My husband, Anthony Giles, known all of his life as Tony, was a working farmer from the age of 15.
In September 2007, at the age of 67, he had various aches and pains and had two visits to the same Doctor without a great deal of help. However he had no headaches at all. In early October of the same year having just finished some work on his tractor, there was paperwork to be done including the monthly tax return. After shuffling some papers for 10 minutes he looked up and said 'I can't do this and I can't sign my name !'.
Time I thought for hime to see a different Doctor who carried out all sorts of blood tests. For the first time I went with him to the Surgery to get the results. The Doctor said 'you have the heart and blood of an 18 year old'. Then she set him a written test and when he had tried to do that she called another GP that was mentoring her that week. After a brief conversation, in our hearing, they recommended an appointment with Bridgnorth Mental Health. I however asked for him to have a brain scan. After conversation with our 3 grown-up children, we went back after the weekend and I asked again only to be told that if that is what we wanted we would have to arrange it ourselves!
Thank goodness for good medical insurance! We went home and whilst Tony was having a rest I was able to get the name of a Neurologist in Wolverhampton. This was now the beginning of November 2007. Within a day or two we had an appointment and shortly afterwards a brain scan. Having been told that we wouldn't have a results for a few days, we were back with the neurologist two days later to be told that Tony had not one but two brain tumours! He said very kindly that 'I don't think it will be very helpful to have a biopsy at this time'.
Dr Corsten arranged for us to meet an Oncologist, Dr Allerton, who then referred us to Prof. Garth Cruikshank at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. On 1st December 2007 Tony did have a brain biopsy to confrim which type the tumours were and some of the one affecting his speech was lifted, which gave him two weeks or so of more fluent speech.
At the very beginning of January 2008 Tony started Radiotherapy before collapsing early one Monday morning. Later in the day we called the hospital and they said 'call a GP straight away'. The Air Ambulance was soon on the scene. Three and a half weeks later he came home and the 30 radiotherapy treatments completed. After a week or two of quiet, I asked the MacMillan Nurse to come in and she quickly had a kind and good GP on board as back-up for us both.
Late in June 2008 John, our eldest Son, managed a trip home from New Zealand. Tony rallied for a bit but went gradually downhill until his first seizure on July 18th. After one night in hospital he again came home and one dose of chemotherapy was tried but it made him more uncomfortable so it was stopped.
On August 5th 2008 Tony had a huge seizure lasting 30 minutes and he went into hospital. From the moment of diagnosis he was on a large dose of steroids to bring down the swelling in his brain. We had hospital equipment at the house but he developed serious side effects to the steroids and he died on September 5th 2008.
Tony, this active full time Farmer, became trapped in his own body and suffered mental and physical anguish. Any research which can lead to help in diagnosis for patients of the future is desperately needed.
Tony was the 4th person who died within a very short space of time in this area alone.
Stella M Giles, December 2010