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A mum has told her of devastation after finding out her daughter’s persistently upset stomach was in fact multiple tumours in her brain.
Rosa-Mae, 8, was on a family holiday in Spain when she began vomiting in the middle of the night, but her unalarmed mum, Claire Fridd, didn’t think much of it at the time.
After months of the sickness strangely persisting, Claire brought her daughter to see a doctor, who didn’t seem overly concerned about the symptoms and suggested she may have colic.
It wasn’t until Claire later attended a routine eye appointment that an optician detected an unusual amount of pressure on Rosa-Mae’s optic nerve.
The eight-year-old was thereafter referred to see an ophthalmologist at William Harvey Hospital, where MRI scans revealed a cluster of tumours attached to her brain.
Clair, from Kent, said: “Getting the result of the MRI and being told that my child has got more than one brain tumour was the worst day of her life.
“It was wishing the space of four days from having the eye tests that they discovered the brain tumour.
“There was nothing in what was happening that would ever have led me to have though it was what it turned out to be, ever.
“The eye test saved her life because if it had done on further then it could have grown more, but because we got there when we did she has no health deficits at all – she’s one of the lucky ones.
“She’s having chemotherapy now to make sure that the tumours don’t grow anymore, and hopefully to shrink them.”
Rosa-Mae was immediately sent to King’s College Hospital in London, where she spent a total of six weeks undergoing gruelling operations.
Other families on the same ward as Rosa-Mae had also remarkably spotted their children’s tumours thanks to Specsavers.
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Claire explained opticians spotted the pressure on Rosa-Mae’s optic nerve because the tumour was blocking the fluid from flowing around her brain, causing a reaction known as hydrocephalus.
Doctors therefore had to drain the fluid into a bag, measuring the girl’s head as they went along to ensure they weren’t removing too much or too little fluid.
Despite all the gruelling medical procedures, the eight-year-old, who is now on her 68th week of chemotherapy, continues to do “everything with a smile”.
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Claire added: "Rosa-Mae is the most brave, resilient, strong and happy person I know.
“She’s amazing – she never stops smiling and is absolutely incredible.
“She’d just come straight out of an operation and the nurses couldn't quite believe it – she had a beaming smile on her face.
“Her brothers are amazed the way she is and always say that they wouldn’t be as brave as her.”
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Jason Gillian, ophthalmic director at Specsavers Canterbury, said: "this highlights why regular routine eye tests are so important at all ages.
"While is comparatively rare for us to find raised pressure on the optic nerve, especially in such a young child, it can be a sign of a potentially serious condition which needs urgent referral and treatment."
"An eye test can be life-saving as well as sight-saving in some cases."
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