"THE one thing I remember is the doctor asking me if I knew what a mass was," says Michael Savage, recalling the first moments of his near four-month battle against a brain tumour. "All I could say was: 'other than the place I go to every Sunday, I have no idea'. I swear to God!"

He didn't know it at the time, but that joke, said in the bowels of Wishaw General, was the start of five and a half weeks in and out of hospitals, spells in intensive care, and longer than he'd ever been without hugging his nine-year-old daughter.

It was an ordeal the football agent can look back on now and, at times, laugh, the drama of it all not enough to stop him doing deals for his players from his sick bed. And it's a story he finally wants to tell in the hope he'll one day be able to help others by showing them there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

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"It was about July when I started to suffer from severe headaches and they became so severe at one point I couldn't get out of my bed," he explains. "I went to Wishaw General Hospital with my daughter for another scan. During it all they put contrast in me and when it came back they asked: 'have you got anyone with you?'.

Glasgow Times: Michael was first diagnosed at Wishaw General Michael was first diagnosed at Wishaw General

"I explained about my wife and daughter who were waiting and they told me that I was going to have to go to A&E. I didn't know it, but that was me being admitted.

"I stayed in hospital for a week whilst they were doing further CT scans and that sort of thing. It was initially feared it was aggressive and that floored me."

Thankfully, when surgeons in Glasgow had a look, it turned out his tumour wasn't aggressive; not that that made the experience any less worrying for his family, daughter Olivia and wife Elizabeth Anne included, when surgery at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital followed. 

"That was August and fast forward to September when I got my date through to get the tumour removed," the 38-year-old says. "Brilliant. Everything went so well but I caught an infection and had to be rushed back into hospital.

Glasgow Times: Michael with his wife Elizabeth Anne and daughter Olivia in happier times Michael with his wife Elizabeth Anne and daughter Olivia in happier times

"They had to take that out and remove part of my bone flap. I've still got part of it missing. You can only really notice it when you touch my head not just by looking at it.

"They removed it and don't want to put it back in as it has an infection. This was October and I ended up being in hospital until November 10.

"What I didn't realise is how much pressure the NHS is under. It's unbelievable. There were also no visits when I was there, so I couldn't see my daughter.

"Even after having major surgery under the knife for nine and a half hours I couldn't give my daughter a cuddle or my wife. 

"Brain surgery sounds terrifying but it is surreal. I don't actually feel as if I am the person who's been through it. I feel for the other people who were going through it, having to live the nightmare at home.

"I spent a few days in intensive care which I didn't know about and you'd just wake-up."

While he's now "taking each day as it comes", he wants to tell his story for a reason. In a year where the NHS has been under more pressure than ever before, he saw for himself the blood, sweat, and tears given by staff each and every day. 

And the football agent - who laughs about securing moves for some of his players while hiding behind the curtains - hopes he'll be able to use his connections to give back.

"I'm going to be actively seeking people, and we work with guys like [Rangers striker] Alfredo Morelos, to do a fundraiser where the money will directly go to staff and patients rather than giving it to a big charity," the Dalziel Park man says.

Glasgow Times: Michael hopes to involve players like Alfredo Morelos in his charity ambitions Michael hopes to involve players like Alfredo Morelos in his charity ambitions

"I saw it all when I was in the hospital. People who don't have access to this, or access to that.

"The NHS staff in Glasgow and Wishaw were unbelievable. They have their own personal circumstances at home and were going into a place like that to help people.

"I'll be honest, they are understaffed. It was unbelievable what they were able to do. The surgeons who did my procedure were brilliant and, even although I got the infection, I just look at that as s**t happens.

"I'm extremely thankful and now I am actively engaging with people to raise funds. I'd hope to create a wee charity just for people in Glasgow in my circumstances.

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"We're all in the same journey and the same path to get fit as soon as we go into that hospital. 

"You are thankful for everything you've got. Even like a cup of tea. You just appreciate it.

"A 94-year-old man, who was across from me and in for an operation on a tumour, told me: 'your health is your wealth'.

"I'll live by that."