A BRADFORD grandfather lost his 22-month battle with a brain tumour - after his only symptom was a numb left hand.

Steve Dixon, 59, from Thackley, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in March 2019.

The grandfather-of-three had two brain surgeries and cancer treatment to try to keep the tumour at bay but eventually his treatment options ran out.

Steve’s widow Jane, a care assistant at The Glen Nursing Home in Baildon, said: “In March 2019, Steve noticed one morning that he was lacking co-ordination in his left hand and had some numbness and tingling as well.

"It came on very suddenly, so he went to the doctor and was told he may have had a stroke. They sent him for a CT scan and that’s when they found a ‘mass’ on his brain.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Steve with his dog MiloSteve with his dog Milo

Steve was sent for a more detailed MRI scan, which confirmed a brain tumour. Four days later, he had a craniotomy at Leeds General Hospital (LGI), to debulk the tumour.

Jane said: “His neurosurgeon, Mr Simon Thomson, was brilliant. Steve coped really well with the surgery.

"I didn’t know what to expect when I went to see him afterwards but I found him sitting up having a cup of tea and a sandwich.

He was so brave and never complained about anything

But the histology report confirmed that Steve’s tumour was a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

The average survival time for GBM patients is just 12 to 18 months. The diagnosis also meant that he would have to undergo a course of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Jane said: “He did really well with his cancer treatment, sailing through it with barely any side effects.

“We got married in August 2019. It was a lovely, hot summer’s day and we had the best time.

"Around 80 guests joined us to celebrate at The Old Barn at Esholt. Our wedding favours were Brain Tumour Research brooches.

"It was such a wonderful occasion and I’m so glad we did it before Steve became ill again.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Steve Dixon, left, of Thackley, was a huge Leeds United fan Steve Dixon, left, of Thackley, was a huge Leeds United fan

After finishing his treatment, Steve bounced back and stayed well for a year or so. In March 2020, however, a routine scan revealed tumour progression.

Jane said: “He went into hospital for more brain surgery just before the UK locked down at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Again, he got through the surgery without any complications but this time, I was unable to visit him in hospital, because of the coronavirus restrictions.”

After he was discharged, Steve underwent a second course of chemotherapy which did not work. His post-treatment scan showed evidence of more progression and he was told that, tragically, there was nothing else they could do for him. In August 2020, he got referred to the palliative care team and with their support, Jane cared for him at home.

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.”

Steve died on January 9 this year, surrounded by his loved ones, including Milo the dog, who howled and cried as Steve slipped away.

Jane said: “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.”

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.

Jane added: “I have also set up a direct debit to make a regular donation to help this worthy cause.

"Through my own tragic experience, I became all too aware of the terrible statistics surrounding brain tumours.

"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.

"I want to do all I can to help ensure other families are not torn apart by a brain tumour diagnosis.”

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet historically just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

To make a donation to Brain Tumour Research, go to braintumourresearch.org/donation