A MOTHER from Evesham has opened two businesses while battling a brain tumour which she will have to live with for the ‘rest of her life’. Tracy Hampton has undergone surgery for a pituitary tumour which she now describes as ‘manageable’.

But her illness hasn’t stopped her from setting up a homemade chocolate bouquets businesses Just Sweet Treats, as well as running a memorial business, Just Memorials.

Tracy, who was born in Littleton and now lives in Evesham with her husband Steve and two daughters Stevie, 15 and Tammy, 12, had suffered joint pain, headaches, and extreme fatigue for some time before a diagnosis in 2016.

Tracy said her doctors suspected she might have MS, but after medication failed to alleviate her symptoms, a brain scan revealed the tumour. She said it was a ‘big shock’.

Tracy’s tumour was producing excessive growth hormones and caused a condition called Acromegaly, which has life changing effects, including enlargement of the hands and feet, forehead and nose. Tracy said: “In the old days they didn’t know much about treatment for Acromegaly and it’s not a condition that’s diagnosed very early so they think I had my tumour for at least 15 years or possibly 20.”

She was told the disease was rare and was sent for urgent surgery and treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, where she is now a lifelong patient. However surgery to treat the tumour in March 2017 caused complications. “Doctors attempted to remove the tumour which was resting on my optic nerve and I was at risk of losing my sight,” she said. “Following my first brain surgery, I had brain fluid leaks and had to have three surgeries in total, spending nearly one month in hospital instead of the proposed five days. “The surgeon, Dr Shaz Ahmed, and his team at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham are amazing, and with a 1 in 400 chance of dying in surgery, I feel lucky to be here and thankful for everything the NHS has done for me, from the GP to specialist, consultant and cleaner - the NHS has done me proud.”

Tracy has also undergone stereotactic radiotherapy to try and blast the remaining tumour which sits around the main carotid artery in her brain, and at present the tumour is stable.

“I had a tumour which was the size of a walnut but the residue is about the size of a grape now,” she said. “The treatment has stopped it growing but it can re-grow and at the moment I’m stable because it’s sat there quietly.”

Tracy will have to live with the condition for the rest of her life, as operating will be too dangerous, and has been left with lifelong health conditions, two of which can be life threatening.

She added: “My family and friends have been amazing and are so supportive. Especially my husband, daughters, mum and dad. I wouldn’t cope without them. Before I was diagnosed, I was a business improvement expert and manager for the Department for Work and Pensions. And I started Just Sweet Treats at the end of last year just to help get a bit more income for Christmas and it’s really taken off and been amazing. I started Just Memorials in February this year, selling memorials, head stones, urns, candles everything to do with memorials really.”

Tracy didn’t receive furlough or grant support from the government and started her businesses with the help of her family and friends. She added: “The only thing I have been able to put in is blood, sweat and tears, but hopefully it will be worth it.”

She’s now set up at Unit 15, St Richards Road, Evesham and is inviting people to visit on Saturday May 1, between 1pm and 3pm.

“I have some freebies to give out but they won’t last long!” she said.