Girl has an ovarian tumour with TEETH that made her ‘possessed’
Girl has an ovarian tumour with TEETH and hair that made her ‘possessed’
Teen spent her 18th birthday in intensive care after ovarian tumour containing BRAIN CELLS caused her to completely change personality, scream hysterically and act like she was ‘possessed’
- Elaine Sage assumed her daughter Aimee had an infection when she had a fever
- But she was soon telling her terrified family she needed to plan her own funeral
- Doctors discovered a tangerine-sized tumour on her ovary, called a teratoma
- The ‘hairy sea shell’-like growth was found to contain teeth, hair and brain cells
- And the growth had tricked Miss Sage’s immune system into attacking her brain
A teenager spent her 18th birthday in intensive care after an ovarian tumour with teeth, hair and brain made her act like she was ‘possessed’.
Elaine Sage, from Ashford, Kent, assumed her daughter Aimee had a viral infection when her temperature rocketed.
But the teenager was soon left hysterically screaming and telling her terrified family she desperately needed to plan her own funeral.
Doctors discovered a tangerine-sized tumour on her ovary – a rare form called an ovarian teratoma, which contained teeth, hair and brain cells.
And they claimed the bizarre growth had tricked her immune system into attacking her brain, completely changing her personality.
Writing in the diary she kept throughout her daughter’s ordeal, Mrs Sage described the growth as looking like a ‘hairy sea shell’.
Drawing a sketch because she was not allowed to take a photo, she illustrated black hair poking out at the top, with teeth beneath the surface.
Elaine Sage, from Ashford, Kent, assumed her daughter Aimee had a viral infection when her temperature rocketed (pictured together before Miss Sage’s ordeal)
Speaking about her daughter’s terrifying ordeal for the first time, Mrs Sage said: ‘It was like having a different daughter.
‘She would be writing in thin air with her finger in a daze one moment, then hysterically screaming and jumping on the bed the next.
‘It was like a scene out of the horror film The Exorcist, it was like she was possessed.
‘She even tried to escape from hospital because she was sure she was being threatened and didn’t feel safe.
‘It broke me as she is the most kind and gentle girl, but to see her like that, in that state, was just so awful for all of us.’
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Struck down with a sore throat
Miss Sage, a childcare student, first started suffering a sore throat on May 27.
By the next morning, she had a 39°C temperature, had started being sick and her blood pressure was through the roof.
Thinking it was a viral infection, Mrs Sage, a Tesco online shopper, nursed her daughter in bed and hoped she would soon recover.
But in the afternoon her behaviour began to change for the worse.
Mrs Sage said: ‘She kept telling me she didn’t understand, when I was trying to tell her simple things like where she might start looking for a new job when she felt better.
But the teenager was soon left hysterically screaming and telling her terrified family she desperately needed to plan her own funeral (pictured in hospital)
Doctors discovered a tangerine-sized tumour on her ovary – a rare form called an ovarian teratoma, which contained teeth, hair and brain cells (pictured, her sister Demi brushing her hair while she was in an induced coma)
‘At first I thought she was just being grumpy, a typical teenager, disinterested in what her mum was saying.’
But that evening, Miss Sage, who has two younger siblings – student Demi, 20, and Harrison, eight, became erratic and angry.
Mrs Sage, married to Lee, said recalled: ‘She was pacing around her bedroom with a hairbrush in her hand asking, “Where’s Dad?”
‘Then she said she didn’t feel right and that she should be planning her funeral. I was terrified. I tried to calm her down but nothing seemed to work.
‘I called Lee who was on a late shift at work. He asked a family friend to come over and when they did they were also so shocked at how frantic Aimee was.
‘That’s when I realised I needed to call an ambulance.’
Walking around her bedroom, Miss Sage started packing a bag full of random items like her football trophies.
Rushed to hospital
When the ambulance arrived, paramedics said she was having a psychiatric episode and took her to Kent’s William Harvey Hospital.
Mrs Sage said: ‘She was shouting and screaming but moments later said, “I’m fine… I feel fresh”. As her mum, I knew she wasn’t right.’
Writing in the diary she kept throughout her daughter’s ordeal, Mrs Sage described the growth as looking like a ‘hairy sea shell’ (pictured with her mother, father Lee and eight-year-old brother Harrison)
After 10 days in hospital, medics said they had found a tumour on her right ovary, which might provide the answers for her drastic behaviour change
After three days of tests and monitoring, Miss Sage was transferred to the neurology department of Kent and Canterbury Hospital in Canterbury.
