'Doctors told us that they could only delay his death' 

Neville Holt passed away at the age of 74 after being diagnosed with an aggressive type of brain tumour called a gliosarcoma. His son Chris tells his story.

"It was quite apparent that my father wasn’t his normal self and hadn’t been for over a year. He was quite impatient and things just didn’t seem right.

"Six months before going into hospital, Dad couldn’t touch the back of his head and had started to lose some of the sensation in his fingers which, in turn, made it difficult for him to do the buttons up on his shirt, or tie his shoe laces.

"Eventually, the GP booked him to have various checks at the hospital. Suddenly, we were confronted with the reality that Dad had an aggressive brain tumour, which turned out to be a grade IV right posterior parietal gliosarcoma.

"He was given a prognosis of only 12 to 18 months maximum and the doctors told us that they could only delay his death. It was a terrible shock – we really didn’t have any idea that his condition was so serious, but Dad took it quite well, so we tried to keep a positive outlook.

"The day after Dad was diagnosed, he lost the use of one side of his body. Surgery was performed in August 2010 to remove as much of the tumour as possible. The operation went well and Dad seemed to be improving. They even got him out of bed and moving around with the help of a walking frame. It gave us a lot of hope. Dad felt so well that he was planning to take the family away for a weekend together.

"Two weeks later he was transferred to another hospital for a course of radiotherapy, then to a third, which specialised in rehabilitating people with head traumas. We were amazed at the number of people there with brain tumours.

"Tragically, my father never recovered. It was only three or four weeks before he passed away that it really sunk in that Dad was going to die. Just 14 weeks after his diagnosis, Dad died on October 29th 2010. Mum had spent every day of those 14 weeks with Dad in hospital. He was 74 years old. It was very distressing.

"My mother is finding it very difficult without Dad. They used to do everything together. Fortunately, my sister and brother both live very near Mum and, although I live further away, I go home every weekend – so we all do our bit to make sure she is well looked after. But we can’t take the place of Dad."

This case history was provided by Brain Tumour Research.


Page last reviewed: 19/03/2015

Next review due: 19/03/2017