Young Dad's Journey with a Brain Tumour
'THE NEUROSURGEONS BELIEVED THE TUMOUR WAS BETWEEN 7- 10 YEARS OLD AND I WAS COMPLAINING ABOUT
BEING TIRED AND HAVING HEADACHES SERIOUSLY FOR OVER 9 MONTHS BEFORE I DID ANYTHING ABOUT IT'
Simon, a young dad, was last year diagnosed with a benign Grade 2 Meningioma. He shared his brain tumour journey
with the NRF for Grey May.
“I was initially referred to an Ophthalmologist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital after visiting my Optometrist just after
Australia Day 2020. I had consistent headaches for some time and just put it down to poor work-life balance.
I thought that it could have been my glasses rubbing on the back of my ear, however the Ophthalmologist confirmed
what the Optometrist mentioned that I had consistent pressure on my Optic Nerve. A CT scanned followed at
the RAH and shortly after when driving home, I received a call to return immediately back to the hospital.
“I was then diagnosed with, ‘a large brain tumour’, in the left frontal lobe. After going into shock and being ushered
through the back halls of the RAH into the ER and then placed up on the ward that night, the surgeons advised me
that I would have surgery in 5 days to remove the mass. This was the first time in my 34 years I had even heard of
the term ‘craniotomy’.
The surgery was a success, and I cannot speak highly enough of the nurses who took wonderful care of me before
and after the surgery, along with wonderful team of the Neurosurgeons lead by Dr Simon Sandler and Dr Gareth
Rutter. I will be forever grateful that I was diagnosed with a benign Grade 2 Meningioma - thankfully,
my tumour was in a very accessible position. Reflecting on the diagnosis, operation, and initial physical recovery it
does feel like it was all blended into one. It was only when I returned home from the RAH that it started to really sink
in. “It has now been just over 13 months from “The journey has taught me many things, the power of the human
body and mind, not only how fragile life can be and how it can all change in an instant, along with how everyone’s
recovery is very different.
“Before my operation I took many things for granted, including the health of myself and family/friends. As a public
patient I certainly took for granted our health care system and while the wait times are frustrating the clinical care
you receive on the wards, in surgery and ICU is first class. “I was fortunate in that I had never experienced anything
worse than a few broken fingers prior to my operation. Spending 3-4 weeks in hospital where so many
are people battling life and death or have had seizures whereby their lives will now be in the hands of others
certainly changes the way you treat your own body and care for those around you. I lived a very fast-paced life
beforehand, where at times I put my family second to my own personal needs such as work and sport, I
was fortunate to always have the support of Tammy for this, but the experience has certainly emphasized the
importance of good health and family life over other material aspects. “
It has also taught me how important it is from a male perspective to check in on your health and be open and honest
about it. The Neurosurgeons believed the tumour was between 7- 10 years old and I was complaining about being
tired and having headaches seriously for over 9 months before I did anything about it. So, when in doubt -
please speak up and don’t take any risks with your health.
What are you goals or next steps with your life?
“My goals are to continue to be the best partner, family-oriented person, dad to my two young boys and continue
to be incredibly grateful for all the care and love I have received over my journey. I am also looking forward to
Tammy having a decent holiday as she certainly deserves it!”
Simon & Tammy