I spent much of 2013 wondering what was happening to me.
I seemed to be losing lots of things I had always taken for granted; my hearing, sensation in my face, sense of taste, balance, and my vision was getting erratic. I kept falling asleep. My thinking was sometimes more muddled than usual. I knew that something weird was going on, but wasn’t getting much clarity from the doctors.
Eventually I (actually, Sally, my wife) pestered my way to getting an MRI. The day after the scan I was phoned at work by the consultant and called in to his office to be shown a picture of my brain with a big black splodge on it. The splodge shouldn’t have been there. It was a tumour and cyst which needed to be got rid of straight away, otherwise the next thing that would stop working properly would be my heart.
Two weeks later Sally and I were at the National Neurological Hospital in London where the surgeons removed the cyst and most of the tumour. Fortunately the tumour was not malignant and we got back to Jersey just before Christmas 2013.
Dealing with the tumour was pretty easy - I didn’t have much choice but get on with things. But recovering has been really tough.
I seemed better, the operation went well, it wasn’t cancer, my hearing and balance was back, I could think straight, I was even driving again. So why was I still feeling so fragile and broken?
Fortunately I had good people looking after me. Sally and the kids kept me together and made normality so appealing. I had friends who would take me for beer and curry. Professionals in the Occupational Therapy Service and Jersey Employment Trust guided me back to who I was before all this happened.
Work took care of me, giving me space to recover but always expecting me to be back good as new. The JBTC gave me a network of people with similar experiences, guidance and advice, and counselling when things just didn’t make sense.
A year and a half on I’m back at work and somewhere near to normal.
When I first met Sue, a couple of weeks after my operation, she told me that after her brain op she was left on her own to sort everything out. Even the idea left me with a feeling like vertigo. I couldn’t conceive of trying to piece things back together without the guidance and advice I have had.
Sue set up the JBTC so that nobody else would be left to cope alone, as she was.
William and I have decided to do some fund-raising for the charity. The plan is that during the school summer holiday he and I (along with my friend Eric Blakeley) will climb Ben Nevis. We aim to raise £10,000.
William has been the real driving force for this. He has already done a presentation to the Charity committee at DLS and was given an £800 donation. He is very keen on raising the profile of our climb and getting as much publicity as possible.
I am doing my Ben Nevis climb to support that aim. If you follow the link to my Just Giving page you can support that aim too.
Thanks for reading.