A KILWINNING woman struck down with a brain tumour when she was 15, says she is still left with lasting effects of the devastating illness.

Zoe Little was diagnosed with Craniopharyngioma – a rare brain tumour which affects the pituitary gland which controls a person’s hormones – when she was a teen.

Now 25, Zoe recently marked 10 years since she received the devastating diagnosis but says although the tumour has been long gone, the damage will last a lifetime.

She told the Herald: “It was not a cancerous tumour but it’s done so much damage and I am left with so much to deal with for the rest of my life.

“I try to be a positive person and stay upbeat because I know there are people who go through worse and some who don’t survive, so for that I do feel lucky.”

Zoe was a fourth year pupil when she was given the news that would change her life forever.

She said: “When I was 15 I started having really bad headaches and my vision began going blurry and I started being sick.

“At first my doctor thought it was related to my acne medication, but I went to the opticians a week later and they sent me straight to A&E with a letter. They scanned me and a while later told me I had a brain tumour. They said there was so much fluid it was putting pressure on the optic nerve.”

Zoe was given emergency surgery but was devastated to learn she had been left paralysed on one side of her body.

She said: “I got sent to Southern General and was taken in for emergency surgery that night, but I became paralysed down my whole right side. That was devastating. My whole world felt like it was over. It has taken a lot of surgery and therapy to get me walking again, but my mobility still isn’t great. I can’t walk far.”

Zoe says the tumour meant she missed a lot of school and as a result, it affected her future.

She said: “My parents got me a tutor and I managed to do four Highers and got in to Glasgow University on a Primary Education Degree, which was brilliant. But unfortunately I wasn’t able to complete my probationary year because my health started to deteriorate and sadly I have not managed to go back into teaching.

“I missed out completely in my teenage years and I really struggled with all of that.

“But it has affected every part of my life. Even now, I’m on hormone replacement for life as well as steroids.

“Having said that, I know I am one of the lucky ones. I survived.”

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