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David's story

David’s family had been starting to think he had some kind of dementia or depression. He was becoming withdrawn, a little confused & was sleeping a lot. He was on the list to see a specialist when in August 2013 he had what the duty Doctor thought may be a small stroke and was sent through to A&E who arranged a scan. That was when they discovered David’s 7 x 15cm meningioma. This was a shock to the whole family but he remained very positive and had a true fighting spirit. David underwent 10 hour surgery to have it successfully removed and spent a few weeks recovering. Unfortunately he developed a blood clot and was gravely ill but the surgeons took him back to theatre and removed the clot. After he returned home he had a very slow steady recovery. He had to learn to walk again and needed speech therapy but remained extremely strong and pushed through every dark day to get back to good health. This took months of determination but he never let this get to him. After a few months he decided he wanted to give something back and a year later he climbed Ben Nevis huge fundraiser for the ward that he spent 6 weeks in. David was at his happiest driving his jeep up to the river where he spent a lot of time fishing. He also loved spending time with his wife and family including his 11 grandchildren – his pride & joy.

Unfortunately in January 2015 after a routine scan the consultants picked up on a couple of small, slow growing tumours, thought to be grade 2. It was decided he would have radiotherapy which takes great planning due to precision and high technology with this advanced type of radiotherapy and would take a few months to prepare for his treatment. It was decided that David would have his family holiday to Disneyland, Florida as planned in May 2015 before having radiotherapy to blast the tumours. The chance of these growing fast were second to one and David’s zest for life pointed towards him having his special family holiday. Sadly the tumours did grow rapidly and became grade four, he had to be placed on high dose steroids to make sure he could have his holiday and had to return to have an operation immediately in June 2015. Followed by a summer of intense radiotherapy. In November the tumours had grown more causing a lot of swelling and pressure. This affected his vision, speech & ability to walk. He was taken in to hospital to have more surgery and remove some of the tumours. The swelling was a serious problem and following 7 lumbar punctures he had an operation to insert a shunt to drain the fluid in his brain. David was sent to a small local hospital on Christmas Eve and stayed there for a few weeks before he returned home and began intense physical and speech therapy. His spirit to fight on and not let these tumours break him was inspirational.

David had a good spell where he enjoyed precious family time. He was bitterly disappointed to lose his driver’s licence but rather than let it get him down he invested in a power assisted bike so he could still get about and enjoy his independence.

He was a true inspiration to all that knew him and he fought his cruel battle against brain tumours with dignity.

Over the Summer he did suffer with a seizure and gradually had episodes of confusion as things once again took over inside his brain. He underwent another operation in October which was followed by a course of chemotherapy in November. The side effects were unbearable and he didn’t manage to finish the course. Things gradually worsened and he was offered another operation at the beginning of the year. The family decided that he had been through enough ops & treatments. We wanted him to enjoy the quality of his life and we booked a family holiday to look forward to in June. Although they were successful the ops did always affect his speech and his physical state. However he always said he was fine!

David then started having extreme pain in his back. It was very sad when his consultant confirmed that he had a grade four tumour in his spine. This was a very unusual development. There was no option but to operate as he could not live with the pain. The operation eased the pain slightly for a short while but this tumour really caused a lot of physical weakness and his brain tumours were also causing confusion, memory loss and severe speech problems. He continued to try his best to fight on but it was not to be. Even specialist nursing care at home wasn’t enough and he was eventually admitted to Roxburghe house for palliative care. The holiday was not to be. The care was amazing and with the specialist medical team he was made comfortable and able to spend his last, precious 5 weeks with his family at his side. He had a strong faith in God & this helped him through his battle. We as a family miss him dearly he was loved beyond measure & he will live on in our hearts. His brother wrote a poem for the funeral titled “He fought the good fight” this summed him up perfectly. He was a true inspiration to all that knew him and he fought his cruel battle against brain tumours with dignity.

Written by David’s daughter Karen