A father who had a third of his skull removed after a massive stroke has had it rebuilt with a ceramic plate in groundbreaking surgery.
Marc Morris, 59, underwent the drastic operation to stop his brain stem from pushing out the base of his skull after he collapsed.
The father-of-three was found unconscious at the computer at their home in Craven Arms, Shropshire, by his wife Jayne, 59, last September.
The telecom worker had complained of a headache earlier that day, but thought it was migraine or Covid.
Days after his stroke, doctors feared his brain was swelling, so they cut out part of his skull to relieve the pressure.
Marc spent almost seven months in hospital recovering but remained wheelchair-bound and suffered from seizures.
In June, doctors at the Royal Stoke University Hospital reconstructed the shape of his head using a high-tech ceramic plate so that the skin could fuse together.
Recalling the days before his stroke, Marc said: “I was very active, I was very fit. The week before I was mountain biking in Wales.”
“I was here working from home and on my laptop and I just felt weird. I had Covid for four days. On the day itself I had a migraine coming on. I thought it was Covid.”
His wife Jayne said: “Marc didn’t know he was having a stroke. I called him at 12pm and he said he had a migraine.”
“I checked on him later after not hearing from him and it was obvious he had a stroke.
“The ambulance took him to the local hospital.
“He was in there for three and a half days and they told me he needed life-saving surgery to remove about a third of his skull.”
“They told me that without the operation he would definitely die, his brain stem had sunk.
“I asked if Marc would survive the operation and they replied, ‘We’ll do our best,’ which is code for ‘We don’t know.’
“He was given artificial respiration. They took him to the Royal Stoke Hospital.”
“The surgeon called me and said he was ready and would be waiting for me in the operating room.
“We were all completely shocked. With every call we received, Marc was getting worse and worse.
“When we traveled to Stoke with our family we didn’t know if he was still alive.”
Although Marc suffered a severe seizure a few days after surgery, he survived the illness and was transferred to a community hospital near his home.
In March this year he was finally deemed fit enough to return home while he awaited further surgery to rebuild his skull.
Jayne added: “When Marc got home he was able to sit up but needed help with everything.”
“The stroke affected Marc’s vision. All the things he loved to do, like read a book and use his phone.”
“His vision does not cover the left side of his field of vision. Marc only sees the right side of his field of vision.”
Marc added: “My brain didn’t recognize my leg.
“One of the difficulties was that any change in pressure or vibration made me feel nauseous because my brain wasn’t being properly supported. I had constant headaches.”
“It was a real shock, I came home and was locked in my wheelchair. I had brief depressive thoughts.”
In June, Marc underwent a six-hour operation during which a ceramic plate was inserted into his head to help the skin fuse together.
The damage to his brain means he feels vibrations strongly, which makes using an indoor wheelchair outdoors very difficult.
His family are now trying to raise around £18,000 to buy a specialist wheelchair for Marc to use outside with limited vibration.
Marc said: “It will help and it means I won’t be stuck in my house any longer.”
“It will allow me to go to the country as where we live is quite remote.”
Anyone who would like to donate to the family appeal can come along