A wave of support for family man
IT'S been a big 12 days for Maclean's Pope family.
In fact it's been a tough couple of years.
It was Monday, February 28, when 20 minutes after his cat scan in Grafton, Steve Pope was contacted by his GP and told to come into the clinic immediately.
No, the issue couldn't be discussed on the phone.
It did not sound good. It wasn't.
The scan had picked up a large brain tumour at the back of Steve's head. By last Monday, Steve and his wife Dayna were in Sydney discussing his prognosis with brain surgeons at Prince of Wales Hospital.
“They basically told us you have the surgery or die – that was the choice,” Dayna said.
Steve, a normally fighting fit 38-year-old, was on the operating table for seven hours on Tuesday and though the tumour was still at pathology yesterday, Dayna said the surgical team reported it as being massive and sprouting tentacles.
“It was much bigger than they expected ... it covered the fourth ventricle and went into the brain stem,” she said.
“They were pretty confident they got it all ... but we won't know for sure for a while.”
Steve's surgery finished at 3pm on Tuesday and he was walking with assistance by 5pm the next day.
“I cannot believe he's up, his vision is not right yet, he's still got double vision and yesterday everything was upside down, but really his determination and bravery is amazing,” Dayna said.
“The movement apparently helps in the recovery process.”
Steve, a father of two boys, Oscar, 6, and Archie, six months, had suffered dizzy spells on and off for just on two years, Dayna said.
It was only that Steve mentioned in passing to his GP he'd been suffering dizzy spells that the investigation went any further.
Steve had suffered a shoulder injury while arresting someone in his duty as a police officer early last year and despite an operation, the pain had not gone, which was why he was seeing his GP.
“You see this on TV and never think it's going to happen to you,” Dayna said.
“I really try to be positive and live in the present and just worry about the now – otherwise you think of too many scenarios.”
Steve lost his mother Jenny Pope (nee Pitt) to renal cancer six months ago, so the well-liked policeman had pain of a different kind to deal with on top of his shoulder injury.
Dayna too has her share of ill-health. As a sufferer of Crohns disease, the slightest dietary oversight can put her in bed for days on end.
But Dayna likes to look on the bright side and said she was amazed at the level of support the family had already received.
The Clarence Valley community has been asked to step up and help out the Popes in this time of need by attending a Popey’s Charity Golf Day on Sunday, March 20, at the Maclean Golf Club. The three-man ambrose event costs $50 per person including breakfast, lunch and refreshments. Anyone interested in attending can call Tony King on 0427 420 214 or Darren Williams on 0427 025 514.