Meanwhile, doctors carried out blood tests and full body scans to try and get to the bottom of her symptoms.
Finding the tumour
Then, after 10 days, medics said they had found a tumour on her right ovary, which may provide the answers for her drastic behaviour change.
They diagnosed it as an ovarian teratoma, and tests showed it contained teeth, hair and even brain cells.
The rare tumours develop from germ cells, which create human eggs and can form hair, teeth and bone.
Attacking her brain
Doctors claimed the tumour was producing an antibody to the NMDA receptor, which helps control a person’s thoughts, moods and movements.
Tests showed Miss Sage had the antibody in her blood and her strange behaviour was being caused by the resultant condition, anti-NMDAR encephalitis.
Effectively, her immune system was attacking her brain.
Writing in the diary she kept throughout her daughter’s ordeal, Mrs Sage described the growth as looking like a ‘hairy sea shell’ (the entry for Miss Sage’s 18th birthday)
Drawing a sketch because she was not allowed to take a photo, she illustrated black hair poking out at the top, with teeth beneath the surface
The illness causes psychiatric symptoms such as seizures, confusion and memory loss as well as bizarre and often disturbing behaviours such as seeing things which aren’t there, developing strange beliefs or appearing agitated.
Because of the severity of her behaviour, Miss Sage was put into an induced coma on June 15.
Removing the tumour
Four days later, she had the tumour in her right ovary and fallopian tubes removed in a three-hour operation at The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, where she had been transferred for the surgery.
Unconscious for 12 days in total, Miss Sage’s terrified family kept a vigil at her bedside.
Then on June 27 – the day before her big birthday – Miss Sage was brought out of her coma, still confused and disturbed.
And on June 28, when most teenagers would be having their first legal alcoholic drink, she was in no state to celebrate turning 18.
Instead, she was drowsy and barely aware of where she was.
After her birthday though, Miss Sage slowly made a recovery and nine weeks after first falling ill, on July 26 she was discharged from hospital. Since then, she’s had to learn to walk again and still can’t remember her ordeal – but she is determined to get back to her old self again (pictured before her ordeal, left and right)
Mrs Sage said: ‘The last thing Aimee remembers is going to the doctors, but everything after that is vague’ (Miss Sage is pictured with her brother Harrison after coming out of hospital)
WHAT ARE OVARIAN TERATOMAS, AND CAN THEY CONTAIN TEETH, HAIR AND BRAIN?
Ovarian teratomas come from germ cells, which form human eggs and can create hair, teeth and bone, among other structures.
They are believed to be present at birth, but are often not discovered until later in life.
They are a rare form of germ cell tumour and are usually diagnosed in girls and young women up to their early 20s.
They are either classed as immature because the cancer cells are at a very early stage of development, or mature (also known as a dermoid cyst) because the growth is benign.
Most immature teratomas of the ovary are cured, even if they are diagnosed at an advanced stage.
After having a tracheostomy, where an opening is created at the front of the neck so a tube can be inserted into the windpipe, Miss Sage was wired to a ventilator and several drips.
Mrs Sage said: ‘She doesn’t remember any of it.
‘Most 18-year-olds can’t recall their 18th because they drank too much, but she won’t remember it because she was so seriously ill.
‘I was sat there crying, thinking she was brain-dead.
‘But I still wanted her to have a special day. So we got balloons and presents to make it feel like a proper party. I felt like everything was being ripped away from her.’
Discharged from hospital
After her birthday though, Miss Sage slowly made a recovery and nine weeks after first falling ill, on July 26 she was discharged from hospital.
Since then, she’s had to learn to walk again and still can’t remember her ordeal – but she is determined to get back to her old self again.
Mrs Sage said: ‘The last thing Aimee remembers is going to the doctors, but everything after that is very vague.
‘Now she wants to be like every other 18-year-old again. She was a really good football player, so is keen to be get back on the pitch again.
‘I felt like we’d lost our daughter and I couldn’t be prouder of the recovery she has made.’
Mrs Sage said: ‘Now she wants to be like every other 18-year-old again. She was a really good football player, so is keen to be get back on the pitch again’ (pictured with father Lee)
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