Man has brain tumour removed listening to One Direction

Matthew Stride, from Dickens Heath in Solihull chose to listen to the boy band during the operation. Credit: BPM Media/PA

A man has had surgery to remove a tumour while he was awake and listening to One Direction.

Matthew Stride, from Dickens Heath in Solihull , was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour after having ‘funny turns’ during football,

He underwent a craniotomy at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in January where surgeons removed part of his skull to extract the tumour - the size of a tennis ball.

Following the operation the 26-year-old was later diagnosed with a grade 3 anaplastic astrocytoma, a rare and aggressive cancerous tumour that he has been told is incurable.

Now after 33 rounds of chemotherapy, brave Matthew is determined to run the Birmingham Half Marathon in October and raise thousands for charity Brain Tumour Research.

“I used to play five a side football and I started having these fainting episodes in October 2013,” said Matthew, a former pupil at Arthur Terry School in Sutton Coldfield.

“It is really hard to explain, but I would go vacant.

“It would last for about 30 seconds and I couldn’t speak or move.

“It was very very strange.”

It wasn’t until a friend witnessed the episode where they described Matt blacking out and his eyes flickering that he was urged to consult a doctor.

Matthew is recovering after surgery and 33 rounds of chemotherapy. Credit: BPM Media

At first doctors suspected Matthew had epilepsy, and later thought the episodes might be anxiety and stress.

But after months of tests, and finally an MRI scan, in November it was revealed that Matthew had a tumour the size of a tennis ball at the upper front part of his brain.

“It was devastating really,” said Matthew who works for a football scouting company.

“All these things start going through your head.

“My parents and my girlfriend Sarah were pretty upset. But we decided not to start telling people until we knew more about the options.”

As the tumour was sitting near the motor area of the brain, there was a risk that if surgery went wrong, Matthew could end up paralysed down his left side.

Matthew’s surgeon Mr Ismail Ughratdar decided the best thing to do was map his brain using a Nexstim machine, and wake up Matthew during his surgery to test his motor skills.

He was booked in for the seven hour operation on January 6.

Matthew is now on the road to recovery after surgery and 33 rounds of chemotherapy.”

He was booked in for the seven hour operation on January 6.

“It was surreal,” recalls Matthew.

I could see the team on my left. They were getting me to move my legs and my arms.

“At one point I had my arm in the air, and it just dropped suddenly and I couldn’t move it.

“They knew then that they couldn’t get that part of the tumour.

“They asked me what music I would like to be played, and at that time I was into One Direction.

“They were talking to me the whole time and making me laugh - all the time while your skull is literally on the table.

“Then they put me back to sleep.”

Being awake during the surgery can rapidly improve recovery time, and just two days later Matthew was allowed home, after surgeons were able to remove the majority of the tumour.

But sadly, after a biopsy of the tumour was finally possible, he and his family received the devastating news that the cancer was incurable.

We thought it would all be over, so it was another blow,” explains Matthew.

“I got assigned an oncologist, and for a 26-year-old it just felt sickening.

“They had to give me a prognosis, which shouldn’t even be in your vocabulary.

“They think the worst case scenario would be five years.

“But throughout I’ve had a mantra to be strong. If I crumble, then everyone else will crumble around me.

“I want to stay strong for my parents and my girlfriend.”

Matthew with his girlfriend Sarah. Credit: BPM Media

Matthew started six weeks of daily radiotherapy followed by 33 rounds of chemotherapy, and a recent scan showed that there had been no growth of the tumour.

But despite the gruelling treatment, inspirational Matthew is determined to run the Birmingham Half Marathon in just a few months with girlfriend Sarah Hill.

Sarah said: “I cannot put into words how incredibly brave Matthew has been, and continues to be through all of this, making me the proudest girlfriend in the world."