Woman in intensive care after becoming ill on holiday with boyfriend and undergoing brain surgery

Millie Jackson and her boyfriend Cameron West were enjoying a holiday in Malaga when she fell ill (Image: Suzy Jackson)
-Credit: (Image: (Image: Suzy Jackson))

A young woman was rushed to hospital for brain surgery as she enjoyed a holiday to Spain with her boyfriend.

Millie Jackson faces months in hospital after jetting off to Malaga with her boyfriend Cameron West at the beginning of June.

Millie who was 19 when she started the holiday, but has since turned 20, was due to undergo surgery to remove a tumour from her brain in July - but first, was keen to enjoy a break away with her boyfriend, Cameron after being told she was fit to fly, reports WalesOnline.

The nursery worker from Ystrad Rhondda lives with a rare genetic condition called von Hippel-Lindau disease which causes benign cysts and tumours to grow in parts of the body.

The condition which runs in her family - with Millie's mum and uncle also living with the condition - is an inherited disorder characterized by the formation of tumours and fluid-filled sacs (cysts) in many different parts of the body.

Millie was diagnosed with the condition at the age of six and as a result, has routine MRIs and doctors in Wales were keen to remove one tumour from her brain this summer as it had grown in size.

Millie became extremely unwell on June 13 and was rushed to hospital.

Describing what happened Millie's mum, Suzy Jackson, 42, said: "They've done her scans and they said she's not safe to fly because she was dizzy, being sick, she couldn't walk. She was really, really ill with it. So they've done the emergency brain surgery to remove the tumour on the cerebellum."

The cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls motor movement and balance control.

Suzy, who is originally from Newcastle but has lived in the Rhondda for the last 12 years, continued: "She woke up all right. The tumour was removed. Everything was all right the Monday afternoon [when she had the surgery]. On the Tuesday, when her partner had gone to the hospital, he was told she was in critical care, took a turn for the worse, she had swelling on the brain and a build-up of fluid."

Doctors in Spain updated Suzy on her daughter's condition but as Suzy suffers from the same syndrome, she was also scheduled to have a tumour removed from the same part of her brain with that operation due to take place on Thursday, June 27.

Despite her upcoming surgery, Suzy had no other choice but to fly out to Spain and be with her daughter, who has been under sedation for the most part since and is on a high dose of antibiotics to fight an infection that she has developed.

Millie is due to have a second surgery in a bid to drain the fluid build-up on her brain when she finishes this course of antibiotics. The 20-year-old's breathing is currently being supported by a tube.

Doctors were also able to perform a tracheostomy (an opening in the neck where air can flow directly into the windpipe) which should allow Millie more awake time through her recovery. Suzy was able to see Millie awake before she flew home on Tuesday though Millie's throat was too swollen to be able to speak.

Suzy said: "When I got there they had managed to wake her up. She can't talk because of the swelling in her mouth but she was mouthing things. She was trying to speak sign language because she works in a school and she knows sign language but we don't speak sign. So I could see the frustration on her face. But she could mouth 'I love you' and that she was in a lot of pain."

Millie is currently in an intensive care ward in Spain, with her mum returning to the UK to undergo her own operation but hopes to get back out to her daughter as soon as possible.

In the meantime Millie's boyfriend Cameron plans to stay in Spain to be close to Millie. Her loved ones are grateful her medical care is being covered by the UK Global Health Insurance Card, but have set up a fundraiser to support the costs for Cameron to stay by her side until she is able to fly home.

Any extra money will also cover the cost of getting Millie home and any support she may need afterwards. You can make a donation here. Millie's friends have also set up a Facebook page to raffle prizes to raise funds.

Suzy explained it has been difficult understanding Millie's situation due to the language barrier but said the care Millie has received has been exceptional. Suzy plans to speak to Millie's doctor in Cardiff ahead of her own surgery this week and is hopeful they will be able to contact Millie's doctors in Spain for an update on her situation.

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