance of getting your eyes tested.
Jayne added: ‘If we hadn’t taken her in for an eye test this would have gone unnoticed.
‘I think it’s important that people take eye tests seriously, they can detect more than bad vision.’
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