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‘A patch does make me look damn good on stage’: Musician who lost eye through cancer talks about his new ‘identity’

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A musician who went to the dentist with toothache ended up being diagnosed with cancer and losing one of his eyes.

But Seb James, 23, who now wears an eye patch, tries to look on the positive side of life.

From the Shoot Pool in Aylesbury where he lives with his mum Susan and stepdad Alston, the licencees of the pub, he said: “ The patch has become my identity, makes me more individual and it does make me look damn good on stage.”

Seb is lead guitarist and lead singer with Callow Saints and says music got him through the darkest days of his life.

He was just 21 when he had his wisdom tooth removed. But when the wound didn’t heal he was sent to hospital in Oxford where he was diagnosed with cancer in his right sinus.

He said: “I was kinda expecting something like that, it kept bleeding and there was a lump and I thought it was either an abscess or a tumour. I was quite calm and asked what we could do about it.”

Seb had six sessions of chemotherapy over six months, lost his hair, felt terribly ill and became borderline anorexic as his weight plummeted.

During this horrendous time he wrote a song called Class A Nightcap referencing the medication he was on.

He was then told that he would need an operation but it would involve losing his eye.

He said: “I took it pretty hard, it was worse than being told I had cancer.

“But I had to come to terms with it, it was my eye or my life.”

Seb then endured four more sessions of chemotherapy before learning that an NHS panel had decided to send him to America for three months for specialist proton therapy treatment, a more exact form of radiotherapy.

His treatment was similar to that which schoolboy Alex Novakovic had in America after Aylesbury residents funded his trip.

Seb said: “I have heard of little Alex. I don’t know why the NHS sent me and not him. He deserved it as much as me, I donated to his fund.”

Gigs were held at the Shoot Pool to raise money for Seb’s incidential expenses in America during his three month stay.

Now, technically, he is clear, but he still has regular check ups.

He said: “I feel good, I just want to write music and play with Callow Saints.”

Earlier this month he attended the Teenage Cancer Trust’s 14th annual gig at the Royal Albert Hall, met alternative rock band Suede and attended workshops with session musicians.

 

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