I discovered I had a brain tumour after hearing imaginary music

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A Merseyside woman was diagnosed with a brain tumour after hearing music that wasn't playing.

Emma Bond, 33, from Newton-le-Willows, was diagnosed with a grade 2 glioma in June 2019 and forced to postpone her wedding due to needing surgery a week before the big day. She then underwent six weeks of radiotherapy and a year of chemotherapy which ended in March 2021.

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Emma’s husband, Edd Blake, 34, and her brother, Jack Bond, 28, from Warrington, are now preparing to run the TCS London Marathon on Sunday, April 21 in aid of the charity Brain Tumour Research to find a cure for the disease. 

Emma, who works at Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, said: “I was working at North Manchester General Hospital in June 2019 and I just started hearing music in my head. When people spoke, it was like they were singing lyrics to me. The same thing happened when I was with my mum later that day; I could see she was talking to me, but in my mind I could hear music, and I couldn’t understand what she was saying. When I found out it was because I had a brain tumour, I was terrified. I just wanted to know how it would affect me physically and mentally.”

Emma went to A&E at Warrington Hospital and, after a series of tests, she was told she was “a bit stressed”. “But I wasn’t stressed, and the strange music and singing happened again and again,” she said.

“A scan at St Helens Hospital showed there was something on my brain. Then, on 9 August which is my brother’s birthday, and one week before mine and Edd’s wedding, I underwent surgery at The Walton Centre. Having to postpone the wedding was just another thing added to a list of unfortunate things and it made me very sad. Many of the wedding guests still came to visit me though, which was so lovely," she said.

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Emma's brain surgery scar.Emma's brain surgery scar.
Emma's brain surgery scar. | Emma Bond

Surgeons managed to remove 95% of the tumour and Emma then underwent radiotherapy and chemotherapy at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre on The Wirral. She now takes anti-seizure medication which has stopped her from hearing music in her head, thought to be caused by focal sensory auditory seizures.

Emma and Edd re-arranged their wedding and tied the knot in July 2021. Emma now has MRI scans every six months; her most recent scan in February was stable.

Carol Robertson, national events manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “With one in three people knowing someone affected by a brain tumour, Emma’s story is, sadly, not unique. Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease since records began in 2002.

Emma in hospital after her operation.Emma in hospital after her operation.
Emma in hospital after her operation. | Emma Bond

“We’re determined to change that but it’s only by working together we will be able to improve treatment options for patients and, ultimately, a cure. We’re really grateful for Edd and Jack’s support and will be there to cheer them across the finish line in April.”


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