My Boss Saved My Life After Calling Me Out For Bad Timing And “Strange Behavior”

A TRAINEE teacher says his boss saved his life after calling out his “strange behavior” and poor timing.

Matt Schlag, 43, was studying to become a primary school teacher when he started showing symptoms.


Matt Schlag, 43, found out he had a brain tumor after his boss told him to see a doctor1 credit
Dad to Reuben, two, and Anja, four, Matt was told his behavior at work was


Dad to Reuben, two, and Anja, four, Matt was told his behavior at work was ‘strange’1 credit

He developed migraines and was told by his boss at the GORSE Academies Trust in Leeds that he was behaving strangely and was running late.

His employer also noticed that he was confused in the middle of a conversation and even got lost in school.

Father-of-two Matt went to hospital and was diagnosed with an anaplastic astrocytoma brain tumor in October 2019 – and is now thanking his boss for pushing him for answers.

He now works with the charity Brain Tumor Research to raise awareness of the disease.

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Matt, dad to Reuben, two, and Anja, four, said: “I kept getting really awful migraines every other day.

“They were really intense, and I was also getting lost in conversations and forgetting my words, it was really weird.

“My boss said ‘you need to get this checked out properly because you’re behaving strangely’ because my timing had gotten so poor and I was getting lost not just in conversations but around the school building itself.

“I was away with the fairies and wasn’t my usual eloquence. I was awkward in conversation and didn’t really engage with people like I usually would.

“My boss was instrumental in helping me deal with the situation and help me out because I was not capable of it at the time. His intervention saved my life.”

In October 2019 Matt, who is married to Louise, 36, went to A&E at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) and ‘insisted’ on him having a CT scan.

Matt said: “The scan showed there was something in my brain.

“It was a huge shock to me and my family.”

Most of the time, a brain tumor will not be the reason a person has headaches.

Stress can cause someone to act differently. But if there is no obvious cause for abnormal mood or behavior, see a doctor.

Other symptoms of a brain tumor include changes in vision or speech, limb weakness, seizures, and vomiting.

journey to healing

Matt said: “Three days later, which was my daughter’s second birthday, I had surgery.

”The operation went well and I was so thrilled that when I woke up I was singing ‘Aqua Azzura’ in Italian.

“I don’t know if it was because of the drugs I was on, but I felt so happy because I’m fluent in Italian, and that meant I hadn’t completely lost my language skills.”

Matt underwent three months of radiation therapy and 12 months of chemotherapy.

But in August 2020, a follow-up scan showed her tumor had grown back.

He said: “I thought ‘not that yet’ because Louise and I had been celebrating with champagne, thinking I had beaten that and we could draw a line under it.”

Matt underwent a second operation on September 13, 2020, followed by six months of chemotherapy.

Now Matt will take the 55-mile bike ride from London to Brighton on September 11 with his friends Chris Lumb, 44, and Chris Keithley, 43, to to collect money for the charity Brain Tumor Research.

He said: “I just wanted to take something positive out of what happened. It’s so important to raise money to help find a cure because until a cure is found there is fear always until the tumor comes back.”

Matthew Price, Community Development Manager at Brain Tumor Research, said: “We are so grateful to Matt and his two friends for taking on this challenge…

“Brain tumors are blind. They can affect anyone at any time. Too little is known about the causes and that is why increased investment in research is vital.”

Brain Tumor Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centers in the UK.

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He is also campaigning for the government and major cancer charities to invest more in brain tumor research to speed up new treatments for patients and ultimately find a cure.

To donate to Matt’s fundraising page, Click here.

Matt said:


Matt said: “I was away with the fairies and wasn’t my usual talker. I was awkward in conversation and didn’t really engage with people like I usually would”1 credit
Matt had to undergo two operations and more than a year of chemotherapy for his brain tumor


Matt had to undergo two operations and more than a year of chemotherapy for his brain tumor1 credit

Brain Tumor Symptoms


Headaches can be caused by a myriad of reasons, you could be dehydrated or even stressed.

Most headaches can be resolved with painkillers, but if your headache persists or gets worse, it could be a sign of brain cancer.


If you suffer from nausea and the nausea is unexplained, it could be a sign of brain cancer.

The NHS advises if you feel constantly sick or if you are constantly sick and feel drowsy, you should see your GP.


Seizures can often signal that you have a brain tumor.

It is when you experience an involuntary movement and are unable to control your arms or legs.


Feeling faint isn’t unusual – if you haven’t eaten enough or been really exercising, you may feel a bit wobbly.

But feeling weak on a regular basis despite being rested, eating well, and for no other known reason is a warning sign of cancer that you should check out.

Vision or speech problems

Speech problems and blurred vision can be signs of all kinds of conditions.

Too much alcohol or feeling stressed or anxious can cause these symptoms.

But it’s often a red flag of a tumor – going to your optician or GP is the next step if you’ve noticed a change.

Behavioral changes

It is common to experience many different moods and emotions throughout a day.

Usually stress or the task you’re doing will be the cause, but if you’ve noticed a change in yourself or a loved one that you can’t explain, it could be a sign of cancer.

The NHS says: ‘Mental or behavioral changes, such as memory problems or personality changes’, could be signs of breast cancer.

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