A DAD who had suffered from headaches for seven years was diagnosed with a brain tumor during a routine eye appointment.
Matt Weiss, 40, of Lansing, started feeling dizzy and worried when he started having headaches and vision problems.
He collapsed in a driveway in April 2020 and was taken to A&E in Worthing, but the incident was put down to high blood pressure.
Matt booked an appointment at a Specsavers in Worthing after struggling with blackouts and seeing “black orbs”.
After being referred to the eye clinic at Southlands Hospital in Shoreham and then the Royal Suss*x County Hospital in Brighton, he was shocked to be diagnosed with astrocytoma glioma, a type of brain c*ncer, in May 2020.
The dad-of-two said: “It didn’t sink in when they told me I had brain c*ncer, I wasn’t expecting it at all.”
He underwent a partial craniotomy to remove 70 percent of the tumor on one side of his brain, along with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and his c*ncer is now under control.
Matt said: “If I hadn’t pushed for my optician’s appointment, I wouldn’t be here today. That appointment may have saved my life.
“I was driving and had to pull over because my vision was completely blurry and I felt sick. But the doctors kept saying it was my blood pressure.
“As my vision was deteriorating, I pushed for an ophthalmologist appointment. 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, leading him to close his business as a mechanic and move back in with his 64-year-old mother, Beau Gargett. Gaye, who is a part-time nurse.
He said: “I’ve worked as a mechanic all my life, so I’ve changed a lot. Now I’m struggling to remember anything my mum has told me.
“I have to climb the stairs at home and at 40 I’ve moved back in with my mother.”
Matt underwent chemotherapy at the start of 2021, but was only able to complete three of the eight rounds scheduled after he became very ill.
She said: “All my hair fell out, and I could see my children looking at me differently.
He said: “It was hard for my children, Mason, 11, and Darcy, 15, to see me like this. I’m still their dad but I look different.
“I am still their father but now I can’t do anything with them.”
Matt’s c*ncer is under control, but the tumor is likely to grow, meaning he will need more treatment.
Matt said: “Waiting for the MRI results to see if it has progressed. I just have to pray it doesn’t happen every time.
“I’m glad I went to the eye specialists when I did – otherwise I don’t think I’d be here for my kids.”
Denise Youngman, a director optometrist at Spec Savers Worthing store, said: “Matthew came to see us during the first lockdown in 2020.
“She complained of a number of strange symptoms, which led to her being admitted to A&E a few days ago. A&E made a routine referral to neurology, for which she would have had to wait weeks. However, I felt In that case, it needs immediate in-store testing.
“During the exam, I noticed that he had decreased vision and most importantly, swelling of the optic nerve endings in both eyes. This is one of the two OCT machines we have in the store. As a result, I immediately referred him to the eye department at Southlands Hospital.
“Many of these cases are benign intracranial pressure, however, Matthew called to inform me that it was a brain tumor and that immediate surgery was planned.
“He booked in to see me recently and you can imagine how happy I was to see Matthew making such a good recovery.”
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