Dad given 15 months to live after cluster headaches turned out to be terminal cancer

By Staff 8 Min Read

Ricky Smith started having headaches in February but put it down to working too much. The dad of three was urged to go to the doctors where he received the heartbreaking diagnosis

A dad has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and given just 15 months to live after he went to the doctor with cluster headaches.

Ricky Smith, 39, started having headaches in February but put it down to working too much. After two weeks his partner Katrina Binfield, 41, urged him to see a doctor, who they claim told Ricky to drink more water and rest. The pain continued and Katrina booked Ricky in for an eye test, which noticed blood behind both eyes.

He was referred to Maidstone Hospital, where a CT revealed a mass on the brain. A further MRI scan diagnosed an inoperable butterfly glioblastoma. Ricky was given 15 months to live and is anxiously waiting for biopsy results to see what treatment he can be offered to prolong his life. Katrina, a make-up artist, from Minster, Isle of Sheppey, Kent, said: “Life is very up and down for us at the minute.

“There are days when Ricky can be confused and forgetful and there are days where I can see the changes in him. That is really hard, I am watching my partner change in front of my eyes.”

Site manager Ricky started getting headaches but originally put it down to the fact he was a hard worker and thought nothing of it. Katrina said: “He started getting constant headaches for a couple of weeks. We thought at first it may have been a virus. I was ill just before but his lasted longer than mine. He is a hardworking man and never takes time off, but he was starting to call in sick and just sit around the house. I said to him ‘Rick this isn’t you’ and ‘we need to get you looked at’.”

Ricky went to the doctor and claimed he was told to drink more water and relax, but his headaches persisted. The couple then went to Maidstone Hospital in the hopes of being seen but after waiting for several hours, the father-of-three and stepfather to a fourth, grew impatient and wanted to go home. The pain continued so Katrina took him for an eye test on March 2, during which the optometrist saw blood behind the retina and told him to go back to Maidstone Hospital.

Ricky had a CT scan and claimed he was told he’d had a stroke. He then went for an MRI scan which revealed he had a tumour. Katrina said: “A consultant came over to say that they had found something in his results. He was being very vague, so Ricky said ‘man to man tell me if I have a tumour’. The doctor confirmed he had a tumour and I broke down. It was horrible, I just broke down but Ricky was trying to be strong. A woman across from us burst into tears, you look at us we’re a young family – you don’t expect this.”

Ricky was then referred to King’s College Hospital in London who confirmed he had an inoperable butterfly tumour. Katrina said: “The doctor told us this is an aggressive form of cancer and he said how Ricky would have 15 months to live. They said Ricky needed a biopsy which he had on Friday, that went really well. We are in the waiting game to see what treatment Ricky can have to prolong his life.”

Last week, Katrina broke the news to their children, Louie, eight, Karson, five and Arlo two. She said: “Arlo is too little to understand but I sat Louie and Karson down last week. Louie is such a sensitive soul so I was really worried about him. He got up, gave me a hug and said ‘don’t worry mum we will fight this’. Karson and I were crying and he got us tissues and wiped our eyes. He has been amazing but it still doesn’t feel like this is happening to us.”

The couple’s friends have set up a GoFundMe page in the hope of raising £75,000 to pay for private treatment, a 40th birthday for Ricky and a wedding.

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