Matthew was a few weeks short of his 21st birthday when he was first diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour. He was at university studying medicine and had just finished his 2nd year final exams.
He had been having severe headaches for months which were not eased by painkillers. He had been to the doctors several times and on his last visit the GP told him his headaches were being caused by a build-up of ear wax.
Shortly after returning home for the summer break he started to have double vision. When he had the optician check this out they discovered he had papilledema, a condition in which increased pressure in or around the brain causes the part of the optic nerve inside the eye to swell. The optician sent him straight to the local hospital where a scan revealed a brain tumour the size of a small orange in his front left temporal area.
In July 2010 he had an awake craniotomy to remove the majority of his tumour, followed by chemotherapy, intended to kill as many remaining cancer cells as possible. In 2011 he returned to university to continue his studies, but in 2012 a regular scan revealed a re-growth which required two lots of surgery to remove, plus a stay in hospital a few weeks later to treat a post-surgical wound infection. This was followed by chemo and radiotherapy, again intended to kill any remaining cancer cells. In 2013 Matthew returned to his studies and in the summer of 2015 he graduated and started work as a junior doctor in the local A&E department.
A few weeks into his new job, a regular scan revealed a third regrowth and this time he was told his tumour was inoperable and that he had between 3 and 6 months to live. Matthew was not willing to accept this death sentence and sought second opinions from several leading UK neurosurgeons. All the surgeons they contacted confirmed the tumour was inoperable. Matthew was also exploring the option of immunotherapy to treat his tumour and although this too could not help him, a medical oncologist he met, introduced him to a surgeon who was willing to operate. Just before Christmas 2015 that surgeon successfully removed 99.9% of the tumour without causing Matthew any deficits.
In December 2018 Matthew passed away but the surgery in 2015 that most said was impossible, gave him another 3 years of life. Despite the enormity of his illness and the many challenges he faced living with a brain tumour, he was always positive, making the most of life and living every moment to the full.