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My father’s “parenting headache” was actually a brain tumor

My father’s “parenting headache” was actually a brain tumor

A British father attributed his headaches to raising his young children, and it turned out that he was suffering from a brain tumor.

Gary McKay, 38, believes his headaches and low energy are caused by the pressures of working 40 hours a week, looking after his children and maintaining a social life.

He ignored the aches and pains until November 2022, when he collapsed on the bathroom floor in the middle of the night and woke up disoriented.

McKay was taken to hospital, where he underwent a CT scan for a suspected stroke. There, he was diagnosed with stage II astrocytoma — a rare brain tumor — on his 37th birthday.

“It’s all starting to make sense.” He told SWNS.

Gary McKay, 38, believes his headaches and low energy are caused by the pressures of working 40 hours a week, looking after his children and maintaining a social life. Brain Tumor Research/SWNS

“My mysterious collapse was actually a grand mal seizure,” he continued. “The pain was in my head, sometimes so severe that it felt as if someone was drilling into my skull, and the reason for my lack of energy was a brain tumor.”

Grade II astrocytomas infiltrate healthy brain tissue — the tumor grows relatively slowly and usually does not have well-defined boundaries.

While surgeries are effective, the tumor is not completely removed because its tentacle-like protrusions grow into the surrounding tissue and may continue to spread.

While waiting for surgery, McKay was sent home – where he suffered a grand mal seizure near his son Sebastian, who was 4 years old at the time. He is also the father of an 8-year-old girl.

“I felt a strange aura — what I know now is the feeling you get before you have a seizure — that overcame me,” he recounted.

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“I started making dinner and putting some water to boil. My next memory was waking up when my wife Lisa came home with Holly, and Dad had been asleep for an hour,” Sebastian said.

McKay was diagnosed with grade II astrocytoma, a rare brain tumor. Brain Tumor Research/SWNS

When he woke up, he was able to talk but it didn’t make much sense.

His wife, Lisa, asked him if he needed medical attention.

“I think so,” McKay replied.

Over the next few months, McKay was given medications to manage his seizures until surgery. He doesn’t remember much from that time.

“From my birthday in November 2022, until Christmas last year, everything is a blur,” he said.

In February, he finally underwent a craniotomy to remove the 5-centimetre tumor from his brain.

Although his operation was a success, McKay worries the cancer might come back one day.

“My mysterious collapse was actually a grand mal seizure. The pain in my head, he explained, was so severe at times that it felt as if someone was drilling into my skull, and my lack of energy was caused by a brain tumor. Brain Tumor Research/SWNS

“This disease has torn apart my family’s world,” he lamented. “We live in a state of uncertainty, and this has been terrible to deal with.”

He stresses the things he might miss in the future – like walking his daughter down the aisle and becoming a grandfather – but he’s looking forward to spending time with family as much as he can.

“I want to raise awareness and funds for brain tumor research to fight this disease and prevent other families from suffering the torment I brought my family,” McKay said.

“This disease has torn apart my family’s world,” MacKay lamented. “We live in a state of uncertainty, and this has been terrible to deal with.” Brain Tumor Research/SWNS

He will begin training in January for the National Three Peaks Challenge, a May 2024 summit of the three highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales. To raise money for brain tumor research.

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He had raised about $2,500 as of Monday.

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