A dad-of-two has described cracking jokes with his brain surgeon as he was being operated on to remove a tumour.
Shanie Antcliffe, now 30, underwent an ‘awake craniotomy’ after an MRI found the growth inside his head in 2019.
He was assessed as needing the type of surgery as his tumour was near key parts of his brain, reports LeicestershireLive.
An ‘awake craniotomy’ is recommended when the tumour is located close to spots that control speech, language or movement.
If the patient is awake during the surgery the team can assess exactly what function each part of your brain controls.
So this meant Shanie was awake and talking as he went under the knife in 2020 – while medics removed the growth.
The electrical engineer said: “It didn’t feel like a serious situation.
“We spoke about football and family it was pretty relaxed but all the while the surgeon was performing his wizardry removing the tumour and instructing me what exercises to try next.
“I think they told me that I was to do the exercises so that they could check that they were not affecting a certain part of my brain.
“They asked me to bare my teeth, exaggerate a smile, scrunch my face things like that to see if there was any differences between each side if my face looking for stroke-like symptoms.”
He then came face to face with the tumour.
“When they removed the tumour and placed it in a sample container I asked to hold it and look at it so I could see what had been giving me all the trouble it was all a surreal experience,” he said.
“It wasn’t what I expected to be honest, when I used to think of a tumour I thought it would look like a ball, or similar to a red grape for some reason but it just looked like a bit of flesh almost like a bit of loo paper after being dipped in red wine.
“Strange way to look at it but it’s what it looked like. I remember saying thank god that is out if my swede and laughed.
“The surgery team laughed too.”
Shanie did in fact suffer a stroke but said he knew the risk before going in for the surgery.
“I woke up in a hospital bed in recovery and my left side was paralysed and I only had peripheral vision,” he added
“It was very scary but at least I was still alive.”
Shanie, from Groby, Leicestershire, had also described being diagnosed.
He said: “They said I had three options – I could do nothing and see what happens, I could have a biopsy to assess things or they could go in and remove the tumour.
“The neurosurgeon told me to go away and think about it.”
But Shanie said he and his wife knew the answer straight away – quipping that it was a “no-brainer”.
He said: “I had two young boys Harry, five, and Freddie, three, at home.
“How could I tell them if things went wrong that daddy just waited and did not fight it. I told them to get me in and get it out.”
Shanie was referred to a specialist and had an MRI in October 2019 after suffering debilitating headaches.
Two weeks later, he was at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham with his wife where they were given the earth-shattering news that had a tumour.
“I kind of knew what they were going to say,” he said. “I am very practical person so I thought: ‘Right, what can I do to try to beat this’.
“I wanted to fight it with all the strength I had. So I went in for the operation.”
Either during or after the surgery in January 2020, Shanie suffered a stroke. He was left paralysed down the left had side of his body.
But he made such good progress that he was allowed home after two weeks.
Shanie got back to work in March and all seemed well.
Then on January 10 this year, the day after his 30th birthday, he had a seizure.
Another MRI scan revealed the tumour had grown back and the fight was back on.
Shanie has recently finished six weeks of radiotherapy and next month he starts up to six months of chemotherapy to try to fight the cancer.
He and two friends recently completed a running challenge to raise money for the Brain Tumour Charity.