Woman woke up thinking she was 28 years younger after doctors missed brain tumour

Glenn Lilley, a grandmother from Plymouth in Devon, woke up one day believing she was 41 years old, when in reality, she was 69.

The shocking revelation came after Glenn was diagnosed with a meningioma, a life-limiting condition.

Glenn’s journey began in 2017 when she started experiencing tinnitus and vertigo. Concerned about her symptoms, she underwent a scan, but an ear, nose, and throat specialist assured her there was no cause for alarm.

However, she later collapsed at home and temporarily lost her memory. An MRI scan finally revealed the presence of a large mass on her brain.

Doctors then warned Glenn that without surgery, she would have only months to live. Describing the experience, Glenn said: “I thought I was 41, not 69, which was my actual age at the time.

“I’d lost years of my life and thought my boys, who were grown adults, were still teenagers.”

Another shock came when a specialist told her the mass could be seen from the 2017 scan, meaning the ENT specialist at the time had missed it. The tumour had grown significantly since that scan.

Despite the news, Glenn adopted a resilient attitude. She said: “I’m very much a get on with it type of person, perhaps that’s my Yorkshire roots coming through.

“Rather than harbouring any thoughts of anger towards the ENT specialist I was determined to fight this disease. I hold no blame for the fact the tumour was missed.

“The way I see things is: a gynaecologist wouldn’t be looking at your feet, so I understand how the tumour could have been missed on the scan looked at by the ENT doctor.”

Glenn has since faced delays to her surgery due to high COVID-19 cases. She was administered steroids to alleviate the pressure on her brain during this time.

However, this led her to gain three stone in weight within six weeks. Finally, in September, she underwent an 11-hour operation and she is currently being monitored through regular scans.

Glenn said: “I live with impairments to my vision and I‘m deaf in one ear. I have headaches but all of this is manageable in the grand scheme of things.

“Although I was told it was low-grade, there is every chance it will come back and if it does then I will likely need radiotherapy as further surgery could leave me with life-changing injuries.

“I am pleased with the way things played out for me. In 2017, the tumour wasn’t immediately life-threatening, and I wouldn’t have wanted to spend the past four years knowing about it and being seen as poorly.”

Glenn’s inspiring story has motivated her daughter-in-law, Stacey, to participate in the Brain Tumour Research charity’s Cycle 274 Miles in August challenge. Glenn herself has become an advocate for the charity, campaigning alongside them to gather 100,000 signatures on their petition for increased research funding. The hope is this will prompt a parliamentary debate on the matter.

Mel Tiley, the community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, expressed gratitude for Glenn’s support and emphasised the urgent need for increased funding. Tiley said: “We are grateful to Glenn for supporting our petition and helping to raise awareness.

“For too long governments have put brain tumours on the ‘too difficult to think about’ pile. Five years after the Government announced £40 million for brain cancer research, less than £11 million has been spent.

“Patients and families continue to be let down by a funding system that is built in silos and not fit for purpose.”

To sign and share the petition before it closes at the end of October 2023, go to

This article was crafted with the help of AI tools, which speed up ’s editorial research. A news editor reviewed this content before it was published. You can report any errors to


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.