Barry Reid was at Universal with his family when he collapsed and was rushed to a nearby emergency room.
A dad-of-two has spoken of his holiday horror after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor during a dream family trip to Florida.
Barry Reid, his wife Gillian and their two young daughters, Chloe and Katie, along with his in-laws, jetted off to their dream vacation last October.
But twelve days into their holiday Reid took a turn for the worse and collapsed at Universal’s Volcano Bay Park while waiting to go on a waterslide.
When the 32-year-old woke up, he found himself in an ambulance heading to a local hospital wired up to a host of machines.
Reid, from Ayr, South Ayrshire, says he couldn’t believe it when the doctor diagnosed him with a brain tumor.
"I had multiple scans at the hospital in Orlando," he said. "As the results came back it was the last thing I thought the doctor would say, ‘Mr Reid, the MRI scan has shown a frontal lobe brain tumor in the front left of your brain.’ This is the point my life changed."
Reid had no previous symptoms other than several headaches he put down to new LED lighting at the high street store where he’s a retail manager.
At the time doctor’s just prescribed him with anti-migraine over the counter medicine.
After his collapse in Orlando, medics stabilized Reid and gave him anti-seizure medication.
Reid had no prior symptoms except for reoccurring headaches, which he thought were due to lights used by his work.
He was then flown back home, along with a medical escort for safety, five days later on October 25.
When he returned, Reid was taken straight to Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital to hand over his notes from the American doctors and discuss the next step.
Just two weeks later, Reid was facing an awake craniotomy brain tumor surgery to remove as much of the 3.5-cm mass as possible.
"I was terrified of brain surgery, obviously, I was physically shaking," he said. "The day before my surgery was due, the anesthetist took time to show me around the operating theater to calm my nerves, explaining the procedure, showing me the table I’d be lying on – everything to calm me down."
"I’ll always appreciate that. I knew I had to put my trust in surgeon Mr Grivas and his team," he said. "Over ten hours later, the operation was complete. Mr Grivas had done an amazing job and only left 3-mm of the tumor in and he was happy with the way the operation had gone."
Reid’s operation involved him being put under anesthetic but the surgeon would have to wake him during the operation to perform verbal tests to make sure none of his healthy tissue was being damaged.
"As they were working nearer to the speech part of my brain, they said I started stuttering and that’s how they knew they could go no further," he said. "At one point, the doctors said I was chirping away like a budgie during the awake part of the craniotomy. I can’t remember that, so maybe not a bad thing."
Doctors discovered after the surgery that Reid’s tumor had grown from a grade two to grade three tumor — cancer cells appear distinctly abnormal under the microscope.
Five days later, Reid was allowed home to be with his family just a day before his 32nd birthday.
But Reid was then admitted back to the neuro ward two weeks later with a serious skull infection.
He spent more than six weeks in hospital – missing the Christmas holiday with his wife and children.
"That was really tough," he said. "Luckily I had a six-hour window with my family just on Christmas Day between treatment for the infection – just enough time to open presents with them."
Following chemotherapy treatment for the remaining 3-mm of tumor, Reid has spent the last eight months working hard on his recovery and returning to work.
"I would like to thank neurosurgeon, Mr A Grivas and all the ward 63 staff for looking after me and my family during my time in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital," he said. "All the staff were really friendly and always ensured I received the best possible care."
Barry now faces more radiotherapy in mid-February 2019 to shrink the remaining parts of the tumor.
Now the inspiring dad and his family are determined to raise as much awareness of the devastating impact of a brain tumor diagnosis as they can.
On October 20, he will take part in The Brain Tumour Charity’s Prestwick Twilight Walk, which brings together the community of all of those affected.
It’s part of The Charity’s annual Twilight Walks.
"As a family, we’re looking forward to the Prestwick walk," he said. "You get a diagnosis like this and suddenly you realize that there are others out there going through the same."
"We’ve had lovely support from Katie Grier and Heather Dearie, who’s also living with a brain tumor and lives just a street away from us, who also work for the charity," he said.
"We always knew we had incredible supporters and Barry’s story confirms this," Katie Grier, the charity’s community fundraiser, said. "A huge thank you to him and his family for sharing his story and being an invaluable part of our community as we strive to stamp out brain tumors."
"We look forward to joining them and our community on the Prestwick Twilight Walk," she said. "Brain tumors are the biggest cancer killer of the under 40s and survival rates have not improved significantly over the last 40 years. We are leading the way in changing this by fighting brain tumors on all fronts."
The Brain Tumour Charity is one of the UK’s largest dedicated brain tumour charities and readers who wish to support the charity can visit https://www.thebraintumourcharity.org/
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