Published: 00:01, 07 October 2017
When Paul Constable started having what he thought were migraines he went to hospital and was simply told to go for an eye test.
But the optician spotted warning signs and within hours he had been referred back to hospital where specialists discovered he had a growth on his brain.
Paul recalled: “Who would have thought a simple trip to get my eyes tested would end up with me being told I had a brain tumour?”
That was back on February 23, 2016. The date is ingrained in his memory.
Twenty months later, Paul, 29, from High Street, Queenborough, has been through two major operations at King’s College Hospital, London, to remove the cancer.
His battle is not over but recently he was presented with the Co-operative Group’s Southern Colleague of the Year award at a ceremony in Southampton.
He was working at the Sittingbourne store when the shock diagnosis was made. He is now based at Queenborough because his blurred vision means he can no longer drive.
He is hoping to return to work next month.
This summer he was back in hospital for a second operation.
"Those 29 days in hospital were hell for me and my family... but I'm so happy to have come out the other side a better and stronger person" - Paul Constable
He said: “Those 29 days in hospital were hell for me and my family.
"But I am so happy to have come out the other side a better and stronger person than when I went in.”
He has been supported by his family: brother Darren, sister Gemma, mum Jackie and dad Mick, the mayor of Queenborough, and Paul’s fiancée Aimee Wickham.
Aimee and Paul had only been dating for three weeks after meeting at work when they learned of the bombshell.
They are due to marry on April 26, 2019, and are saving for a house of their own.
Aimee said: “Paul had been having trouble reading menus so he went for a check-up.”
His mum, a retired nurse, said: “Paul first went to Maidstone Eye Hospital but they put it down to eye strain.
"However, he had an appointment at Vision Express the following week and they spotted something.”
Paul was sent straight to Maidstone optomology as an emergency case where he had tests including a CT scan and was diagnosed with a stage 2 meningioma brain tumour all on the same day.
Within a month he was being operated on. This summer he underwent a second operation. Doctors say he may need radiotherapy later.
Jackie added: “Paul is a lot braver than the rest of us. He just seems to put up with it.”
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