“My two daughters were only nine and eleven years old when I was diagnosed with a brain tumour,” says Simon Dyke, 51 from Exeter, “so they have walked this path for a long time.
“It was 2006, I was 40 years old and we were on a family holiday in France when I first got sick. I came straight back to the UK and was diagnosed with a high grade glioma – a brain tumour.”
Simon Dyke, a former church minister, lived in London where he received radiotherapy, surgeries to reduce the tumour and numerous chemotherapy sessions. But in 2017 when he was told there were no treatment options left, Simon and his family relocated back to his hometown of Exeter. Simon recalls,
“When nothing more could be done and we decided to move back to Devon, I was very apprehensive. I had been seen by the same London GP for the last 11 years, so was concerned about the handover to a new care provider. But I had no need to worry. Within a day of being in Exeter, I had a phone call from local charity Hospiscare. The transition couldn’t have been any smoother, they were so helpful.
“I have a Hospiscare nurse, Lynn, who comes in to see me every couple of weeks to check how I am and how the tumour is affecting me. She helps me with symptom control management and psychological support. Speaking with Lynn has also made me more realistic about my own expectations on what I can do and how the tumour will affect my mobility. She has signposted me to other agencies and I’ve had occupational therapy and physiotherapy. The assistance I’ve had with equipment and advice has helped me get around more safely and enabled me to stay at home. As things are progressing and my mobility has deteriorated, the adaptations to the house have made a real difference.”
Simon’s wife, Claire, comments,
“Hospiscare have been a great help. I can call up a nurse whenever I need to. It makes a big difference and I feel like I’m not here by myself, I feel very well supported.”