GP and Patient

I was in the un-enviable position, not so very long ago, of being handcuffed to a metaphorical railway-line. The train heading towards me was not an Express, but a goods train- trundling towards an inevitable conclusion. 
I am a Doctor having worked in clinical medicine for over 20 years- it is fair to say I have had to deal with a number of serious and life-threatening conditions of my patients. It is however, quite different when the patient is yourself. 

Due to a chance finding, of what I thought (likely to be) insignificant physical signs, I found myself having an MRI at the BMI Priory Hospital in Birmingham. It came as a great surprise to me that I was diagnosed with a rare, large, and growing tumour called a 'glomus' tumour- more specifically the rarer 'glomus vagale'. I had heard of this tumour during my medical school studies, but I had never seen a patient with it, or had any idea with regards to its significance.

I then immersed myself in the medical literature to find out more about this unusual condition. I discovered that it was extremely rare, very slow growing tumour, that starts in the tissues in the neck, and continues to grow upwards, and if left un-checked for many years, can eventually enter the skull cavity, and compress the brain, with potentially fatal consequences if not treated.

Due to its size (about that of a lemon) surgery was considered to be the only option. 

From my experience in the medical profession, I know, and continue to advise my patients, that if surgery is required for any condition, it is of utmost importance to select the best possible surgeon for the job. As my condition  was so rare, only a fairly small handful of surgeons (on a global basis)  were sufficiently skilled in treating this sort of 'skull base' tumour.

I made extensive and detailed research of the medical literature and consulted with surgeons in the US, Switzerland, a professor in London and a second professor in Cambridge. I also consulted with Mr Richard Irving at the BMI Priory hospital in Birmingham (UK). I was surprised at the difference, both in attitude, consultation style and suggested surgical method.

I was in the privileged position of also being able to speak to other medical professionals, who had actually seen the surgeons operate, and was able to gain significant reassurance prior to making my choice.

I chose to put my trust in Richard Irving- and it was very well placed. I cannot recommend him highly enough. He is extremely patient, with a kind and sympathetic manner, and he is a superb communicator. His technical knowledge in the field of skull base surgery is of the highest order, and he is one of the global authorities in the surgical treatment of glomus tumours, and other skull base disorders.

I had surgery under Mr Irving a 9 hour procedure, which successfully removed the tumour, that was 90% wrapped around my carotid artery, and had entered into the meninges (the lining of the brain). I was walking within 24 hours of surgery- which would have been unheard of with less modern surgical techniques. During the post-operative period, I received superb attention from Mr Irving and continue to be under his follow-up. Had I not elected for surgery, I am sure I would not be here now I owe my life to Richard Irving