A dad was horrified to learn that his dull headaches were due to a satsuma-sized brain tumour that could have been there for 15 years.
Andrew Potts said he is lucky to be alive after he was told if the tumour had not been found, the pressure it put on his skull could have made his body shut down.
The 37-year-old says he was misdiagnosed three times – with doctors saying it was a sinus problem or glue ear, a condition where the middle part of the ear fills up with fluid.
But after the shock discovery, Andrew had a life-saving operation, Chronicle Live reports.
He carries a scar from ear-to-ear after a surgeon at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) peeled back the skin on his head before cutting out a piece of skull to remove the tumour.
It is believed it could have lay undiscovered for about 15 years before Andrew started having dull headaches, as well as ear and vision problems.
Now he is using his life or death experience to inspire him to raise money for the Brain Tumour Charity.
After his operation, the doting dad-of-two was told by the DVLA he couldn’t drive, which encouraged him to run the six miles back home from work each day as part of his fitness programme.
Andrew is taking part in the Great North Run on September 9 and says he’s now more prepared than ever with more than 700 miles under his belt in this year alone.
“The medics believe the brain tumour lay there for about 15 years,” said Andrew, of Cleadon, South Tyneside.
“I played football, cricket and even took part in a charity boxing event. I have been hit in the head on many occasions and it could have burst, but it didn’t.
“It got to grow the size of a satsuma, I’m very lucky to be here.”
It was down to Andrew’s caring wife Julie, 37, who pushed for her husband to get a second opinion after doctors first diagnosed him with glue ear.
He was given a dose of antibiotics and then told he had a sinus issue.
“I was referred to the RVI to an ENT specialist who said it wasn’t a sinus problem and had serious concerns that it was something else and referred me to a neurologist," Andrew said.
“I went for a private MRI scan and was told the brain tumour was very large but a one that wasn’t dangerous, which was hard to comprehend at the time."
He added: “I went back to work but had another illness episode where the pressure on my brain was causing pain and sickness and my wife took me to the RVI. That was on June 6, 2017, and I was kept in hospital for three days.
“It was then a doctor showed me a scan of my brain and said the tumour was the size of a satsuma.”
Managing director Andrew, who runs KP Simpson Accountants in Jarrow, underwent his surgery on June 12 and was kept in hospital for a further week.
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He recalled: “They cut me from ear to ear and peeled the skin back from my forehead and lay it over my nose while the surgeon cut away a piece of skull to remove the tumour.
"He put my skull back together with screws and sewed me back up.
“They sent the tumour away for tests and they said it was a grade one tumour, basically it was benign.
"But they said if it wasn’t discovered, the pressure in my skull would have been so much that it would have made my body shut down and I would have died.
“I’m so grateful to my surgeon and the staff at the RVI, they were all brilliant and I owe my life to them.”
Now feeling fit and well again, running for a cause close to his heart, Andrew hopes to raise awareness of The Brain Tumour Charity and support those who are in the situation he was in just over a year ago.
Andrew, who has daughter Katie-Rose, 11, and six-year-old son Louie, added: “My aim is to raise as much money as possible to help the charity which raises awareness in identifying that someone has a brain tumour.
“I was misdiagnosed three times and I genuinely believe it is due to lack of understanding in some doctors, which the charity is working hard to rectify.
“All charities need money, and if by me raising money for the charity can help someone in the future, then I’m more than happy to put my body through hell.”
If you would like to support Andrew’s journey and donate to The Brain Tumour Charity, please visit his JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/andrew-potts9 .
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