A ‘fit and healthy’ grandfather-of-three who went to his doctor complaining of a numb hand which turned out to be an aggressive cancer has died after a 22-month battle with the disease.
Steve Dixon 59, was told he may have had a stroke when he complained about tingling in his left hand but was left devastated when doctors discovered he had brain cancer.
He was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GMB), an aggressive type of cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord, in March 2019.
The average survival time for GBM patients is devastatingly short – just 12-18 months.
The keen golfer had two brain surgeries and cancer treatment to try to keep the tumour at bay but eventually his treatment options ran out.
Sadly, he died on January 9 this year surrounded by his loved ones, including Milo the dog, who howled and cried as Steve slipped away.
Steve’s widow Jane said she was left devastated as their dog wouldn’t even walk into their room for weeks after his passing.
‘He was the picture of good health’
Jane, from Baildon, near Bradford, West Yorkshire, said: “Steve was a fit and healthy man, who loved nothing more than a game of football or a round of golf.
“He didn’t smoke and only drank socially. He was the picture of good health.
“But this disease is indiscriminate.
“After we lost Steve, Milo wouldn’t go into his bedroom for weeks.
“It was heart-breaking to see how much he missed him. He has been such a wonderful support to me though and I know that If I didn’t have Milo, I wouldn’t want to be here.”
Symptoms escalated ‘very suddenly’
Jane said that Steve noticed he was lacking co-ordination in his left hand in March 2019, before the symptoms escalated ‘very suddenly’.
His doctor believed he may have suffered from a stroke, but a CT scan revealed a ‘mass’ on his brain.
Steve was sent for a more detailed MRI scan, which confirmed a brain tumour.
The besotted couple married in August that year on a ‘lovely hot summer’s day’ with around 80 guests.
Jane said she was glad they were able to do so before Steve became ill again.
After finishing his treatment, Steve bounced back and stayed well for a year or so but in March 2020, a routine scan revealed tumour progression.
In August 2020, he got referred to the palliative care team and with their support, Jane cared for him at home.
‘There was never any doubt, I would look after Steve’
She said: “There was never any doubt that when the time came, I would look after Steve myself.
“As a carer, I knew what to expect and how to make Steve’s final months as happy and as comfortable as possible.
“We’d spoken about his dying wishes. He said he wanted all his family around him and his beloved dog Milo on his bed.
“Milo is a four-year-old lurcher whippet cross rescue dog. He was Steve’s shadow and would follow him everywhere.”
Heartbroken by her loss, Jane has channelled her grief into fundraising to help find a cure for brain tumours.
Last year, she did a raffle to raise money for Brain Tumour Research and a collection at Steve’s funeral raised £561.
‘We cannot allow this devastating situation to continue’
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet historically just one percent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
Matthew Price, Brain Tumour Research’s Community Development Manager, said: “We were so very sorry to hear about the devastation this disease has caused Jane and all of Steve’s loved ones.
"We remember him as we continue in our mission to find a cure for brain tumours.
“We thank Jane sincerely for her fundraising and for helping to raise awareness of the disease, by sharing her powerful story.
“This week is GBM Awareness Week and a poignant time to share Steve’s story and highlight the fact that treatment options for the disease are extremely limited and there is currently no cure.
“We cannot allow this devastating situation to continue.”
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