A Houston mother who went to bed with a 'hangover' and woke up paralysed in the hospital ended up having to undergo major brain surgery to remove an aggressive tumour.
Christina Smith woke up with a headache after celebrating her niece's birthday the night before, but had no other symptoms. After having "the biggest headache all day", the 23-year-old went to sleep and had a seizure.
Her husband, Willie, witnessed the seizure and she was rushed to Bayshore Medical Center, where doctors discovered an aggressive tumour wrapped around a major blood vessel in her brain.
Normally, the tumour would be removed around the vein; however, because it was so aggressive, doctors decided they could leave no trace of the tumor, so removed the vein as well.
Reportedly, doctors were unsure as to what would happen when she woke up.
“There was no way to remove that tumor without removing part of that vein,” Dr. John Tynes, the chief medical officer at Bayshore Medical Center, told Fox 26 Houston. “When you take out the vein in the brain, as you can imagine, there are risks associated with that — risks like stroke, permanent brain damage, paralysis, so it was a very difficult, very brave decision that the care time at Bayshore and Christina and Willie made, to go ahead and have the surgery.”
There were 40 people nervously in the waiting room, including her loving husband, two-year-old son, and her father, who is the host of a local gospel radio station, while Smith was bravely going through surgery.
Tragically, the young mother opened her eyes after to find the tumor gone, but half of her body completely paralysed. Immobilised on the right side of her body, she soon began rehabilitation therapies in the hospital and thankfully she began recovering quicker than expected, eventually making a miraculous recovery.
The 23-year-old - who claims she was just grateful it was her body, not her brain - is now back in nursing school after her traumatic illness.
She said: “I was expected to have inpatient rehab and the next thing you know I started recovering a lot faster than normal, so I didn’t need much rehab at all... I'm back in school!”
Her story is similar to that of James Murphy, a man from Cork, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 25 following a weekend of bad headaches, something he initially believed was a hangover.
Murphy, from Ballincollig, chose to undergo a year of radiation and chemotherapy, along with serious surgery to remove the 4cm cancerous growth on his brain.
“I left work in Dublin on a Friday and travelled to Cork. As a typical 25-year-old would do, met his friends for a few drinks on the Friday night and then woke up on Saturday morning not feeling the best,” Murphy told Ryan Tubridy on RTE Radio 1 in Ma 2017. “Initially I thought this was a hangover, feeling my age, but it turned out to be something more sinister.”