A man from England thought that he was battling long COVID, but it turned out he actually had a brain tumor — which had been growing for 10 years.
Grant Churnin-Ritchie, 42, thought that his tiredness was due to the aftermath of coming down with the illness in July 2021.
“I kept going to my GP, who said I had long COVID,” Churnin-Ritchie explained to South West News Service. “This went on for several months, but I really didn’t feel well in myself and felt it was something more serious.”
“I was so tired and I was experiencing a tingling sensation in my arms.”
He felt like it wasn’t long COVID – and instead was something much more serious.
The dad of three finally got some blood work done and an ECG test, which revealed that his heartbeat was abnormal, according to SWNS.
Doctors also told him that he had something called adrenal insufficiency, which meant that his adrenal gland doesn’t make enough of certain hormones, and he was additionally diagnosed with hypothyroidism, an under-active thyroid gland.
Both of those are symptoms of a pituitary tumor, and an endocrinologist at St James’ University Hospital said it could be that or COVID, according to SWNS.
“An MRI scan confirmed it was a brain tumor, which had probably been growing for 10 years,” Churnin-Ritchie said.
A pituitary tumor starts from one pituitary gland, which lies in the base of the brain and is meant to balance the hormones that help carry out normal bodily functions, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
However, most pituitary tumors are non-cancerous and don’t spread to other parts of the body, according to the American Cancer Society.
In January, Churnin-Ritchie’s tumor was finally removed with recovery on the way.
“Soon after, I started to feel a lot better,” he told SWNS. “Removing the tumor allowed some of the adrenal gland to start functioning again.
“Even though I now have to take medication, I can lead a normal life.”
And, earlier this month, he ran the Leeds Half Marathon for Brain Tumor Research with his wife, Hannah, 40.
He was only able to train for two months but raised around $3,000 in the process for the organization, which works to find a cure for brain tumors.
Churnin-Ritchie said that he was able to get through the race with support from friends and family.
“I wanted to give something back, and this was my way of saying thank you to the medical teams and Brain Tumour Research for what they do for people with this disease,” Churnin-Ritchie said.
He said that there is a 20% chance that his pituitary tumor may grow back, but he won’t know more until July, when he is due for another MRI scan.
“We’re really grateful to Grant for taking on the Leeds Half Marathon as it’s only with the support of people like him that we’re able to progress our research into brain tumors and improve the outcome for patients like him who are forced to fight this awful disease,” said Matthew Price, who is the community development manager at Brain Tumor Research.
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