Tauranga woman believes cyst is cause of her pain but docs disagree

Rhozie Edmonds greeted New Year's Day 2012 with one heck of a hangover. It's still present more than a year later.

"I woke up and I had terrible ringing in my ears, terrible ear ache, funny vision, nausea and swelling of the head." But three drinks the night before weren't to blame, and Edmonds, 26, has battled for an answer.

An initial doctor's check-up suggested her wisdom teeth were playing up. She had them removed but the pain only increased.

"My life has fallen apart. It's got worse and worse," she said.


In the following months she made many trips to A&E and had trouble being taken seriously. "I was treated as a drug seeker, a hypochondriac, and told I needed to see a psychologist."

Tired of being rebuffed and of the constant pain, the Tauranga mum-of-two paid to see specialists. All up, those appointments, scans and alternative therapies have cost about $10,000.

A scan in March revealed a 12mm mass called a "pineal cyst" in her brain. But she was shocked when Tauranga doctors said the cyst was "incidental" and did not relate to her agony. Pineal cysts are common and usually harmless.

"It's really scary, it just feels like being in a black hole because of the pain and because I know that nobody in New Zealand is going to take me seriously," she said.

Some days she would wake up feeling fine. Other days she would be bedridden, unable to look after her children, Madison, 6, and Mack, 2. She is no longer in a relationship with her children's father.

"The last neurosurgeon told me that because I have good days and it's not growing into optic nerves, they're not willing to operate."

Sydney-based neurosurgeon Charlie Teo has reviewed Edmonds' scans and symptoms and said that she was a likely candidate for endoscopic surgery.

Now Edmonds is desperate to raise $5000 for an appointment with him in March, and another $90,000 if he agrees to operate.

Her GP, Dr Eddie Barnett, told the Herald on Sunday it was "not impossible" for a pineal cyst to cause her headaches.

"She's been very pro-active. It boils down to she's got firm views that this is the probable cause. She understands her body and I have no way of knowing whether that is right or not."

For Edmonds, who's had to give up studies and work, the path was clear: "My only option is to go overseas and pay to have surgery to give my life back."