For months, a seven-year-old boy suffered constant headaches and medical doctors kept insisting nothing was wrong.
Emre Erulkeroglu first showed symptoms on Mother’s Day 2015 when he told his mum, Tiffani, that he had a very bad headache.
She recalled, “Within minutes he was lying in a drowsy state on the sofa but was screaming in pain every time he vomited.
“We took him to A&E where his headache disappeared due to the vomiting and we were told to go home as they thought it was just a migraine.”
The early morning headaches went on for several weeks. After an online search, Tiffani came across a HeadSmart campaign that talked about the symptoms and red flags for brain tumours in children.
She noticed her boy was displaying most of the warning signs so she returned to doctors to get answers.
Emre had a neurological examination after which doctors assured Tiffani that Emre was fine.
A few weeks later, Emre drew a picture on an Etch-A-Sketch showing a black dot on a forehead. He told Tiffani that it was “the headache that never went away.”
Tiffani returned to the hospital again demanded that something must be done. She was then put on a four-month waiting list for an MRI scan since the paediatrician didn’t consider it an urgent case.
Things got worse as they waited and Emre’s mother noticed that he would get enraged for hours over nothing. She called the MRI department every day for weeks until they were able to squeeze her in after a cancellation.
After a few more visits, they were told that Emre had a cystic tumour which was inoperable. Emre has since had a lumbar puncture, an endoscopic third ventriculostomy and has been placed on watch and wait.
“It took three months of me pleading to get a diagnosis but he’s here, stable and getting on with life.”
Now the family is showing their support for HeadSmart, a campaign run by The Brain Tumour Charity, to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of childhood brain tumours.