A woman has revealed the horrific this scar caused by an operation for a brain tumour – which was diagnosed after she started to smell BURNT TOAST.
Yasmin Clapp, 26, suffered a range of symptoms including phantom smells and chronic tiredness, but initially had no idea of the life-changing illness she had.
She initially dismissed them as they were intermittent, but eventually sought help when they began to persist.
Yasmin, from Exeter, Devon, was shocked to learn that she had a brain tumour – and was soon in hospital for an operation to have it removed.
She said: “Looking back, the first time was in 2016 at work and I remember a colleague saying that I was just staring into space and mumbling.
“I was sat there realising I could smell burning and at the same time all the voices I could hear around me, I’d heard them before – it was just like a déjà vu moment.
“After that I couldn’t talk properly for a while and a huge wave of tiredness came over me.”
After putting it down to being just a ‘strange sensation’, in July the following year it started happening again.
She said: “In September 2017 I was in the kitchen making cheese on toast and I had a moment.
“The smell, the déjà vu and of course the toast started burning as well so I was surrounded by real and imagined smells.
“My mum rushed in and said, ‘Yasmin, you’re mumbling’, so we went to the doctor and he referred me straight away to have an epilepsy test done at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.
“I had electrical wires on my head in place for two days and the whole works, but they found nothing.
“A neurologist then scheduled me for an MRI, originally for February 2018, but the moments weren’t going away so luckily my doctor pushed for the scan to be brought forward to October 2017.”
She added: “At the time they weren’t sure that the tumours would even need surgery but then I got a call saying there was two little dots on the scan that I called ‘dumb and dumber.”
The seriousness of Yasmin’ diagnosis had now escalated and surgeons told her she would need an awake craniotomy urgently.
“It’s really strange when I look back at it now,” she admitted. “I don’t know how I did it but it went really well for me.
“I always remember it because it was March 2 and there was a lot of snow in the south west that year.
“A lot of appointments got cancelled but I had stayed the night before in a hotel nearby with my mum, so on the morning I was like, ‘yep, I’m ready!’
“Within two days I was out of hospital and 98 per cent of the tumours had been removed.”
The biopsy from the craniotomy showed the tumour had grade 4 cancerous growth, and overall she had a mixed-grade brain tumour.
Yasmin then underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy and the process of recovery began.
Very quickly she was able to return to work and to build up her confidence and life again.
Grateful to be alive, she said: “I was told that without my doctor being so determined to help me, I would have been worse off if he hadn’t have helped push through my tests and diagnosis.
“I was lucky, I had a good experience with my GP. It’s made a big difference to my life.”
Yasmin is one of twenty three Young Ambassadors for The Brain Tumour Charity, raising awareness of symptoms and treatment.
The charity lead and fund the HeadSmart brain tumour awareness campaign for children and young adults.
Yasmin said: “Being part of the Young Ambassadors has helped me massively getting my life on track.
“It’s given me confidence to carry on with my work and I’ve also travelled a lot since.”
Yasmin jetted off to Ibiza in August just a month after finishing chemotherapy and earlier in the year she sailed with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.
Now, Yasmin’s passion for raising awareness shines through.
She said: “I often pass on HeadSmart leaflets and talk staff, doctors and consultants at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and I regularly talk to other families affected.
“I’ve met with my local MP and worked for Public Health highlighting the HeadSmart brain tumour symptom campaign that The Brain Tumour Charity leads and funds.
“I’m doing as much as I can at the moment to push out information and to get more facilities of cancer and brain tumour patients
“I’m really proud of the work the Young Ambassador program, showing that you can do things, you can get back on your feet after a brain tumour.”
“For me, my story is very positive and I like to talk to people who might be on edge about what they’re facing and give them a positive approach.
“I want to make sure people realise they’re not alone.”