Toddler diagnosed with deadly brain tumour after being ‘tired and grouchy’


A one-year-old was diagnosed with a potentially fatal brain tumour after her mum said she was “tired and grouchy”.

In August last year Issy Rowe, from Harrogate in Yorkshire, noticed her daughter, Georgina Johnstone, was not acting herself.

Things took a turn for the worst over the next week, as Georgina started throwing up every morning and became very clingy in the evenings.

Issy, 36, took her daughter to the GP who suspected she had an ear infection and prescribed antibiotics. But the sickness continued and Georgina didn’t have a temperature.

After five more days of sickness and another visit to the GP, Georgina was referred to the Harrogate District Hospital, North Yorkshire.

An MRI scan showed a “significant” mass on Georgina’s brain and she was transferred to Leeds General Infirmary, West Yorkshire.

Issy said: “It was awful, I couldn’t believe it. It was the worst possible thing someone could say about your child.”

Mum-of-three Issy was told the tot would need surgery to remove the tumour or she would die.

During a successful five-hour operation doctors extracted a 16 centimetre tumour from Georgina’s brain.

Issy, a teacher, recalled: “The right people at the right time saved our little girl’s life.

“If I had listened to the consultant who suggested we went back six days later, Georgina would not be with us.

“It has been hell but the main thing is that Georgina has responded well to the treatment.

“We have put her first in everything we have done which meant she has come out of it well.”

After surgery, Georgina underwent 56 weeks of high-dose chemotherapy, in seven cycles over eight weeks.

Issy said: “She has been amazing throughout the whole process. We have had some bad weeks where she has been sick a lot but we have been very pleasantly surprised at how well she has handled the whole thing.

“I think because she is so young and doesn’t realise she is poorly, she just gets on with it.”

Georgina never got to start nursery due to the vigorous treatment programme and Issy had to be careful when she was around other children.

Georgina finished treatment four weeks ago and has just been given the all-clear.

Issy added: “The scan was clear, there was no regrowth – Georgina is cancer-free.

“They are happy to wait six months before we have another scan. I am absolutely buzzing, it is a massive relief.

“We are going to try and get used to normality, I am going to go back to work and they said Georgina can start nursery which is great.”

According to the NHS, common signs of a brain tumour include:

  • Headaches
  • Seizures (fits)
  • Persistently feeling sick (nausea), being sick (vomiting) and drowsiness
  • Mental or behavioural changes, such as memory problems or changes in personality
  • Progressive weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
  • Vision or speech problems.

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