A granddad from Exhall has been left with permanent voice damage after being diagnosed with a rare tumour.
Lee Marsh, 54, started losing his voice earlier this year but thought he was just having a sore throat.Lee treated himself for laryngitis with over-the-counter medication.
However, his voice started getting worse and he began experiencing sharp pains down his neck.The granddad-of-four, who works as an engineer, struggled to eat as it became difficult to swallow.
He visited his GP later and within a week, he was sent to Coventry hospital for a CT scan and MRI.In August this year, doctors revealed that Lee had a rare tumour called Glomus Jugular at the base of his skull.
The tumour is so rare that only one in 1.3 million in the world are diagnosed with it every year.
The tumour has caused irreversible damage to Lee's vocal chords - and doctors told the granddad he will never get his voice back.
The 54-year-old, who can only whisper, said: "It was really shocking to hear the diagnosis. It's not the type of thing you expect to happen."It is what it is, and you have to deal with it and do everything you can to get over it by facing it head-on and getting the treatment that is required."My voice won't come back - it's all irreversible. It's also been very difficult with food.
"I lost two and half stone because I struggle to eat and I have to break my food down to very fine bits."
Because of the rarity of his condition, doctors referred Lee to a specialist team at St Bartholemew's Hospital in London.
Lee must now travel to London three times a week for further treatment, leaving him with staggering hotel and travel costs.Lee does not get paid sick leave from work - and is afraid his condition is going to leave him struggling to get by without an income.
He said: "I don't get help with my travel costs, and now I'm in central London three times a week."The hotels are expensive, but I have to stay there as I can't be travelling long distances after radiotherapy treatment as it will be a huge knock to my body."All I get is statutory sick pay which is about £98 a week. I don't get sick pay from work."I've been off work for the past two weeks and I will be off for the next two weeks and I won't be getting paid at all. It's quite dear, but you can't put a price on what you have to do."
Lee's wife, Karen, accompanies her husband to London to help him, and has no choice but to use up her holiday leave to take time off work.
Lee's niece, Claire, has launched a GoFundMe page to help her uncle with travel and hotel costs while he seeks treatment in London.Speaking about the fundraiser, Lee said: "The fundraiser will go towards my travel and accommodation, and that would help immensely.
"We have bills to pay, we have to eat and live and keep warm this time of year."Claire said: "I wanted to support my uncle with the costs of going down to London, paying for hotels, paying for travel to and from London. He's not bringing any money from work and the family have bills to pay."It's taken so long for Lee to get a diagnosis after so many months.
"We're glad he's got a final diagnosis and is moving forward, but he has to live with this for the rest of this life."And the fact that the hospital is in London, it's a trek, his wife has to have time off work to help him as well.
"The last time he was only going for scans, they managed to get a cheaper hotel far."But with the intensive radiotherapy, he can't be going on public transport.
"He needs to be in a hotel in central London near the hospital and the prices there are really high.
"He wouldn't want to be taking the trains because the radiotherapy lowers his immune system."