A personal trainer was rushed for emergency brain surgery hours after opticians spotted an aggressive tumour.
Aleksey Metalnikov, 34, had just married his wife pregnant Elena, 34, when he noticed he couldn’t see properly to cross the road.
The ultra-fit gym fanatic went to opticians who noticed swelling on his optic nerves and ordered him to go straight to A&E.
Within hours he was diagnosed with a tumour on the brain and being prepped for surgery to remove it on January 3.
He’s since been diagnosed with an ultra-aggressive malignant stage four brain tumour and said average survival time is around a year.
But with his baby daughter – already named Michele – due in April, the newly-wed is determined to beat the odds and survive.
He has vowed to beat the disease for his unborn baby.
Aleksey, from Vauxhall in London, is fundraising £150,000 to pay for experimental treatment in Germany he hopes could give him longer – or even cure his disease.
Russian-born Aleksey, who moved to the UK in 2004, said: “It just hit me like a brick in the head.
”It completely smashed me. I didn’t know how to accept the information.
“Yesterday afternoon I went to check my eyes and I am having brain surgery today. I never had any symptoms or signs.
“I thought I was the healthiest guy around. When you suddenly see you maybe have one year to live it is crazy.
“How can it be that one moment you are so healthy and then suddenly in another moment you are not?
“I always wanted to have a baby, and my daughter is going to be born in April.
“This, and my wife are the biggest motivation to live at the moment.
“There are rare stories of people who live longer, and I love my life too much to give up easily.”
Aleksey said with hindsight his vision became darker around six months ago, and this summer he had headaches and a stiff neck, but it was cured with a massage.
He married Elena in November 2020 in Russia, where she runs a tour operating company, and soon after he got back, he noticed his vision was blurry.
He said: “It got really bad very quickly.
“I caught myself standing at traffic lights not knowing when to go.
“You wait for something to get better, you never think you have a brain tumour just because your eyes are going a bit blurry.”
He booked a check up with Boots Opticians in Covent Garden at 4pm on December 29.
Experts noticed swelling of the optic nerves in both Aleksey’s eyes, and sent him straight to A&E at Moorfields Eye Hospital.
He said: “The guy there saved my life”.
Moorfields sent Aleksey straight to A&E at St Thomas’ Hospital where he had tests, and the next day he was told he had a brain tumour.
Rushed to Kings College Hospital, he was told he would need surgery that day – but it was eventually put back three days to January 3.
“I couldn’t even call my family because my phone battery had died – I hadn’t planned to be out the house so long,” he said.
“I borrowed a cable and called Elena, then the rest of my family.
“They were all so shocked, they said ‘but you are so fit and healthy, how is this happening?’
“The tumour was like a tennis ball inside my head.
“I never imagined there could be something that big, just sitting in my head.
“Literally in the course of a few days my life completely changed.”
He had a five hour operation to remove the mass, and was home two days later.
He found out on January 13 the tumour was a glioblastoma multiform stage 4 tumour, part of it was still in his brain, and he has around 18 months to live, he said.
“It was shocking, really shocking,” he said.
“I got married to Elena and a month later I tell her I have a year to live.
“I was just starting to really live my life and it is being taken away from me.”
Elena is moving to London as planned to have the baby and be with Aleksey.
Aleksey said the exceptional treatment he can have on the NHS would involve six months of intensive chemo and radiotherapy to just help prolong his life.
But he wants to try experimental immunotherapy treatment to give him longer.
To donate to his fund, visit – https://uk.gofundme.com/f/help-aleksey-raise-funds-for-brain-tumour-therapy?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=unknown&utm_campaign=comms_g3yf+help-aleksey-raise-funds-for-brain-tumour-therapy