A woman in Houston believed she was suffering a hangover. But it turned out she was actually suffering from a brain tumor.The harrowing story of her diagnosis and recovery.
- A 23-year-old Houston nursing student woke up with a bad headache after a family birthday party, and thought “it was a hangover.”
- In the middle of the night, she had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
- The tumor required a risky surgery that led to half of her body being temporarily paralyzed.
- She has since fully recovered and is back in nursing school.
Hangovers can certainly be brutal. But what
Christina Smith thought was a nasty hangover turned out to be something much more sinister: a brain tumor.
One morning, the 23-year-old nursing student woke up with what she thought was a headache. It made sense since she’d had a few drinks at her niece’s birthday party the night before.
“I thought it was a hangover,” Smith told Fox 26, adding that the headache didn’t disappear as the day continued. Instead, the pain only got worse.
She went to bed that night assuming the pain would pass. But she ended up in the hospital according to Fox 26 in Houston.
While she slept, Smith had a seizure and her husband brought her to the emergency room at Bayshore Medical Center where they discovered a brain tumor. Dr. John Tynes, chief medical officer at Bayshore Medical Center, told Fox 26 that the tumor was, “very likely to be aggressive.” It had formed around a very delicate vein in her brain, Tynes said, and removing it would be an extremely dangerous endeavor.
“There was no way to remove that tumor without removing part of that vein, and when you take out a vein in the brain, as you can imagine, there are risks associated with that, like stroke, permanent brain damage, paralysis,” Tynes told Fox 26. “So it was a very difficult, very brave decision … that Christina made to go ahead and have the surgery.”
Smith decided to go through with the risky surgery
And after hours of surgery, her tumor was gone, but she woke up unable to move one side of her body.
“I had a little rehab in the hospital, and I was expected to have in-patient rehab, and the next thing you know, I start recovering faster than normal, so I didn’t need much rehab at all,” Smith told Fox 26.
Smith has since made a complete recovery and says she has returned to nursing school.
In her words, it was the loving support of her friends and family — all 40 of them who waited for her in the hospital throughout her surgery — that got her through.
This isn’t the first time a dangerous headache was written off as a hangover
In 2016, The Sun reported a case of Hope Stringer, a 23-year-old woman who initially thought she had a hangover, and later thought she was just working too much. After demanding an MRI, Stringer’s doctors discovered a tumor, which ended up being soft tissue sarcoma. Fortunately, she is now cancer-free.