A schoolteacher who suffered excruciating headaches for six months was stunned to be told he had a brain tumour.
Craig Telfer, 27, was taking paracetamol for the pain when he first visited a GP, who sent him away again with stronger medication.
But after travelling to Florida in 2017 he found the headaches did not lessen and his speech had even begun to slur.
In December later that year he underwent an eye test and was told he was losing his peripheral vision, prompting a trip to A&E where he paid for a brain scan.
There, he was shocked to hear he had a brain tumour by his left ear, which was putting pressure on one side of his brain.
‘I thought it was sinusitis because the main pain was behind my eye,’ said the teacher, who had continued to work throughout his headaches.
‘I was like “wow, what’s going to happen now?” The doctor said they would need to operate on me pretty soon.
‘I try to keep healthy, I don’t smoke and rarely drink then that happens to you. It just shows it can happen to anyone.’
Craig underwent a five-and-a-half hour operation just days later on January 3, 2018, at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow to remove the tumour.
‘After surgery it took me a few hours to come to again. I was still in a lot of pain but it was a relief,’ he said.
‘Going into the surgery I knew it had to be done. It was just having the fear of waking up and not having the ability to speak or not having my motor skills.
‘But when I seen my family before the surgery and shook their hands I knew it was going to be OK.’
He was told 10 days later that his tumour was ‘only a grade one cancer’ and he should be recovered within a year.
‘They were very lucky to get it all out and I didn’t need any chemotherapy. I was in hospital for two weeks then I was out,’ he said.
‘It took me about six months to get back to normal. For the first six weeks I was home, someone had to be with me in case I had a seizure.
‘After the surgery I lost all strength, I could barely open a bottle or cut up my food.’
Craig is now on a mission to spread awareness and raise funds for brain cancer research and is part of an 80 strong group who hiked up Goatfell mountain on the Isle of Arran for the charity.
He said: ‘The surgeon said I had a head start because I was only 26 and was young, fit and healthy and in good condition before the surgery.
‘They said for an average person in their forties it would have taken a year but for me it was six months. I feel back to full fitness.
‘I’ve been back in the gym and lifting weights. I play a lot of golf and play football with the teachers, but don’t think I would ever header the ball again.’
Craig has set up a JustGiving page and has so far raised more than £3,545 for Brain Tumour Research’s Centres of Excellence.
‘Yes I got misdiagnosed by the GPs and felt pretty angry but I’m looking to raise awareness and look at the positives from it,’ he said.