My brother's battle
Created by Martin 6 years ago
On behalf of the family, firstly I would like to extend a heart felt thanks to Brian’s pals for the way they rallied around him during his illness. Our family are truly grateful for what can best be described as a band of brothers.
Brian or more commonly known by his pals as Brexy was the most loyal, trustworthy and generous brother I could ask for. He had a heart of gold. Money was never a factor in Brian’s life. If he had it, he would give you his last.
Probably most of all, Brian will be remembered for his humour, razor sharp wit and lightening fast one liners. Always the happy chappy, as one person said recently on facebook, Brexy could walk into a room full of dour faced people and still raise a smile.
You couldnae slag the boy! How can you slag someone who slags himself and Brian always made sure he was at the butt of most of his own jokes. He was the life and soul of any party and could sit in any company and make a lasting impression.
In Aug 2010 at the age of 29, Brian was diagnosed with a benign (non cancerous) brain tumour after taking a number of seizures at home and at work. In Sep that year he received brain surgery followed by daily sessions of radiotherapy for 6 weeks to eliminate any remaining tumour cells. I remember going to visit him shortly after the operation and I had given him my Nintendo ds to keep him busy while in hospital. I walked into his room and he was sitting up on his hospital bed with a big smile on his face and he says to me “Whit you all about” I said “What do you mean?” he said “Ave just undergone major head surgery and you’ve given me a Nintendo ds, that’s got nothing but brain training games on it!” The two of us buckled with laughter. That was his way of dealing with his illness and his own condition, by making others laugh.
While in hospital they made him wear these thick white tights on his legs, I presume to help with his circulation and he would joke with the nurses that they had him dressed up like robin hood!
Brian received scans every 6 months and for almost 3 years was completely clear and tumour free. In Sep last year Brian was showing signs of deterioration and at the end of that month we took him to the Southern General and received the news we had dreaded. The tumour had returned but this time had spread to several parts of his brain. It was a rare, aggressive, more malignant cancerous form of brain tumour. We were devastated. It was inoperable so the only treatment option was chemotherapy and numerous pills including steroids.
Brian’s attitude from the start was remarkable if this disease wanted a fight, you could be sure it was going to get one!
He maintained throughout his illness that he would never give up and his bravery was inspirational. Not once did he complain about his condition or his treatment.
He never wanted anyone to treat him differently. He never blamed the world or asked why me? I know I would. He simply got on with it.
When released from hospital the doctor’s tried to persuade Brian to use a walking stick to assist with his balance but Brian was so independent and his reply was a simple one….no chance! He refused to allow the disease to take over his life and was defiant against the tumours to the end.
I’ll never forget the first consultation meeting with Brian’s doctor at the Beatson Clinic. Everyone was really nervous, well everyone except Brian. He was the most relaxed person in the room. The doctor was explaining side effects of the chemotherapy, she said “For example Brian, when you brush your teeth, your teeth might bleed” Brian just smiled and replied “That’ll no effect me… Ave no got any teeth.” It made everyone in the room at ease, even the doctor was laughing.
A month later, Brian had to go back into hospital for a follow up scan and I remember him saying to ma Mum "Maw, tell them they canny keep me in. Am getting ma Playstation 4 the mawra!" Nothing fazed the boy!
Brian only wore his teeth on occasions in the final 9 months of his life, one being on a tour of Ibrox incase we met Ally McCoist for a photo opportunity and the other when we celebrated his 33rd Birthday in Jan and attended a friend’s boxing show. He was so chuffed that we had been provided with VIP seating and had put his teeth in to look the part.
The Chemo was working, Brian was looking good and his physical appearance had improved dramatically, but a brain tumour is a very unforgiving illness and the last few months took its toll on his body but never dampened his spirit or his motivation to battle on.
During the final days of Brian’s life, we learned that Brian knew from the start that he would not survive but chose not to tell his family or friends, to protect us.
It speaks volumes for the strength he had to carry that on his shoulders while remaining positive throughout. This was typical of Brexy, always thinking about others.
We are extremely proud of him.