From time to time, you have those moments where your life changes massively in an instant of time. Yesterday was one of those days.
The moment I was told I wasn’t allowed to drive any more brought back memories from my teenage years of being grounded - feelings of resignation as the sentence was delivered and my fate was sealed. This wasn’t a week-long teenage sentence however, my grounding was going to last for at least a year, maybe longer.
And the reason for my grounding? The CT scan in mid January showed a 5mm growth had developed in my brain since my last CT scan in September. Cerebral tumours are considered to be a possible cause of epileptic seizures and according to page 34 of the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) guidelines on fitness to drive, “…driving should cease for a minimum of 12 months…or in cases of cerebral secondary tumours (e.g. from lung cancer), driving should cease for a minimum period of 3 years following treatment.” This is kind of a big problem, due to the fact my job involves me driving around the city.
Treatment for brain tumours usually involve surgery or radiation therapy, neither of which is ideal for your brain but hey, neither is cancer. The oncologist has referred me to the radiosurgery department of Dunedin Hospital which is the only place in NZ that performs a special kind of radiotherapy called Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS). SRS basically is like an advanced form of radiotherapy where they deliver a higher dose of radiation but in a more accurate method than traditional radiotherapy. It is commonly used for brain tumours due to its reduced risk of ‘collateral damage’.
The good news is that my lung tumours are still decreasing or are stable, confirming the results of the chest x-ray I had back in November. The largest lesion in my lungs is now around 13mm, a lot smaller than its June peak of 20mm. The drugs still appear to be doing their job handsomely on my lungs, however drugs are less effective on the brain due to its biological difference to the rest of the body I’m told.
Ironically, this is not the first time I have been forced off the road for an extended period of time. Going back 12 years to when I was 18, I was disqualified from driving for 3 months due to my lead foot and penchant for ignoring speed limit signs. Back then I was suitably gutted but understood the sentence fitted my crime - fast forward to today and I feel decidedly less accepting about my new sentence. However, life isn’t fair and we should get used to it. Or so they say.
All is not lost however. My employer has been very supportive of me throughout my entire journey and have said they will continue to support me with this latest setback. This is a great relief for me and my family and I am truly grateful for the support. The finer details haven’t been worked out yet, but I am confident we will find a win-win solution to the situation. And besides, I don’t need to worry because I have given the burden over to God and I trust he will bring good out of my situation.
So, my adventure continues. Here’s to the future and all the promise it holds.