Dave Stubbs, a 43-year-old police officer, was diagnosed with a brain tumor after describing an ‘explosion’ in his head while he was quarantining which he thought was down to long covid
Image: Stoke Sentinel)
Catching covid saved a dad’s life as he had no idea he was weeks from death.
Dave Stubbs discovered he had a brain tumor after suffering head pains which he was convinced was long Covid.
The 43-year-old was diagnosed with the growth after describing an ‘explosion’ in his head while he was quarantining, StokeonTrentLive reports.
Police say Covid-19 saved his life after doctors said he was ‘weeks from death’ when the cancer was found.
He found out his symptoms were actually caused by a tumor and he is facing two years of therapy to improve his life-after surgery on his brain
Dave had been a police officer for 22 years and tested positive for the virus last June, after two of his colleagues caught it.
He told StokeonTrentLive : “I had no symptoms but I was very paranoid about Covid because I have vulnerable family members, so I went for a test, and it was positive.
“Two days into self-isolation I had what I can only describe as an explosion in my head. It was like I was 50 meters underwater, the pressure was immense. I couldn’t put my head down or rest as it was so bad .
This continued for a number of weeks and at this point I decided to contact my GP as I was concerned I may have long Covid. At this point I had also lost strength in my right arm, I was unable to lift my arm up over my head and I was struggling to clench my fist.”
Dave’s GP sent him for an urgent CT scan and in July, he and his wife Rachel – who is also a Staffordshire Police officer – were given the devastating news that he had a large tumor at the rear of his brain. It was too big for treatment and the only hope of saving his life from him was high-risk emergency surgery.
He said: “The thought of a brain tumor never even crossed my mind. My whole life was turned upside down. I had gone in a split second from a hard working guy with a whole future mapped out to realizing that my life would never be the same again for me, or my family.
“I have three grown-up daughters and a son Elijah, who was nine at the time. We couldn’t keep it from him and it was horrible having to tell him.”
Dave, who was based at Hanley CID, underwent surgery at the Royal Stoke University Hospital in September.
Following the operation, he was told that the tumor had been slowly growing for between nine and 15 years and had become wrapped around the main vein in his brain, which meant surgeons had not been able to completely remove it.
“I was months, if not weeks, away from a fatal collapse.
“All the symptoms I had put down to the stress of my job were related to the tumour. I would have regular headaches, I gained a large amount of weight and had problems with my vision. I felt tired but still struggled to sleep.
“My personality changed as well. I became fixated on things like work. My blood pressure was also really high.
“Covid saved my life. I think it aggravated the tumor causing the bad headaches. If I hadn’t have caught it I would have continued to ignore my symptoms.”
The tumor has had serious consequences for Dave, but he says he feels lucky to still be here. He said: “Later in the day I start to struggle with my words. I get a lot of brain fog and I struggle to read. I get absolutely exhausted, but I’m still alive so I can’t complain. I’ve never suffered with my mental health before but now I suffer from anxiety and get agitated.
“It’s frustrating that they couldn’t get all the tumor out. I’m on ‘watch and wait’ – I’ll have to go back for regular scans to monitor it. If I’m lucky it will stay dormant for a long time.If not I will have options for treatment.”
Although he will not be able to return to front-line duties, Dave is hoping he will still be able to have a career with Staffordshire Police and – together with his family – has thrown himself into fundraising for brain tumor charities.
“The neurosurgery team at the Royal Stoke were amazing and saved my life,” he said.
“I could not have got through the trauma of having the tumor without the wonderful support of three brain tumor charities, and brain tumor research receives just one per cent of cancer research funding. I want to raise money and raise awareness.”