Note: This article contains graphic content.
When Jessica Buck was 18 years old, she thought she might have been pregnant. Her reasoning, however, didn’t have anything to do with sex.
The Oxfordshire, England, native began to lactate. She told the Daily Mail:
“There was white, milky fluid coming from my breasts. I thought that was something that only happened to pregnant women.”
At the time, she had no idea what was going on, but there was a significant amount of fluid coming from her breasts:
“I had to put tissue in my bra. I was working part time as a retail assistant and kept going to the bathroom, realizing that my bra was damp.”
Being only 18, Buck said she didn’t initially tell her parents. However, it wasn’t long before she didn’t really have a choice:
“I started to put cotton wool pads or tissues inside my bra, which was embarrassing, as I was constantly trying to hide it. I spoke to my mum and asked, ‘Is this normal?’ She sent me straight to the doctor. I didn’t know what to think.”
She underwent several blood tests. However, the results weren’t giving doctors any conclusive answers.
She then received an MRI and was soon given terrifying news.
Buck was not pregnant; the reason she was lactating was because she had a brain tumor.
It developed in the part of her brain that controls multiple hormone glands, including the pituitary gland— otherwise known as the “master gland.”
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I'm super proud to announce that I have become ambassador for @pituitaryfoundation , the charity who have supported me since my #prolactinoma diagnosis six years ago. My story has been shared by @dailymirror and @dailymail this afternoon and I'm trying to raise as much awareness for the charity and the condition as I physically can! I had no control over the headline so I apologise for the click bait! Please read ? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4791444/Teen-breasts-leaking-milk-BRAIN-TUMOUR.html #charitytuesday #pituitary
Buck opened up about the moment she heard the news, saying she was utterly shocked:
“When I heard the words brain and tumor in the same sentence, I barely listened to anything else. I was thinking about something much more sinister, so I did get quite upset.”
Thankfully, however, the pea-sized tumor was not cancerous.
But rather than undergoing surgery to remove it, Buck opted to begin taking medication that would control her symptoms and keep the tumor’s size under control.
Now a 24-year-old woman, she’s no longer dealing with lactation, but she does still suffer from periodic nausea and headaches.
However, she told the Daily Mail she’s now beginning to question whether she should stay on the medication — which is known to affect women’s fertility — or not:
“A few months after the diagnosis, I was told that [medication] can cause fertility problems. I was so young when I was diagnosed that babies weren’t really on my radar, but I have always wanted to be a mum. It is something that is so important to me.
I was told that we would cross that bridge when we came to it. [But] I have looked online and lots of people have said that they have the condition and have gone on to have kids, which is great.”
But before Buck begins to seriously consider childbirth, she’s been focusing on living life to the fullest:
“I quit my job last summer and I haven’t looked back. I went to the US for a month by myself and did all sorts of high energy stuff like white water rafting in Colorado, flying in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon and speed boating in Miami.”
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So this morning while everyone was tucked up in their beds I woke up at 3.30am, took 3 ski lifts to a height of 3300 meters, and attempted to watch the sun rise from the top of one of the highest mountains in #Switzerland! Sadly the sky was too cloudy to see the sun come up, but what an amazing experience to be surrounded by so much snow! Whilst I was halfway up I began feeling really poorly and started suffering from one of my #pituitary related headaches, but this one was so bad I could barely open my eyes. After we started our descent and had breakfast in an igloo at 2900m I started to cry. I cried because I was in so much pain and I didn't know what to do to make it stop. And then I realised that I could either let it get me down and ruin my Swiss experience, or I could wrap up warm, push past the pain and try to make the most of every second of my journey. With the help of my wonderful new blogger friends I chose the latter option. Sometimes being poorly is unavoidable, but today I made the best out of a bad situation and still managed to have an incredible bucket list experience. Travelling forever leaves me speechless, and it'll always teach me to enjoy each moment, live each day and remember every second. ? #InLoveWithNendaz
Although she’s focused on enjoying life, she did tell the Daily Mail she’s had a few days when she “didn’t feel great.”
For now, Buck is attempting to visit 25 countries before her 25th birthday in January and, thanks to her medical team and supportive family, she’ll have the chance to try.