Randy Schmitz, 30 year old, native of Illinois, fell on the ground in a seizure after tasting a hot sauce prepared with carolina reaper, scorpion and habanero peppers. During treatment, an MRI scan of his brain showed a cancerous tumor in its early stages.
"If I didn't try that, I think something eventually would have triggered the seizure and I would've found out, but that cancer tumor would've grown in my head," Schmitz told the Chicago Tribune.
He underwent brain surgery a couple of days later. Doctors at Northwestern Memorial Hospital removed a two-and-a-half-inch by one-and-a-half-inch malignant tumor from Schmitz's frontal lobe.
Jeffrey Raizer, medical director of neuro-oncology at Northwestern Medical Hospital, said that though it can't be proven that the hot sauce triggered the seizure, the tasting conditions, including dehydration and stress, match those known to lead to seizures.
Raizer added that the seizure allowed Schmitz to be treated with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy before the tumor got worse. Schmitz has a month of chemotherapy treatment and is thankful that he tasted the sauce. "They don't know exactly how long it was in there, so it would have just kept growing and might have gotten to the point where they couldn't remove it," he said. "My life would have been over."