The past five weeks have been a physical and emotional rollercoaster for me.
One minute I was driving along, hale and hearty, the next I was struck by a thunderclap headache behind my left ear. It felt like someone had hit me with a fence batten.
Eventually a scan at Dunedin’s Emergency Department showed the pain was caused by bleeding from a cancerous tumour on my brain. Steroids reduced the swelling but it had to come out quickly in case it bled again. The worst news was it was only secondary. A CT scan showed cancer in at least in the right kidney and could be elsewhere in the body.
During all this kerfuffle I couldn’t help noting the similarities between farming and human health.
Like in farming there are people worse off than yourself, but that doesn’t help you. Many have risen above their setbacks and they are the ones you want to meet.
When I was sitting in the neurosurgical waiting room a man strode in with a bandage pad on the back of his head. I sniggered as it looked like he had slept on a sanitary pad (I was later to get my own). He turned out to be Jack Cocks, a former farm consultant and farmer who I had heard had a bleed on the brain years ago. He didn’t say much but it was a defining moment for me. If he can come through it so can I.
So I stopped feeling for myself and started taking steps to beat the cancer, but like farming, you need a good team around you to succeed. For farmers it is family, professionals and staff. For me it was my wife Eleanor, family, friends and of course the medical team.
Thanks to the neurosurgical unit in Dunedin, especially the visiting British neurosurgeon Mr Bhatt and his team, the operation seems to be a complete success. The cancerous kidney still needs to go and so far – touch wood – no cancer has been detected elsewhere.
At some stage in June I will have the second operation and be out of action but will be on twitter @CountryWideEd and www.facebook.com/terry.brosnahan if you want to follow my progress. Don’t assume the worst if there are no entries at certain times – I may just be tired.
Editors Note Country Wide June.