Podcast: Natalie’s Acoustic Neuroma Story

In this Aunty M Brain Tumours Talk Show episode, we speak to Natalie Welch; she recounts her journey with a brain tumour, beginning with its diagnosis in 2009 and the intricate surgery that followed. Initially disguised as persistent ear infections, her condition was eventually identified as an acoustic neuroma. This non-cancerous tumour necessitated removal due to its size and location. Despite the successful surgery that left a tiny part of the tumour to avoid facial nerve damage, Welch’s story is one of resilience, navigating through the complexities of healthcare, recovery, and adaptation to life after surgery. She highlights the importance of advocating for one’s health, the advancements in medical technology, and the supportive roles of loved ones and healthcare professionals. Welch’s experience underscores the significance of Brain Tumor Awareness Month, shedding light on the diverse impacts of brain tumours and celebrating the strength in facing such challenges.




Diagnosis Journey:

  • Natalie recalls being diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma in 2009, just eight weeks before surgery. Despite successful removal, a small part was left to prevent Bell’s Palsy.
  • An unexpected ear infection in the early 2000s marked the beginning of her symptoms, leading to a hearing loss that was initially dismissed by doctors.
  • A move to London and a change in general practitioners (GPs) finally led to a correct diagnosis, shockingly revealed weeks before her wedding.

Treatment and Recovery:

  • Natalie describes the complex surgery, which involved removing the tumour through the back of her ear and using thigh fat to reconstruct the skull. Recovery was quicker than expected, aided by the exceptional care of the NHS and the support of family.
  • Despite the physical recovery, Natalie faced challenges with work, adaptation to hearing loss and the mental load of dealing with the unknown.

Living with Changes:

  • Natalie discusses the adjustments to live with hearing loss, particularly in a bustling city like London, and the dynamic with her partially sighted son, Alfie. They navigate the world with humour and understanding, embracing their unique challenges as a team.

Advice and Reflections:

  • Urges those with similar symptoms to advocate for themselves and seek second opinions if necessary, highlighting the advancements in hearing aid technology and the importance of community within the deaf and hard of hearing.

TEDx Talk and Advocacy:

  • She shares her experience giving a TEDx talk on reimagining labels, discussing how labels have positively and negatively impacted her life and how she has learned to repurpose them for her strength and identity.


  • Natalie expresses deep gratitude to her mother for her unwavering support throughout her life and health challenges and to the NHS and her surgical team for their life-saving treatment.




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