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Man with 'stiff lockdown neck' from working at home told pain is down to inoperable brain tumour

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·3-min read
Gary Nelson was told he had an aggressive tumour on his brain stem. (SWNS)
Gary Nelson was told he had an aggressive tumour on his brain stem. (SWNS)

A dad-of-one who was told his neck pain was caused by bad posture from working at home during lockdown has discovered that the cause is actually an inoperable brain tumour.

Gary Nelson, 42, began suffering aches and pains while working long hours remotely during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in April.

The marketing manager contacted his GP and was told the discomfort could be posture-related, down to excessive laptop use and too much time on Zoom calls.

But after his vision deteriorated he was referred for tests that revealed the shattering diagnosis that he had an aggressive tumour on his brain stem.

Gary Nelson, pictured with wife Amy and daughter Olive. (SWNS)
Gary Nelson, pictured with wife Amy and daughter Olive. (SWNS)

Nelson, of Chester, will now undergo chemotherapy, as an operation would leave him paralysed from the waist down and radiotherapy would lead to brain necrosis.

He has been told his brain tumour is likely to have been caused by radiotherapy treatment he received for a low-grade tumour as a child.

His was also diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2012 when he was 34, after he began experiencing similar symptoms to those he had suffered as a child.

Watch: Hancock: Cancer treatment returning to pre-COVID levels

The most well-known environmental risk factor for the development of brain tumours is exposure to radiation, especially if used for previous cancer treatment.

Wife Amy, 40, said: “Gary has suffered two brain tumours in the past but both were operable and he went on to recover well.

“Another brain tumour diagnosis was the last thing we were expecting, having been reassured that he had probably been having too much screen time on Zoom calls.”

Gary Nelson was told that his brain tumour is likely to have been caused by radiotherapy treatment he received for a low-grade tumour as a child. (SWNS)
Gary Nelson was told that his brain tumour is likely to have been caused by radiotherapy treatment he received for a low-grade tumour as a child. (SWNS)

Nelson’s treatment options for the brainstem glioma tumour found in April this year are limited because he has reached his lifetime limit of this type of intensive radiotherapy.

Amy said: “One thing I know for sure about Gary is that he is a fighter, the strongest and most determined of all. This is a fight we are taking on together.

“We fight for our beautiful, clever, six-year-old daughter Olive, who loves her daddy so very much.

“We fight for our family and friends and we fight for other sufferers and their loved ones.

Gary Nelson and wife Amy are working with Brain Tumour Research to raise awareness of the condition. (SWNS)
Gary Nelson and wife Amy are working with Brain Tumour Research to raise awareness of the condition. (SWNS)

"We fight for a future where the cure doesn't cause more tumours and damage to healthy brain cells.”

The couple are working with Brain Tumour Research to raise awareness of the issues facing brain tumour patients and their loved ones.

Last month they were joined by 16 friends from all over the UK on an 11k Walk of Hope in Chester.

To make a donation to Brain Tumour Research visit Gary and Amy’s fundraising page.

Watch: What is long COVID?