Scottish schoolteacher diagnosed with brain tumour after six months of ‘excruciating’ headaches

Craig Telfer, 27, in hospital following his operation at Glasgow's Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. Picture: SWNS
Craig Telfer, 27, in hospital following his operation at Glasgow's Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. Picture: SWNS
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A schoolteacher says he suffered excruciating headaches for six months before he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Craig Telfer, 27, said he was taking paracetamol for his agonising headaches before going to the GP who prescribed him with something stronger.

Craig Telfer, 27, said he was taking paracetamol for his agonising headaches before going to the GP who prescribed him with something stronger. Picture: SWNS

Craig Telfer, 27, said he was taking paracetamol for his agonising headaches before going to the GP who prescribed him with something stronger. Picture: SWNS

But the PE teacher continued to suffer the agonising pain and while on holiday in Florida in 2017 his speech even started to slur.

After an eye test in December 2017 revealed he was losing his peripheral vision, Craig decided enough was enough and went to A&E.

He was told he had a brain tumour and underwent emergency surgery just days later to remove the mass.

Craig, from Ayr, South Ayrshire, said: “During the summer of 2017 I was having constant headaches.

Craig Telfer, 27, and his family, brother Greg, 24, mother Ann, 56 & father Johnny, 60. Picture: SWNS

Craig Telfer, 27, and his family, brother Greg, 24, mother Ann, 56 & father Johnny, 60. Picture: SWNS

“I went to the GP and he gave me stronger medication. I was on holiday in Florida and I had some slurred speech and then I went back to the GP. It died down for a few months, with just the occasional headache that I took paracetamol and ibuprofen for.

“I was going through packs of paracetamol and all the pills my GP was giving me.

“I finished up when the school holidays were starting, it was somewhat manageable.

“Then when it got to Christmas time it started to really flare up and I couldn’t manage anymore. Christmas Day and Boxing day I felt at my worst.”

Craig, who spent months continuing to work through the pain, said the last straw was when he was told he was losing his vision.

He said: “I was told I was losing my peripheral vision - that was after 14 days of headaches. That set alarm bells off so I decided to go to A&E and pay for a brain scan. I was at a stage where I was frustrated.”

Tests revealed Craig had a brain tumour by his left ear, which was putting pressure on one side of his brain. Craig was left stunned when he was delivered the news that it was a tumour.

He said: “I thought it was sinusitis because the main pain was behind my eyes. 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.”

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Craig underwent a five-and-a-half hour operation on January 3, 2018, at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow to remove the tumour.

He said: “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. 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.”

“They told me 10 days later it was only a grade one cancer and I 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. 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 took a seizure. After the surgery I lost all strength, I could barely open a bottle or cut up my food.”

It took Craig six months to get back to full health and now he is on a mission to spread awareness and raise funds for brain cancer research.

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 is part of an 80 strong group who will hike up Goatfell mountain today (Sun) on the Isle of Arran to spread awareness of brain tumours.

He set up a JustGiving page and has raised £3,545 for Brain Tumour Research’s Centres of Excellence.

Craig said: “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.”

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