'I was told I had Long Covid – but it was a brain tumour'

A dad-of-three who put his tiredness down to Long Covid was later diagnosed with a brain tumour, which had been growing for 10 years.

Grant Churnin-Ritchie, 42, kept visiting his GP after a bout of Covid in July 2021 left him with constant tiredness and a tingling in his right arm.

For several months, he was told it was Long Covid – but Grant was convinced it was more serious.

After blood tests, an ECG and an MRI scan – it was revealed that Grant actually had a pituitary tumour in his brain.

Grant, a Microsoft specialist from Horsforth, said: ‘I kept going to my GP who said I had Long Covid.

‘This went on for several months, but I really didn’t feel well in myself and felt it was something more serious.’

Grant first noticed something was wrong when he began experiencing extreme fatigue.

He said: ‘I was so tired and I was experiencing a tingling sensation in my arms.’

After repeated trips to the GP, he was referred for more testing.

He said: ‘I had blood tests and an ECG at Seacroft Hospital in Leeds, which revealed an abnormal heartbeat.’

Grant was also told he had adrenal insufficiency – in which the adrenal gland doesn’t make enough hormones – and hypothyroidism, which is an under-active thyroid gland.

But these are also both symptoms of a pituitary tumour.

This type of tumour affects the pituitary gland – a pea-sized organ in the brain which controls growth and development.

The dad-of-three said: ‘An endocrinologist at St James’ University Hospital said it could be caused by Covid or a pituitary tumour.

‘An MRI scan confirmed it was a brain tumour which had probably been growing for 10 years.’

Grant waited 11 months for his operation before the tumour was removed on January 16, 2023.

He said: ‘Soon after, I started to feel a lot better. Removing the tumour allowed some of the adrenal gland to start functioning again.

‘Even though I now have to take medication, I can lead a normal life.

‘Even though surgeons removed the tumour, there is a 20 per cent chance of it growing back.

‘I have an MRI scan in July so I should know more then.’

Grant raised £2.5k after running Leeds Half Marathon for Brain Tumour Research in May with his wife, Hannah.

He said: ‘Being able to run the half marathon with Hannah was great, and I’m glad to be able to raise awareness of brain tumours.

‘Because I only had two months to train for the race, I found it very hard to complete. Luckily, I had my wonderful family and friends cheering me on which got me through it.

‘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.’

Matthew Price, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research said: ‘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 tumours and improve the outcome for patients like him who are forced to fight this awful disease.’

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