A new mum’s life was saved by her baby daughter when doctors found a brain tumour the size of a golf ball – after she gave birth.
Detective Constable Catherine Dell, 39, was forced to have an emergency caesarean section after she was in labour for 38 hours.
She suffered a violent seizure just hours after baby Jessica was born on February 26, 2014 and doctors ran tests which detected her tumour.
A CT scan revealed Catherine had a 4cm-long tumour on the front right-hand side of her brain.
Medics told her her body’s tolerance to the tumour had decreased because she was so tired from her marathon labour which trigged the seizure.
Catherine had a biopsy on April 16, 2014 where her surgeon managed to remove the benign Ganglioglioma Grade One tumour.
She endured a gruelling recovery where she had to learn to live with the side effects the operation which included seizures from lesions left by her brain surgery.
But she managed to return to work in September last year and is now running the Lichfield Half Marathon on Sunday (1/5).
Catherine, who works in West Midlands Police’s Economic Crime Unit, said her baby girl saved her life.
She added: “Jessica wasn’t in a rush to come out. The labour took a total of 38 hours.
“It was agonising, exhausting, stressful and a few hours after undergoing an emergency C-section I suddenly had a violent seizure.
“They ran tests and scans and they found a tumour about 4cm long on the front right-hand side of my brain.
“I had no symptoms whatsoever, no headaches or eyesight problems. I would never have known.
“If my tumour had remained undetected it’s likely to have continued to grow until I had a major seizure and by that stage it may have been too late.
“Part of it was calcified suggesting it had been there for a quite some time.
“My surgeon explained that because I was so tired from labour my body’s tolerance to the tumour decreased and it prompted the seizure.
“So in a way my daughter, and that extended labour, saved my life.”
Catherine, who lives in Lichfield, Staffs., has worked at West Midlands Police since 2003 and joined the Economic Crime Unit four years ago.
The fraud detective investigates cases ranging from large scale business crime to scammers who target vulnerable people for money.
Speaking about her operation to remove the golf-ball sized tumour, she said: “It was frightening. I thought it was the beginning of the end for me.
“My mortality was thrown into stark focus and I struggled to bond with my daughter in the fear that I was going to die and never be there for her.
“I was one of the lucky ones. My surgeon removed the whole tumour at the point of surgery and it turned out to be benign.
“It’s a rare tumour normally found in about one per cent of children affected by brain tumours. It was about the size of a golf ball.
“Recovery has been long and hard. I suffered seizures from lesions left by my brain surgery. I have learnt to live with the side effects of my anti-seizure drug.
“My hair seemed to take forever to grow back to hide the ugly scar that remained on my scalp. I started physiotherapy to help build my muscle back.”
Catherine is now running the Lichfield Half Marathon next weekend to raise money for
The Brain Tumour Charity which helped her through the ordeal.
She added: “I’ve lost the weight and returned to be fitter and stronger than I ever was.
“I regained my confidence and fitness and crucially I’ve caught up on the time I lost with my daughter.
“The Brain Tumour Charity supported me and my family through the lowest time of my life. I wanted to give something back, and raising awareness, as soon as possible.
“When I was able to walk a good distance I did the Brain Tumour Twilight Walk last year and I’m now preparing for my first half marathon on Sunday (1/5).”
Anyone who wants to donate to Catherine’s half marathon fund can visit: https://www.justgiving.com/Catherine-Dell