A routine sight test led to an emergency operation that saved a young Chippenham woman’s life.
Amber Carter went to the opticians thinking she might need glasses and did not return home again for two weeks.
The 23-year-old had no idea she had a brain tumour but within 24 hours she had had part of her brain removed.
She said: “I started having really bad headaches and sickness and began to have a weaker arm on my right side.”
She went to Haine & Smith opticians in Emery Gate, Chippenham, in October after her GP suggested she might need glasses. She had been suffering since July.
“In the end I was in so much pain and feeling really tired all the time, I booked an eye test for the next day,” she said.
The sight test showed that her optic nerves were swollen and she was given an emergency referral. She went at once to the RUH Bath hospital for CAT and MRI scans.
When the results came through an ambulance took her to Frenchay Hospital for a critical nine-hour operation. “It happened so fast,” said Miss Carter, who lives in Yewstock Crescent and works as assistant manager for The Perfume Shop in Bath.
“I was petrified when they said I had a brain tumour. When the surgeon brought my scan picture up it was under his arm but I could see it and it was huge. I thought that was it for me then.”
Miss Carter used to go to Abbeyfield School and studied performing arts at Chippenham College.
She said: “They actually shaved part of my brain away because the tumour had got so big. They said it was slow growing, I could have had it for a while.”
She said she does not know if she would still be alive if optician Anna Lewin had not acted so quickly.
When Miss Carter woke up from the operation she had no feeling on her right side. She is now having physiotherapy three times a week and still cannot walk very far, but her movement is improving.
She said: “They don’t know if I’ll get all the sensation back, but I’d rather have this weakness and know they got it all out.”