Cancer survivor who was “blinded” by a brain tumor can now see again

A cancer survivor who was blinded by treatment for his deadly brain tumor had his eyesight restored by a surgeon.

Blackpool’s Nathan Cummings described his girlfriend, whom he first saw last week, as “one of the most beautiful people I have ever met”.

The 24-year-old was diagnosed with a malignant tumor two years ago after doctors found a table tennis ball-sized mass in his brain that his family feared he would die.

The effects of chemotherapy left him with cataracts, a condition that can slowly lead to complete blindness.

Mr. Cummings, who was trained to use a stick, told The Gazette, “It was like walking through a fire. It was like my eyes were covered in smoke and clouded my vision. I couldn’t really see anything. It was like that for about a year.

Nathan Cummings, 24, lost his eyesight as a result of the side effects of the intense chemotherapy needed to save his life after a ping-pong ball-sized tumor was discovered in his brain in 2019. But major surgery now means he can see out of his right eye

Nathan Cummings says he first saw his eight-month-old girlfriends Samantha Maywood after getting his “best feeling ever” vision back.

Mr Cummings said support from family members like his grandmother Anne and grandfather Bob Cummings kept him going.

“At first it wasn’t that bad. I could see a little more. But it got worse over time. ‘

Doctors at Blackpool Victoria Hospital offered him laser eye surgery and two cataract surgeries in the hopes that they would no longer require the help of others.

The surgery gave him the ability to see from the right eye, but the work to restore vision in the left was unsuccessful.

WHAT ARE CATARACTS?

Cataracts occur when the lens – a small transparent disk in the eye that helps focus light – becomes cloudy.

The spots gradually get larger over time, according to the NHS, and can lead to blurred vision and, in some cases, blindness.

Cataracts affect around half of people over 65 in the UK. According to figures, around 24 million adults over 40 in the United States also suffer from the disease.

They are much rarer in children, with around 1 in 3,000 being born with them or developing them in childhood.

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists has warned that due to a rapidly aging population, the number of cataract surgeries required is expected to increase by 50 percent over the next 20 years.

People are at greater risk if they: have diabetes, have had an eye injury, are taking certain medications, or have other eye conditions.

Cataracts can also be caused by cancer treatment because radiation is given to the body to kill cancer cells. People with head and neck cancer are particularly at risk due to the proximity of their eyes to the potential treatment site.

Symptoms usually develop very slowly and include increased sensitivity to light and the impression that everything looks washed out.

Cataracts can be surgically removed and replaced with an artificial lens. No other treatment is available.

The Mail has long campaigned against the current UK unfair system for surgery, which was a zip code lottery until the health watchdog issued guidelines last August to resolve the problem, which resulted in many patients receiving the simple 30-minute drive Operations were denied.

It was the first time Mr Cummings had seen his 25-year-old girlfriend, Samantha Maywood, and the couple started dating after he lost his eyesight.

The couple met on the dating site E-Harmony, with Ms. Maywood helping out with him on a night out, including some movie dates where Mr. Cummings was listening to the movie.

“We went to Fast and Furious 9,” he said.

“I came in and it was pitch black and I couldn’t see anything. I didn’t really want to see it – I took her to say thank you for helping me. ‘

When he finally saw Mrs. Maywood’s face for the first time, Mr. Cummings said, “She is one of the most beautiful people I have ever met.

“When I first met her, I was blind and I said to her,“ I’ll take care of you. You are probably the most beautiful person I have ever met.

“I still think so – even though I’ve regained my eyesight, I still think she’s one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met.”

When he first saw her, he added, “That was the best feeling I’ve ever had, to be honest.”

Mr Cummings was diagnosed in 2019 after suddenly falling ill and losing more than a stone in weight in just four weeks.

Medical scans showed a tumor that had been growing in his brain for years.

Oncologists said it was already at its most dangerous stage, which means it was growing rapidly.

Mr Cummings underwent two intense rounds of radiation and chemotherapy in 2020 at Christie Hospital in Manchester.

Although he was fighting his cancer, the treatment cost him his eyesight.

The chemotherapy drug, which kills fast-growing cancer cells, also damaged his eyes.

He said, “I couldn’t do anything by myself. Other people could go out alone, visit their friends and family – I couldn’t.

“It influenced me every day. I’ve had a couple of falls from curbs and, being over six feet tall, I still had a way to go.

“I had someone come out and teach me how to use a stick, that helped me a lot.”

Mr. Cummings had a total of three operations to restore his eyesight, including two cataract surgeries that use a plastic lens to replace the cloudy natural lens.

Only one of these surgeries was successful, with partial restoration of his vision in one eye, which was then further improved by laser eye surgery to give it almost completely normal vision.

Mr. Cummings said, “It feels great to have my eyesight again. I couldn’t believe it at first.

“Now I can actually go to the movies with my girlfriend and do things that I couldn’t before.

“It’s been a difficult couple of years, but it wasn’t all terrible. I had a bit of fun along the way.

“Hopefully my eyesight in my right eye will continue to improve in a few weeks. My left eye will never recover now. That is completely blind. ‘

On his way to recovery, Mr Cummings also battled sepsis and meningitis twice and was diagnosed with Covid shortly after Christmas while on treatment.

Now he has to go to the hospital every three months for a check-up to make sure the tumor doesn’t grow back.

His 42-year-old mother, Anna Hale, said, “Nathan is not cured. But it can be scanned every three months and at the moment it’s stable. ‘

After laser eye surgery, Mr. Cummings can now see from his right eye, the other is permanently blind

Mr Cummings during cancer treatment to stop the tumor from growing in his brain

“The last two years have been difficult for Nathan. He trained with a stick; he had to change his life in so many ways and it was difficult for him.

“But he took it really well. He has supervisors four times a day to help him with his chores, and he gets a lot of support from his grandmother, me and everyone else. He left everything loose.

“For the past two years he has been plagued by disease after disease, and it is only in the past few months that he has started to live his life again.

“He spent two years in the hospital. Now he’s finally getting his life back and his eyesight too.

She added, “We honestly didn’t think Nathan would be here today. The tumor was so aggressive. But he’s here. Now all we have to do is take life day by day. ‘

Mr. Cummings added that the support from his family and girlfriend during his experience was invaluable.

He said, “My family and girlfriend kept me going. I never wanted to let her down or see her upset. I didn’t want my relationships to break up. I had to stay strong for her.

“I want to thank Blackpool Victoria Hospital and the Christie Doctors. You helped me survive. Without her I wouldn’t be here today. ‘

Brain tumors are relatively rare with 12,100 people diagnosed each year in the UK and more common in the elderly with 25 percent of cases in people over 75 years of age.

There are many different types of brain tumors with different long-term prognoses, but overall, only 40 percent of people with cancer survive more than a year.

After five years, this value drops to around 10 percent.

Cataracts are an incredibly common cause of blindness and low vision in the UK, especially among the elderly.

Cataracts are caused by cloudy spots that develop over the clear lens of the eye, usually over many years, and for many causes, including treatment for cancer.

Surgery is the only proven way to cure cataracts and is, in most cases, a straightforward procedure that usually only takes 30 to 45 minutes to replace the cloudy lens with a plastic lens.

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