I thought I just had a bad hangover during my shift at McDonald’s – the truth was devastating


I thought I just had a bad hangover during my shift at McDonald’s – the truth was devastating

AS a teenager, Danielle Freeman enjoyed the odd night out. But her main focus had been looking after herself as she wanted to become a personal

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AS a teenager, Danielle Freeman enjoyed the odd night out.

But her main focus had been looking after herself as she wanted to become a personal trainer.

PA Real Life

Danielle Freeman was focussed on her fitness but started to struggle with her workouts[/caption]

PA Real Life

She had been working at a McDonald’s with her boyfriend Connor when she became unwell[/caption]

PA Real Life

Medics found she had been living with a benign brain tumour – which experts said she might have had for several years[/caption]

As she was training, she would feel mentally and physically drained with no explanation and says her workouts started to slip.

In 2018 her boss at the gym she worked at, in Portree on the Isle of Man suggested she had depression, but Danielle knew this wasn’t the case.

Fast forward a year and the 23-year-old had been working at McDonald’s and thought she just had a hangover.

The night before she had been out with pals and enjoyed a couple of drinks.

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Showing up for her shift at the food chain the next day, she said she thought she had just drunk too much.

Danielle said: “I was on the headset at the drive-thru and I suddenly made a screaming noise.

“I don’t remember any of this, but my boyfriend and my flatmate both worked at McDonald’s with me and came rushing over.

“It was my flatmate who saw me first. He saw me screaming and thought I’d seen a fly as I hate bugs. But then I slowly started to fall to the floor and a manager caught me.

“I know now it was a grand mal seizure, one that causes loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions, and lasted upwards of two minutes.”

Danielle then passed out again and when she woke up, a paramedic, her boyfriend Connor, 26, and her manager were stood around her.

After being taken to hospital, and having tests run it was discovered that Danielle had been suffering with a benign brain tumour.

In 2020 when Danielle received her MRI results, the previous tiredness all fell into place.

She received a letter which detailed that she had a benign mass on her right temporal lobe.

“Because it was benign, I wasn’t as worried as I could have been.

“But knowing there was something in my brain that shouldn’t be there was horrible,” she said.

At a follow up appointment, she was told the pea-shaped mass could have been there for as long as seven years.

A consultant explained to Danielle that her brain was unable to process hangovers and reassured her that having a couple of drinks here and there hadn’t caused it.

Danielle then had to decided whether she wanted immediate surgery or if she wanted to monitor the tumour.

Medics told her that it was unlikely to grow for a number of years and Danielle was able to manage her symptoms with medication and a healthy lifestyle.

The seizures stopped, but a scan at the end of 2020 showed the tumour was growing.

It was then she was given the diagnosis of a grade two brain tumour.

What is a brain tumour and what are the symptoms?

A brain tumour is a mass, or lump in the brain which is caused when brain cells divide and grow in an uncontrolled way.

The growths can be benign, non-cancerous, which grow slowly and if treated are unlikely to reappear.

However, cancerous brain tumours are more serious and some can start in the brain or spread there from cancer elsewhere in the body.

Brain tumours are also graded on their seriousness, with grade one and two tumours being seen as low risk.

While grade three and four tumours are seen as high risk and likely to return after treatment.

What are the signs?

According to the NHS, the symptoms of a brain tumour depend on its severity and which part of the brain is affected.

However, there are common signs that people can look out for if they are worried.

These include severe, non-stop headaches, seizures as well as nausea, vomiting and drowsiness.

Other signs can include vision or speech problems, paralysis and even changes to a person’s behaviour such as having difficulty remembering things.

These symptoms can appear suddenly or develop slowly over time.

The brain tumour charity has more information on symptoms on their website.

She agreed to have it removed, but at first it was non urgent.

But in January 2021 her eyesight became blurred as the tumour was pressing on her brain.

Danielle had to go through a five hour procedure to have it removed.

She said: “My energy levels are so much better now. I work out up to five days a week. The chemotherapy can make me tired, but I feel so much better.

“I can even have the odd drink now, but just have to make sure I take my seizure medication.”

Danielle’s treatment has nearly come to an end and she is now working with The Brain Tumour Society to boost their current campaign.

The Better Safe Than Tumour campaign aims to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of brain tumours which, in adults, include persistent and severe headaches, changes in vision, seizures, balance problems or dizziness, memory problems, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, loss of taste and smell, speech difficulties and numbness or tingling in the extremities.

Danielle said: “For me, more awareness of the signs and symptoms of brain tumours would have stopped me from blaming myself so much.

“I would have also known not to brush off the symptoms and instead to push for answers and even to suggest being sent for an MRI scan at the point when I started suffering with fatigue.

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“This campaign will really help people with symptoms to ask more questions and understand what could be happening to them.

“In turn, this could lead to an all-important early diagnosis that could save lives.”

PA Real Life

Eventually she had the tumour removed after doctors said she was just able to monitor it for changes[/caption]