A confused mum was diagnosed with a brain tumour after she reported hearing spooky music for two years that didn’t exist.
Dawn Clark, 49, thought she was losing her mind when she kept witnessing the mystery noises, which sounded like someone had switched on a radio or television.
Stumped doctors initially thought that the mum of three had an inner ear disorder, but a later MRI scan revealed she had a brain tumour.
Ms Clark then completed two risky operations and radiotherapy to halt the tumour’s progress and said it was a relief that she could now continue with her life.
She said: “The tumour will always be in the back of my mind, but I don’t think about it so much and I can get on with my life.”
Ms Clark, from Thornton-Cleveleys, Lancashire, said she first realised someone was wrong in December, when the strange sounds began to appear in her head.
She said: “I heard music and thought it was the radio. When I went to turn it off, I saw that it had not been on in the first place.
“I could still hear it, so I asked my daughter if she was playing music, but she wasn’t. I thought I was losing my mind.
“Every three months, I would hear imaginary music or the television. These episodes went on for two years and they really frightened me.”
Ms Clark’s GP first thought the sounds may have resulted from Meniere’s disease, an inner ear condition that can cause vertigo, dizziness and hearing loss.
She was then referred to the ear, nose and throat (ENT) department at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in December 2013.
But a later MRI scan revealed a shadow on her brain.
The mum had another scan on 23 December 2013, and the following day, a specialist broke the news to her that she had a brain tumour.
Ms Clark explained: “They said it was a low-grade glioma, which was quite deep. They said they could take most, but not all, of it out.
“There was a 20 per cent chance I’d be paralysed down my left side. It was a lot to take in, but I took the risk and they removed it safely.”
Thankfully the operation was a success and in 2017, a surgeon recommended that the rest of the tumour be removed.
On 4 April of that year, Ms Clark was operated on for a second time.
But later tests showed that the remaining part of the tumour had become more deadly, meaning that she would need further treatment.
Ms Clark said: “The operation went well but the histology showed the tumour was actually an anaplastic oligodendroglioma, so my tumour had either changed, or the last bit they took was possibly always that type.”
Ms Clark subsequently underwent radiotherapy and chemotherapy, which made her very tired and sick.
She now has a check-up scan every six months, but thankfully, her most recent, in September 2021, showed there was no change to the tumour.
She said: “It felt wonderful to hear that. I’m very happy because it means I can now consider doing other things, such as going back to work.”
Ms Clark now plans to walk 10,000 steps every day in February to raise money for Brain Tumour Research.
She said: “It’s so important to me because without research into brain tumours, I might not be here.
“This is a great way to raise money to help find a cure for this devastating disease.”
Charity Brain Tumour Research launched the 10,000 step challenge last February, where it raised nearly £1m to support vital research.
Matthew Price, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research said the organisation was “grateful” to Ms Clark for fundraising efforts.
He said: “We’re really grateful to Dawn for taking on this challenge for us.
“It’s only with the support of people like her that we’re able to progress our research into brain tumours and improve the outcome for patients who are forced to fight this awful disease.”
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.
But historically, just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
The charity is calling for a national annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes.
This would bring it into line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia, and it is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.