Queensland nurse Tori Dent opens up about learning to walk and talk again after brain lesion

Young nurse, 27, who had to learn how to walk and talk again after a lesion was found on her brain leaving her partially paralysed reveals why her biggest goal is to smile again

  • A young nurse has defied miraculous odds after a lesion was found on her brain
  • Tori Dent, from Queensland, was 25-years-old when she started feeling dizzy
  • She was told by doctors she wouldn’t be able to walk or talk again
  • Ms Dent underwent surgery and spent 14 months recovering in hospital
  • Almost three years later Ms Dent is now able to rock-climb and attend parties
  • The former nurse’s next goal is to train her facial muscles to allow her to smile 

A young nurse has defied incredible odds after doctors told her a lesion found on her brain nearly three years ago would strip her of her ability to walk, talk and smile.

Tori Dent, from Queensland, was just 25-years-old when she started experiencing dizzy spells after holidaying on a cruise with friends in March 2020.

Initially chalking the spells up to vertigo, Ms Dent started to worry when her balance continued to deteriorate to the point she couldn’t walk without help. 

She took herself to Logan Hospital in Brisbane‘s south, where she worked, for a Covid test, only for it to come back negative.

Ms Dent then received a brain scan which revealed she had been battling a brain tumour lesion – an area of damaged tissue which can be cancerous or benign, but dangerous pending on their size and location.

A young woman from Queensland, Tori Dent (pictured), has defied incredible odds after doctors said a brain lesion would leave her unable to walk, talk or smile ever again

A young woman from Queensland, Tori Dent (pictured), has defied incredible odds after doctors said a brain lesion would leave her unable to walk, talk or smile ever again

Even though doctors initially believed the lesion was inoperable, Ms Dent remained unfazed by the diagnosis.

‘My little sister came into the room crying, and I was like ”I’m fine, stop crying”,’ she told A Current Affair.

As the lesion rapidly grew, doctors decided to gamble on a surgery which saw 80 per cent of the growth removed.

However, more bad news was yet to come.

‘Within a month after surgery, it grew to 5.2 centimetres,’ Ms Dent said.

The regrowth left Ms Dent unable to walk, talk or swallow, and placed in the ICU for months until her condition stabilised.

Ms Dent was just 25-years-old when she first experienced dizzy spells after holidaying on a cruise with friends in March 2020, initially chalking it up as sea legs or Covid

Ms Dent was just 25-years-old when she first experienced dizzy spells after holidaying on a cruise with friends in March 2020, initially chalking it up as sea legs or Covid

She then had to relearn how to complete basic tasks like walking and talking, and after 14 months of rehabilitation she was back on her feet and able to return home.

But for Ms Dent her biggest goal is trying to smile.

‘It’s your identity and I feel as though I’ve partially lost mine,’ she said. 

Her brain injury has left her with facial palsy on her left side meaning the muscles are much weaker, while her left vocal cord no longer works.

Despite spending months in a hospital bed, the young nurse’s positivity never faltered. 

‘The fact that she kept her personality through the whole experience, and she was still Tori. That was the reassurance that kept everyone going, even herself,’ her friend Casey Rose told the program.

An MRI showed Ms Dent had an abnormal growth on her brain

An MRI showed Ms Dent had an abnormal growth on her brain  

After an initially successful surgery, the lesion rapidly grew back and left her in the ICU unable to walk, talk or swallow (pictured)

After an initially successful surgery, the lesion rapidly grew back and left her in the ICU unable to walk, talk or swallow (pictured)

Nearly three years after the initial diagnosis, Ms Dent is still receiving daily strength training and rehab.

She also tapes her face to help train the muscles to stay in place.

Incredibly, her lesion has shrunk to a point where it is now smaller then when it was first discovered.

‘I wasn’t meant to recover, but because I have the way I have, he [the doctor] expects it to continue,’ she said.

‘I love hearing that.

‘I’m getting better. I don’t really care what anybody else says, I know I’m getting better.’

Ms Dent has become an inspiration for many as she fearlessly documents her progress on social media.

She has since attended weddings, parties and even shown off her progress by riding a mechanical bull.

‘I’m stoked. It makes me think that maybe, just maybe, I can get close to what I was before,’ she said.

Ms Dent was able to leave hospital after 14 months of rehabilitation, and almost three years of daily training has given her the strength to attend weddings and parties (pictured)

Ms Dent was able to leave hospital after 14 months of rehabilitation, and almost three years of daily training has given her the strength to attend weddings and parties (pictured)

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