A father who suffered from headaches for seven years found he had a brain tumor at a routine eye appointment.
Matt Voice, 40, of Lancing, struggled with dizziness and became increasingly concerned when he began suffering from headaches and blurred vision.
He collapsed in a driveway in April 2020 and was taken to Worthing’s emergency department, but the incident was blamed on high blood pressure.
Matt booked an appointment with a Specsavers in Worthing when he was struggling with power outages and black bullets.
After being referred to an eye clinic at Southlands Hospital in Shoreham and then the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, he was shocked to be diagnosed with astrocytoma glioma, a type of brain tumour, in May 2020.
The father-of-two said: “I didn’t realize it when they told me I had brain cancer, I wasn’t expecting it at all.”
He had a partial craniotomy to remove 70 percent of the tumor on one side of his brain, as well as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and his cancer was now under control.
Matt said: “If I hadn’t been pushing for my optometrist appointment I wouldn’t be here today. That appointment may have saved my life.
“I was driving and had to stop because my vision just got blurry and I felt nauseous. But the doctors kept saying it was my blood pressure.
“As my eyesight began to deteriorate, I urged an appointment with an optometrist. It was almost canceled due to Covid but I pushed to go.
Matt now suffers from short-term memory loss and struggles with his mobility and coordination, which has led to him closing down his mechanic business and moving back in with his 64-year-old mother, Bev Gargate, a part-time nurse.
He said: “I’ve worked as a mechanic all my life, so I was very on. Now I’m having a hard time remembering something my mother just told me.
“I need a stairlift in the house and moved back in with my mother when I was 40.”
Matt underwent chemotherapy in early 2021 but only managed three of the eight rounds he was supposed to have after becoming too ill.
He said: “I lost all my hair and I could see my kids were looking at me differently.
He said: “It was hard for my kids, Mason, 11, and Darcey, 15, to see me like this. I’m still her father, but I look different.
“I’m still their father, but I can’t do anything with them anymore.”
Matt’s cancer is under control, but the tumor is likely to grow, which means he’ll likely need further treatment.
Matt said: “It’s awful waiting for the MRI results to see if it’s grown. I just have to pray it’s not like that every time.
“I’m just glad that I went to the optician at the time – otherwise I probably wouldn’t be here because of my children.”
Denis Youngman, senior optometrist at Specsavers’ shop in Worthing, said: “Matthew visited us during the first lockdown in 2020.
“He was complaining of a series of strange symptoms that led to an emergency visit a few days earlier. A&E routinely referred him to neurology, which would have kept him waiting for weeks. However, I felt his case warranted an urgent in-store investigation.
“During the examination, I found that his vision was impaired and, more importantly, the optic nerve endings in both eyes appeared to be swollen. This was highlighted on one of two OCT machines we stock. I immediately referred him to the eye department at Southlands Hospital.
“Many of these cases turn out to be benign intracranial pressure, but Matthew called me to inform me that it was a brain tumor and urgent surgery was scheduled.
“He recently booked an appointment with me and you can imagine how pleased I was to see Matthew making a good recovery.”
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/22568326.lancing-dads-years-long-headache-actually-tumour-spotted-specsavers/?ref=rss Lancing Dad’s year-long headache was actually spotted at Specsavers