Orlando: Indian tennis star Leander Paes said he is relieved that he is not suffering from a brain tumour.
Paes, 30, has been hospitalised since last week. Test results released over the weekend found that he has neurocysticercosis, a parasitic infection that causes a brain abscess.
“It’s just a matter of time till I overcome this illness,” Paes said on Monday at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center here he where went for treatment. “There are times in the day when I get dizzy... And feel very lightheaded. I have to have 24-hour monitoring.”
A brain abscess is a mass of immune cells, pus and other material that can occur when the brain is infected by bacteria or fungus. Paes is taking albendazole, an anti-parasitic medication, to shrink the abscess, steroids to reduce the swelling and an anti-seizure medication. He could be released from the hospital in anywhere from eight to 20 days and could return to playing professional tennis in three to fourth months.
Paes said he still isn’t sure how he got the parasite, which usually comes from eating pork. He doesn’t eat pork, so more likely suspects are raw leafy vegetables and raw fish since he became an avid sushi-eater last year.
He first noticed symptoms, such as dizziness, during the mixed-doubles quarter final at Wimbledon when he was playing with Martina Navratilova. “I actually came up to hit a smash and when I landed on the ground, something must have shaken inside my brain because I lost all sight. I lost all control of my balance and I was falling down,” he said. “I caught Martina and I tried to hold her for stability... That was the first time that had occurred.”
Navratilova has called him almost every other day and promised to wait for him to get healthy before playing competitive mixed doubles. “She had some wonderful advice for me on looking at the bigger picture in life.”
He had severe headaches last week and was given brain scans after being hospitalised. Doctors initially concluded he had a brain tumour. But they changed their opinion after taking biopsies and blood tests, which also were evaluated at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and by physicians in Mumbai. (AP)