A man died months after what he thought was a straight-forward dental problem turned out to be incurable cancer.
Restaurant manager Jerry Collins passed out just hours after tying the knot in his hospital ICU ward earlier this month.
His husband Andrew Godfrey-Collins has spoken of his heartbreak after they both mistook his swollen face for something less serious.
Jerry had first paid a series of visits to a dentist, convinced it was dental issue or potentially mumps.
But after being referred to a doctor, the truth soon became clear, reports WalesOnline.
On Christmas Eve he was diagnosed with cancer and his condition deteriorated rapidly.
Within weeks Jerry was in intensive care, where he and his partner held an unofficial wedding ceremony before a chaplain just before he died.
Jerry’s husband Andrew said: “Originally we thought it might be something like mumps, or a dental condition which had similar symptoms. Because of lockdown, though, he was only able to go to the dentist late in the year.
“Jerry had undergone a biopsy at the beginning of December, on his 30th birthday, and I was hoping it was a benign cyst. But then we heard those words: malignant melanoma.
“Jerry was more expecting it to be serious than I was, even though he’d had a scan in February showing nothing. But we were told that even if they’d found it earlier it would not have made much difference”.
The couple decided they had to get married and plans were quickly put into place.
“We were pulling out all the stops to make it possible,” said Andrew.
“The chaplain came to see us and we had a really lovely ceremony, and the ICU staff were wonderful. But it wasn’t legally binding. It would have taken me a few hours to go through all the paperwork, and I did not want to spend the last few hours of his life away from him doing paperwork.
“His parents and his sister were with us. Although they knew, it was only then that we had officially came out to them.
“I thought it was unfair if I had to conceal it and I think it was expected because I was there. But they completely welcomed me, and afterwards made me regret that we hadn’t spoken out earlier”.
The following day, Jerry passed away, surrounded by his new husband and his family.
“For the first three days I was sobbing helplessly,” said Andrew.
“And then I was in shock while I had to sort out funeral arrangements. There is an enormous absence without Jerry. I’ve known him basically my entire adult life.
“He was a very sweet man. We got together on our second date. He was looking for someone to have a relationship with and he always had a lot of love and I was lucky that he gave it to me.
“He was so grateful to the NHS for everything they did for him. His last text message to me was how wonderful his nurses had been, how they had held his hand and made him felt cared for. I feel very strongly that I have to remember him, that we will keep him alive in our memories.
“I want to remember everything we we said and did. I was there with his parents and his sister when he finally went. His last words were ‘I love you guys so much’.”