A woman has learned to speak Mandarin after tests ahead of brain tumour surgery revealed she had an undiscovered talent for languages.

Mum Nicola Clark, 45, was wrongly diagnosed with epilepsy in 2010 after she started suffering absence seizures.

After medication for epilepsy failed to work and her seizures becoming more frequent she sought a second opinion.

She was finally diagnosed with a ganglioglioma brain tumour in 2017.

Nicola underwent brain surgery, called a craniotomy, in April 2018 and has not suffered a seizure since - but has developed a passion for languages.


During a series of tests prior to her surgery doctors discovered Nicola had 'great linguistic skills'.

The mum-of-one decided to put it to good use and has since learnt to speak Mandarin.

Now fighting fit, Nicola, said: "As a result of the neurological tests carried out on me ahead of surgery, I was told that I had great linguistic skills.

''I joked with the team about learning Chinese.

''After pulling through my surgery, I felt so good that that’s exactly what I did.

"In the year following brain surgery, I got a Mandarin qualification and hope it proves to my daughter that anything is possible if you put your mind to it."

She added: ''Over the course of seven years, I went from having an episode every couple of months to several a week.

READ MORE>>> Mum who suffered blackouts found to have brain tumour the size of a golf ball

"Living my life was like walking a tightrope, never knowing if and where I’d fall from one day to the next. It made me painfully aware of quickly life can change, in an instant and without warning.''

Nicola, from Maldon, had been working in IT in a busy London law firm when she began to suffer seizures but has changed careers following her diagnosis.

She now works as a disability business mentor in order to advocate for people with invisible disabilities.

She said: "When you’re faced with your own mortality every day, it gives you a different perspective on life and, in my case, it’s made me want and be able to help others through their journeys.

"With that in mind, I’ve left my job in IT and now work as a disability business mentor, helping companies learn about people with invisible disabilities.”